The 2014 Hurricane season is here. Don’t be left in the dark…Literally!! Stand-by generators are like your forgotten relatives. Nobody thinks or talks about them until they need them, or something bad happens. Unfortunately with a backup generator this can result in a life or death scenario, or at the very least carry dire consequences. When the power goes out people need to be assured that their backup generator will be there to save the day. Most generator issues can be easily avoided through a proper maintenance program. In general people don’t enjoy spending money on their forgotten relatives, but in this case the rewards can far outweigh the risk.
Stand-by diesel generators spend over 90% of their life sitting idle. This lack of operation takes a toll over time. It is important to exercise your generator regularly to keep them at peak performance. It is Triton Power recommendation that you exercise the generator at a minimum of a monthly rate. Bi-monthly or weekly is actually preferred, and exercise with the building load. Think of it this way what is better for your vehicles starting them and leaving it running in the garage, or putting it in gear and taking it out on the road. Loading the generator is the equivalent of taking the vehicle onto the highway. How else will you know if the equipment performs upon demand? Many people exercise their generators without load only to find an issue when the actual power goes out and the equipment is required to actually perform.
It is not just the generator that requires exercising. Most generators are connected to an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS). This ATS is the electronic device that senses the power failure and gives the generator the command to operate. Once the generator is operating the ATS transfers power from the Utility over to the generator, and back again when utility is restored. The ATS is a major part of your back up power configuration. If the ATS is not exercised regularly it too can fail and leave you in the dark in an emergency. If ATS operation is not performed regularly there is no way of telling what will happen when utility fails. In some circumstances the power fails the generator starts, but the ATS doesn’t transfer to the generator. This is almost as bad as the generator failing to start as most consumers are not qualified to diagnose a malfunctioning ATS. They are left sitting in the dark with their generator humming along next to the building! This is another reason Triton Power recommends operating your generator under a building load regularly.
Last but not least is routine maintenance on your Triton stand-by generator. Regardless of the hours of operation it is mandatory to perform annual generator maintenance. This includes but is not limited to oil and filter change. The filter elements on your engines have paper elements that deteriorate over time and require replacement. Engine oil has chemical additives that also deteriorate over time requiring replacement. Operational maintenance intervals vary from product to product check your Triton manual to verify your specific data if you are operating your equipment on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is to perform a filter change every 500hrs or annually.
While it is easy to forget about your generator like it is a distant relative. It can have major repercussions if you ignore them too long. Think of your monthly generator exercise as a 5 minute phone call to Aunt Dolores. It is relatively painless and really takes little to no effort on your part. In regards to your annual maintenance think of it as feeding your cousin Lenny a meal when he stops by once a year on his way down to Florida. It is better to feed him and have him on his way then having him break down in your driveway and you’re stuck with him for a week while his vehicle is in the garage. Perhaps one day your power goes out and it will be equivalent to your cousin Lenny winning the lottery and writing you a check. Your generator will repay your maintenance kindness with dividends of power, and just maybe your Aunt Dolores will remember you in her will for those 5 minute phone calls!
Americas Generators recommends businesses prepare for this year’s heart of the hurricane season immediately by visiting their website or directly contacting them today to locate the appropriate generators for sale.