Factors to Consider When Installing a New Commercial Generator
Commercial generators provide industrial facilities with the backup power source that they’ll need in the event of a blackout. They are critical to keep operations running so that businesses experience minimal losses during a power failure. Not only are they able to provide a backup power solution, but some are used continuously for a variety of applications, such as at construction sites or remote work locations.
A commercial generator can prove to be an invaluable investment, but there are a multitude of factors that you should take into account before installing one at your industrial facility.
To make sure you select the right generator, you will need to determine if the power output of the unit is suitable for your needs. When sizing your generator, keep in mind that smaller generators typically won’t be able to handle the same massive power loads that a larger generator can manage. Most industrial facilities will require a larger generator that has a high power output rating. If you choose the wrong size generator, you may not have the power you need to continue operations, which could negatively impact your bottom line.
The cost of a new generator installation varies widely depending on type, size, power capacity, and other features. A complex high-wattage commercial generator could run you anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 or more. While this price tag may seem steep initially, note that commercial generators are very durable and can last you through many years of service. Proper maintenance will enhance your investment and keep your generator running well in a variety of environmental conditions.
Size and Space
Commercial generators come in a wide variety of sizes. While a smaller generator may seem appealing, it likely wouldn’t be able to handle the power requirements of a large facility that’s running multiple pieces of equipment at once. Before selecting one, you will also need to ensure that your site can accommodate the generator you have selected. Take precise measurements of the area the generator will be located to confirm you have enough space for the unit.
When preparing for a generator installation, you should know that some generators can be quite noisy. Diesel generators are especially loud and could benefit from a sound-attenuated enclosure that will reduce the noise level. Employees who work around generators should also take precautions like noise-minimizing headphones.
Many commercial generators are located outdoors due to their size, noise level, and safety risks. When installing your generator outside, you need to be aware of how the wind could impact the unit. It’s extremely important to make sure the area surrounding the generator is always clear of debris. On a windy day, leaves, trash, and other contaminants could get drawn into the air vents, which would eventually restrict airflow and overheat your unit. You can minimize this risk by examining wind patterns and noting where debris generally collects on your site. If possible, you should avoid placing your unit in those locations. Once you have the generator installed, make a point to inspect the area daily, more often if you’re experiencing strong winds.
Diesel and natural gas are the two common fuel sources for commercial generators. You should understand the key differences between the two before selecting a generator to install.
Benefits of diesel include:
- These units require less maintenance over time than natural gas units.
- Diesel engines are extremely durable and will last a long time with proper maintenance.
- It has a high energy density, making it a very fuel-efficient option.
- Diesel isn’t as flammable as other fuels, so storing it on-site is relatively safe.
- These generators are often smaller in size compared to gas units with similar features.
Benefits of natural gas include:
- Natural gas is one of the cleanest fossil fuels, a fact that many eco-conscious businesses may find appealing.
- Pipelines make natural gas readily available, so you won’t have to worry about storing fuel.
- It doesn’t generate a strong odor like diesel does.
- Natural gas typically costs less than diesel to run for long periods of time.
Automatic Transfer Switch
If you won’t always have someone available to manually turn on the generator during a power failure, it’s a good idea to install an automatic transfer switch. This will ensure the generator will switch on within seconds of an outage to maintain your operations without interruption. Once the main power returns to your facility, the switch will enable the generator to shut down.
A commercial generator installation can be complex, so you should carefully consider who will be installing your unit. It’s best to work with a generator specialist who is experienced in the installation process to make sure it’s done correctly the first time. The last thing you will want to deal with during a power outage is a generator that hasn’t been installed properly.
When you are installing a new commercial generator at your facility, you should develop a solid maintenance plan with your staff. Decide on who will perform the maintenance and then outline the tasks that should be performed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This maintenance often includes:
- Changing the oil and filters
- Draining old fuel and refilling with new fuel
- Refilling fuel storage containers
- Inspecting for loose connections, corrosion, and leaks
- Running the generator to test performance
Generators should be serviced on a routine schedule to make sure that they will be able to keep your critical business systems running optimally. A poorly maintained generator will eventually shut down, resulting in downtime for your business should you experience a power failure.
These are all important factors you should bear in mind when you’re considering a new commercial generator installation. Having the right generator will make all the difference during a power failure. Valley Power Systems has a wide variety of power solutions for California businesses. Contact us today to speak with our knowledgeable staff about your power needs.