In the U.S., customers can expect to lose power an average of 1.3 times a year, for about four hours, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). A lot can happen in that time frame.
With a power loss, businesses quickly suffer financial losses. For facilities such as hospitals and schools, loss of power can mean unbearable heat in the summer and dangerously frozen pipes during the winter. Your security can also be compromised, both physically with your building or virtually with your computer systems.
Installing a generator – and observing proper generator maintenance – can help you bypass these issues at your business. A proper generator maintenance procedure is also key to your power needs.
Importance of Maintaining Your Generator
While installing a generator is the first step, keeping it maintained to ensure it works when you need it during a power failure is just as important.
Commercial/industrial generator maintenance should only be performed by qualified technicians. But as an owner, you should have a good idea of what you need to do to maintain that generator.
Proper generator maintenance can provide the following benefits.
Enhance its lifespan and efficiency
Maintaining a generator allows it to run at its fullest capacity – for longer. Checking the unit regularly lets you catch and repair small issues early before they become larger, ensuring the unit will operate when you need it. When maintained properly, industrial and commercial generators can last up to 20 years, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, depending on the amount of use. Having regular maintenance and repairs can help prolong the lifespan of the system.
Ensure the safety of your equipment
Your equipment needs maintenance for safety sake, also. Worn parts or exceeding maintenance intervals will result in subpar voltage regulation, excessive fuel usage, lengthy load recovery and could cause premature failure of engine, radiator, alternator or control systems.
Here are five important safety tips to keep in mind when operating industrial generator sets.
- Follow manufacturer instructions
- Keep the area around the generator clean and clear
- Take the proper electrical precautions
- Don’t smoke around the generator
- Always wear protective equipment
Make sure it’s ready when you need it
With proper testing, you’ll be assured your generator is ready to go when you need it. Exercising the unit intermittently for a few minutes when your property has power can help ensure the generator will work during the next outage.
What To Know About Maintenance
Now that you know the benefits of regular maintenance, here’s an overview of the importance of following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, partnering with a commercial/industrial generator maintenance provider, and what’s included in commercial/industrial generator maintenance.
Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule
For warranty purposes, it’s important to follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule. All generator manufacturers publish calendars of maintenance schedules. Those are available at the manufacturer’s website, or contact your generator supplier.
Factors that can require more frequent maintenance include:
- Using a generator continuously, as prime power
- Extreme ambient temperatures, such as extremely hot or cold climates
- Exposure to elements such as weather, salt water, and airborne contaminants such as dust and sand.
- Contaminated or poor quality engine fluids (fuel, oil, coolant, DEF)
Partner with a commercial/industrial generator maintenance company
Large companies typically have in-house expertise, such as engineers and technicians, to maintain their gensets. Smaller companies, however, don’t typically employ such specialized experts. The same is true of companies that use a generator only for backup power in case of an outage.
In these cases, entering into a maintenance contract with generator dealers or electrical contractors to maintain gensets is a smart move.
Benefits of a Maintenance Service Agreement
By entering into a maintenance service agreement, smaller companies can take the burden of service off their own shoulders. There are several other advantages to having a contract with a maintenance firm:
- Automatic scheduling – You won’t need to schedule weekly, monthly or yearly maintenance. Your contracted maintenance firm will schedule these for you and set up convenient times.
- Custom maintenance – Your generator may require special maintenance. A generator maintenance company will be able to customize a preventative maintenance plan to fit individual needs and compliance regulations.
- Documentation – A standard maintenance plan will ensure there is a maintenance log, which helps provide a basis for supporting warranty claims, to help track changes in the generator’s performance, and for regulatory purposes.
- Priority service – By having a maintenance service contract, you may get priority service when you need it the most, especially during high-demand time such as extended outages, storms, winter and hurricane season.
What’s included in commercial/industrial generator maintenance?
A maintenance company will check for mechanical problems that could create hazardous conditions or could affect your generator’s efficiency. Typically, they’ll check:
- Control system
- Electrical system
- Exhaust system
- Fuel system
Load bank testing
A load bank test checks a generator’s rated capacity. You likely would never use a generator’s full capacity, but this test makes sure it performs at peak efficiency when used in emergencies.
Your switchgear is vital to support distribution of power and your automatic transfer switch. Switchgear failures can be catastrophic, costing you time and money.
A good maintenance company will provide:
- Arc flash hazard analysis
- Breaker changeout service
- Breaker maintenance
- Coordination studies
- Injection testing
- IR scanning
Where To Go For Generator Parts
Generators can be useful units for your building to help maintain your safety, productivity and comfort during a power outage. To ensure your generator works when you need it most, it’s important to keep the unit properly maintained throughout the year.
Does your generator require new parts? Contact our parts departments to speak to our team of experts with over 20 years of experience. We understand your urgency and look forward to finding you the right 100% original part for your generator needs.
If you need more assistance or have questions about your unit, contact our team for more help with your generator needs.