Safe Generator Placement: What to Know

Safe Generator Placement: What to Know

Commercial generators enable businesses to run smoothly even in the event of a power outage. However, if they are not installed correctly, they can present safety hazards to both personnel and important business equipment. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when determining safe generator placement and operating your industrial generator.

Run Generator Outdoors

Generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide (CO), which is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Carbon monoxide is very poisonous and can kill a healthy adult in approximately five minutes. When a generator is placed in an enclosed room, CO accumulates and can cause suffocation or even death. With this in mind, it is advised that generators be placed outside, and their fumes should be directed away from building openings. Most manufacturers recommend that you place your power system approximately 20 feet away from your business building. You should also install a carbon monoxide detector that will alert you to high CO levels in your facility.

Choose a Dry Area

You should strategically place your generator in a dry area to prevent electrical hazards. While it’s crucial to install your unit in a well-ventilated area outdoors, it must also be protected from rain. When moisture comes into contact with a generator, it may result in a short circuit, which can cause shock, electrocution, or even a fire. Many businesses use a raised concrete pad to ensure the generator won’t come into contact with water. You should also consider investing in a generator enclosure, which can help protect the unit from moisture while minimizing noise.

Avoid Back-Feeding Using a Transfer Switch

Back-feeding occurs when a generator is plugged directly into a building’s electrical panel. This causes a dramatic increase in volts, which may result in hazards such as damage to the generator, electrical fires, and electrocution of utility workers and other people obtaining power from the same power transformer. Back-feeding can also destroy your circuit protection system, which may damage your electrical equipment.

Back-feeding is extremely dangerous and should you need to avoid it at all costs. The best way to do this is by installing a transfer switch. The transfer switch ensures that power comes from your generator and not the main grid so that you can power whatever you need without having to worry about electrical hazards.

Cool Off Generator Before Refueling

Generators become hot in their natural usage. When fuel comes into contact with heated engine parts, it can be extremely dangerous, so you should never refuel while the generator is still running. Turn off your generator and allow it cool completely before refueling it. This will prevent fires as well as protect you from getting burnt while refueling. Whenever dealing with a generator engine, it’s also always a good idea to wear protective gloves.

Store Fuel in Proper Storage Containers

Only use approved containers to store your generator fuel. Do not store your fuel in enclosed areas with restricted ventilation or near heat sources that may cause the fuel to ignite.

Follow the Manufacturer’s Manual for Safe Generator Placement

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s manual that comes with your generator before you start the installation process. Different generator manufacturers have varying instructions on operating their generators, so it’s essential to read the manual even if you have basic knowledge of setting up power systems. Adhere to all precautions and safety measures as indicated in the manual.

Why Hire a Professional Installer?

Before installing a generator, it is important to contact a professional installer who can guide you through the entire process. A trained technician will accurately determine your building’s load needs and recommend a generator that best suits them. An expert installer guarantees that the generator is placed correctly, gas lines connect properly, and all wiring is done according to required standards. This ensures that the generator is safe to use and reliable during power outages. You will also be taught how to operate the generator safely and effectively. Additionally, by using the services of a professional generator company, you’ll have someone to turn to in case of any breakdowns that may occur in the future.

Valley Power Systems has a team of specialists who are dedicated to providing high-quality generator installation services. Our technicians will help you find the best generator for your California business and then install it for you professionally, ensuring that the job is done correctly the first time.

Preventative Generator Maintenance

Thorough preventative maintenance will prolong your generator’s lifespan and guarantee the safety of both personnel and equipment. Preventative maintenance ensures that your generator provides reliable backup power during outages. The power system should be inspected regularly to identify any current or potential problems. Your maintenance technician will check:

  • Oil: Old oil can greatly affect your generator’s performance. For many commercial-grade generators, the first oil change should occur after 25 running hours and then every 50 hours after that. Be sure to check with the manufacturer or an expert at Valley Power Systems for your unit’s recommended schedule.
  • Filters: Dirty filters can cause the generator engine to take in dirt and debris, which can wreak havoc on its parts. Filters should be cleaned regularly and replaced when cleaning them becomes less effective.
  • Coolant: Adequate coolant will keep your engine from overheating and causing irreparable damage. Be sure to always keep coolant within the recommended level and change it out per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Fuel: A gasoline, propane, or diesel generator will need a steady supply of fuel on hand. Make sure the fuel is refilled and stocked at every maintenance check so that your unit will run when you need it most.
  • Wiring and connections: If these look worn-out or corroded, they should be replaced immediately to prevent electrical problems.

Schedule Your Installation Today

Valley Power Systems specializes in providing power solutions to businesses in California. We offer installation, repair, and maintenance services of generators and other power systems. If you’re looking for a new unit for your facility, contact us today and speak to a member of our knowledgeable sales team.

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