Is Your Generator Ready for Weather-Related Power Outages
Summer is here, and power outages due to extreme weather events are a real possibility for many parts of the country. Tropical Storm Fay, for example, has the potential to create widespread power outages, and should be considered a reminder of the season to come. An aging utility grid, along with flooding, fires, tornados, tropical storms and hurricanes are just some of the causes of summertime extended power outages.
If you already have an emergency standby generator in place, now is a great time to double-check that it has been maintained properly and will be ready for an extended power outage if and when you need it.
Six critical generator components to double-check to help ensure it will operate when you need it:
1. Startup Systems
Verify that the starting systems are working. Ensure battery connections are clean and tight, that charging systems operate correctly, and that batteries are “not” more than 3 years old based on battery date code.
2. Fuel System
Check fuel tank level service schedule, have your service provider make sure there is no contamination, water or sediments in the fuel system. Extended power outages may require refueling, so it's a good idea to check in with your fuel source provider, and have a plan in place for delivery of fuel, and if possible an alternative if this provider fails to perform. Keep spare fuel filters on hand and maintain levels above 75% to minimize tank condensation.
3. Oil & Filters
Verify recent oil and filter service within one year and check level weekly. Check that air filters are clean or were checked. Most industrial diesel unit air filters can operate up to 1000 hours “depending on operating conditions”. Just remember keep your unit clean and free of debris “A clean generator is a Happy Generator”.
4. Radiator and Cooling System
Check that the cooling system is ready for operation during an extended power outage. Ensure radiator and cooling system is clean, has adequate coolant level, mixture, protectants and PH level, and is free if leaks.
5. Load Bank Test
Another way to ensure your generator is in good working condition is to run a load bank test. This test is done to make sure the generator handles the required electrical load, and will heat up the DPF (diesel particulate filter) system, if equipped so that it creates proper regeneration (particulate burn off). Load bank tests with routine servicing also validate coolant systems, help to avoid costly DPF back pressure failures, or worse, a catastrophic engine failure due to misconfiguration.
6. Automatic Transfer Switch
The ultimate test of an emergency backup power system is to perform a periodic real-world test of the entire system. By performing a planned cut-off of the utility power source, the automatic transfer switch, as well as the entire backup power system is put to the test. Any weaknesses or failures can be identified and fixed before emergency power is needed.
How often do you want to know if your generator will work properly? Weekly, Monthly or Quarterly? How comfortable do you want to be?
At Global Power Supply, we provide all logistics for maintaining and monitoring the equipment we sell. And we establish a working relationship with facility managers and commercial property owners to ensure uptime on critical power systems. If your business is in need of a backup power system, Global Power Supply can help. We have new, surplus, and used generators from 100 kW - 2500 kW for sale, as well as nationwide rental options for temporary solutions. And with our project management services, we can help get that delivered and installed as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
Contact our power expert team with any questions you may have.