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CO2 Cleaning

CO2 Cleaning Services

Our CO2 Cleaning Services allow the cleaning of electrical equipment, without requiring an outage. Proven effective by S&C for energized equipment cleaning, these services use compressed non-conductive CO2 to lift contaminants from surfaces without damaging underlying material. The buildup of dust, salt, dirt, and other contaminants on electrical equipment can reduce the dielectric strength of materials, leading to damaged equipment and unplanned outages. Because they enable the safe cleaning of energized equipment, S&C’s CO2 Cleaning Services make cleaning and maintaining your electrical equipment practical.

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Why Clean?

Contaminants such as dust, salt spray, silt, ash, and dirt can greatly reduce the dielectric strength of electrical equipment. These contaminants can lead to increased levels of leakage current passing over the dielectric materials and result in tracking of the surface. These conditions can result in flash-overs that can damage electrical equipment and cause service outages as well as safety concerns.

S&C tested CO2 cleaning in our world-class Advanced Technology Center. We found that contaminated dielectric components energized at 15 kV showed leakage currents in excess of 90 milliamps. After CO2 cleaning, the equipment was tested again, and leakage current was reduced to approximately 3 milliamps, more than a 96% reduction in leakage current.


96% Reduction


How It Works

CO2 cleaning uses dry ice, the solid form of CO2, projected at a specific psi through an insulated wand. On impact, the CO2 undergoes sublimation and transitions from a solid to a gas without passing through an intermediate liquid phase. This process lifts contaminants in three ways:

  • Thermal-Shock Effect – The sudden temperature difference between dry ice, which is -109.3° F, and the equipment surface, weakens the bond holding the contaminant together, causing it to break apart.
  • Thermal-Kinetic Effect – As the CO2 goes through sublimation, the CO2 gas expands and lifts remaining contaminants off of the equipment surface.
  • Kinetic Energy – The pressurized CO2 blows contaminants off of equipment.



S&C has proven the safety of CO2 cleaning through on-site testing at our ATC as well as live energized testing at utilities across the U.S. All CO2 cleaning is conducted by a team of trained field professional wearing appropriate personnel protective equipment (PPE) and following S&C’s proprietary safety procedures. Additional safety procedures include:

  • Pre-cleaning safety inspection
  • Clearly defined safety perimeter
  • Clearly defined signage
  • Use of appropriate PPE


Emergency response.

Cost Savings

CO2 Cleaning Yes Yes Yes Yes
Water Blasting     Yes Yes
Walnut Hull Cleaning Yes     Yes
Solvents     Yes  
  • Reliability – CO2 cleaning is the only solution that allows energized cleaning, saving you the time and cost of coordinating a planned outage. The routine cleaning of equipment also reduces costly equipment failures.
  • No Secondary Waste – Compared to other methods, CO2 cleaning is the only solution that allows energized cleaning while producing no secondary waste; it is also non-toxic and does not damage underlying material.
  • Efficient – Unlike other methods which require de-energization and grounding of equipment, CO2 cleaning significantly reduces labor and cleanup costs. With the reduced set-up and take-down times, CO2 cleaning can also clean more equipment in one day than traditional methods.
  • Safety – S&C’s proven safety procedures ensure that our field technicians and the public are safe. Because CO2 cleaning is non-toxic, it saves you the costs of cleaning up solvents and waste.
  • Routine Maintenance – As part of S&C’s CO2 Cleaning Services, we provide detailed inspection reports that document equipment conditions. These reports often satisfy requirements for routine maintenance of equipment mandated in some states.
  • Environmentally Conscious – S&C recycles CO2 from industry processes to conduct equipment cleanings. Because CO2 cleaning is non-toxic, this method is beneficial for you and the environment.
  • Asset Management Solution – As a single resource for all of your Asset Management needs, S&C can provide immediate customer support if equipment scheduled for cleaning is found unsafe to clean or in need of repair. Anything from new parts to starting the process of equipment replacement will be expedited, saving you time and money.



CO2 Cleaning Services make cleaning your electrical equipment practical. It is ideal for customers who want to maintain their equipment, but can’t afford to take an outage. S&C is not limited to cleaning our own equipment. We can clean a variety of equipment types rated up to 34.5 kV.

Types of equipment that can be cleaned include:

Customers should consider CO2 cleaning for:

  • New Installations – Newly installed equipment that may have contaminants left over from the construction process.
  • Aging Equipment – Equipment that has not been inspected or maintained, but has remained operational for a number of years.
  • Environmental Exposure – Any equipment exposed to harsh conditions such as the desert, coastal regions, flooded areas, and other environments prone to contaminants.