3 Things You must know about Diesel Generators before Installation – It could cost you your job!
Wow, the title of this article seems a bit drastic, doesn’t it? But of course it is true. If you are in charge of the generator installation project for your business and you fail to be aware and allow for the points below, you risk jeopardising your job by having a generator that either is not fit for purpose or a system that is not quite right. Hopefully by following these points, you will reduce the risk of getting egg on your face.
1. Most generators will only support 65% of their load in one go
This point is often forgotten when selecting what size generator is suitable for your site. Whilst the generator will be able to run at up to its full rated capacity, unless it is a specifically constructed generator (which generally means showing a lower rating on the generator plate), it cannot take the entire capacity in one go. And of course for emergency standby generators you want them to take the load automatically. The way around this is either to over size the generator so that the full initial load is less than 65% or you can install load shedding within your LV panel. By means of motorised switches and shunts, you can automatically open certain breakers in the event of a power cut and then automatically close them again after a set delay which allows the generator to take the entire load without “falling over”.
2. Generators should not run constantly at low load
Linked to the first point, but the other side of the coin, generators should not be run constantly on low load (less than 50%) as this causes wet stacking which can permanently damage the engine. Of course it is difficult to prevent low loads at times (e.g. a power cut at night when the building load is minimal). The way around this is to ensure that the generator is loadbanked at least once a year for 4 hours. This will remove any unburnt fuel deposits which can build up.
3. Generators should be tested regularly
This may sound obvious and indeed it is but it is still surprising how many businesses pay a lot of money for a brand new generator and then fail to service it. Yes it may seem like an additional expense that had not been allowed for and nobody wants it coming out of their budget but what is the point of a generator if you are not going to maintain it? When you have a power cut, you want to have confidence in your system knowing that it will start up and protect your business.
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