8 Things to Consider When Purchasing a New Standby Generator
When it comes time for you to buy a new standby generator for your business, there are some important factors that will influence your purchase. With the many brands and types of generators available on the market today, we at Valley Power Systems want to help you make the right decision for your facility. Here are 8 things you should consider before choosing a generator.
1. Fuel Type
Natural gas and diesel are the two most common fuel types for standby generators. Both have their own benefits and selecting the right one for your facility will depend on your preferences. Natural gas is convenient because it is supplied directly through the utility line. It’s also one of the cleanest fossil fuels available, making it a good choice for businesses who worry about their environmental impact. Diesel generators, on the other hand, are also a popular choice among commercial consumers because they are extremely durable, low maintenance, and fuel efficient.
2. Power Requirements
You should consider how much power you will need from your generator. If your building experiences an outage, will the generator need to run everything in the facility or just a few select components? The more powerful the generator is, the more expensive it is likely to be—however, that also means you won’t have to worry about losing production when the power is out, significantly reducing your financial losses in the long run. You might find this fact alone is worth the investment of a larger-capacity generator.
Where do you plan to put the generator? First, it needs to be somewhere easily accessible for maintenance and repair technicians. Whether you plan to use it indoors or outside, there are specific code requirements that you will need to meet to ensure the safety of your employees. An outdoor generator shouldn’t be placed in close proximity to windows or doors, and it should be installed high enough so that water won’t be able to reach it in the event of a flood. Indoor generators will also need a proper ventilation and exhaust system in place. If you’re unsure of exactly where you should install your generator in or outside your building, the pros from Valley Power Systems can help.
4. Generator Installation
Once you have the location figured out, you will want to have a licensed and insured technician install the generator for you. This will not only ensure that the job is done professionally, but it will also protect you if something were to go awry with the installation. If you’re not properly trained, attempting to do the job yourself may lead to more problems that cost your company a lot of money to fix. It’s best to work with a reputable business that has a long history of performing standby generator installations.
5. Transfer Switch
Standby systems usually use an automatic transfer switch instead of their manual counterparts. The transfer switch works by instantly providing power to the generator during a power outage. This will ensure you have a reliable, safe source of power when you need it most. An automatic transfer switch should always be installed by a trained electrician.
6. Noise Level
Typically, the larger the generator is, the more noise it will make, especially in the case of diesel standby generators. If excessive noise is an issue for your location, you can place a sound-attenuated enclosure around the generator to reduce the noise to a more comfortable level. You may also want to invest in hearing protection devices, like earplugs or earmuffs, for anyone who has to work near the generator.
At minimum, a new generator will come with limited warranty coverage. These manufacturer warranties typically range from one to five years. It’s important to understand what your warranty covers as well as what might void the warranty during the standard duration. You may also consider investing in extended warranty coverage, which might provide you with an additional 5 to 10 years of protection against manufacturer defects. While this will involve some upfront cost, it could save you hundreds, if not thousands, in repair costs should your system fail during the warranty period.
A generator needs to be carefully maintained for optimal performance. Have a written maintenance plan in place to make sure it gets performed at regular intervals. Your generator will likely need:
- Oil changes– Using a fresh supply of oil with your generator is key to keeping it running smoothly. Old oil can degrade your system and cause excess war and tear on the unit, making it work less efficiently.
- Filter changes– It’s crucial to replace the filter regularly to optimize air flow. When a filter becomes clogged, it reduces air flow, allows dirt and other debris to enter the generator, which will eventually damage its internal parts and components.
- An inspection– This is a good opportunity to inspect the exterior of your generator. Look for corroded or worn-down connections and components. Replace these immediately to avoid problems later. If you find dust on your generator, wipe it down with a soft cloth. Never spray water directly on the unit.
- An engine run test– By running the engine regularly, you can ensure that it will turn on and operate like you need it to during a power failure. If your generator won’t start or isn’t performing as expected, have a qualified technician inspect it as soon as possible to determine the cause.
You also need to decide who will do these maintenance tasks. In many cases, it’s best to work with a generator professional for all routine maintenance.
Contact Valley Power Systems
You can rely on Valley Power Systems for all of your industrial generator needs in California. We’re proud to have a knowledgeable staff ready to answer your questions and match you with the right power solution. Contact us today to learn more.