Buying an Automatic Backup Generator: Things to Consider
6 Things to Consider When Buying an Automatic Backup Generator for Your Business
A power outage can be caused by any number of issues, from unintended human errors to a full-on natural disaster. According to the Department of Energy, power interruptions cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars every year. In fact, one in four commercial enterprises experiences a power outage each month. Imagine if it was your company that didn’t have power when you needed it most. Considering power outages can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days, or even weeks, losses due to a blackout can be huge. That is why it makes sense to invest in an automatic backup generator for your California business.
The commercial generator market has a wide array of generators to select from, but not every unit should be treated equally. There are several considerations you should keep in mind when purchasing a backup power system.
1. Power Capacity
Most commercial consumers need a significant amount of energy to keep their operations running year-round. When buying an automatic backup generator, your particular power requirements should be among the first things that you consider. If you purchase a generator that’s too small, it won’t be able to keep up with demand during an outage. Straining a low-capacity power system will impact its usable lifespan by putting increased wear and tear on the unit. It’s best to go with a model that can meet your power needs now with some room for future growth. If you’re unsure of your company’s power requirements, work with the experienced professionals from Valley Power Systems to help calculate your wattage needs.
2. Fuel Type
The electricity produced by a backup generator begins with the engine. Most commercial gensets will have a diesel or natural gas power system, and each fuel type has its advantages. Diesel fuel is readily available, runs efficiently, and can be stored on-site for up to two years. This can be extremely beneficial if you work in a remote location or experience an extended power interruption. On the other hand, a natural gas generator will be a good choice if you already have a gas line at your business. Natural gas is also cost-efficient and burns cleaner than other fuel types. For the eco-conscious business owner, a natural gas unit can provide the power you need while reducing your carbon footprint over a traditional diesel system.
3. Noise Level
Noise is another vital consideration that you may need to make regarding your backup generator. When it comes to industrial uses, the noise level may not be an important factor. However, if your business is located near a residential area or other businesses, noise has to be considered. If the system will be located close to your office or other businesses, you may need to invest in additional features to minimize the sound your generator makes. Purchasing a sound-reducing enclosure, for example, could be the best choice for your business. These enclosures are generally weatherproof and can control generator noise significantly, allowing you and your employees to work with minimal distraction.
4. Transfer Switch
Many emergency standby systems have an automatically controlled transfer switch. If you prefer, you can get a generator with a manual transfer switch; however, you may find that the benefits offered by an automatic transfer switch will outweigh the slight cost savings of sticking with a manual one.
When shopping for an automatic backup generator for your company, you have to pay attention to the size of the transfer switch. Suppose you want your backup generator to serve the whole building. In that case, you need a transfer switch that is “service entrance rated” and includes a utility disconnect in the transfer switch cabinet. There are several transfer switch features available for industrial or commercial applications, including closed transition, bypass isolation, and programmed transition. The switch’s amperage rating determines the size. Not sure what to select? The knowledgeable staff from Valley Power Systems can help you choose the right system for your facility.
When it comes to the accessories that a backup generator has, your options will depend on the type of generator that you buy. Light commercial systems often come with an optional remote annunciator panel that can be installed in a preferred area in the building. The panel enables you to view the current status of the generator.
Many commercial systems also come with cold weather kits as well as remote monitoring. There are more features available for industrial systems, including an expanded list of communication options, alternator strip heaters, enclosure lighting, load centers, and much more. To discover your full list of options, consult with the team from Valley Power Systems. We work with today’s top manufacturers to offer our customers the best features available in modern power generation.
Usually, commercial generators have a standard warranty that ranges from 2 to 5 years. These warranties are generally limited to cover manufacturer defects. Depending on your model, extended warranties and upgrades may be available at an additional cost. Understanding the warranty duration and coverage of your backup generator is essential. Be sure to ask about what is covered by the current warranty and what it might cost to provide increased coverage for several more years. You might find that spending a little more upfront can pay off in the long run. A generator may begin to show signs of wear and tear around 7-10 years down the line, so it’s a good investment if you can find a warranty that will last that long.
Need an Automatic Backup Generator? Call Valley Power Today
With the above considerations in mind, you can take the right first steps towards finding the right automatic backup generator for your business. At Valley Power Systems, we take great pride in being your go-to power provider in California. Our staff is ready to match your company with the right power system and accessories. We also offer installation, repair, and maintenance services for all kinds of commercial units. To get started, contact our sales team today!
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