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How to extend the life of your generator

Posted Oct 21, 2019

The complexity of a generator and switchgear system means that it is almost impossible to avoid conducting maintenance. Servicing should be carried out every 6 months or 400 hours, depending on the purpose and use of the generator and which of the two come first. Service contracts save you money in the long run as repairs can be expensive. The older your equipment gets, the higher the chances of failure become.

Why Do I Need to Have My Generator Serviced?

Power Electrics’ standby power maintenance contract ensures that, if there are any mains failures, or interruptions, the backup generator can reliably provide power and in turn, maintain the essential service it provides to any given facility.

The service checks must also be carried out to keep up to date with new tier engine emissions regulations.

Generators that are regularly expected to run on light loads should be subject to a more thorough maintenance regimen to ensure there isn’t any excessive wear or deposit build-up leading to a condition known as ‘wet stacking’. When generators are run below their optimal workload-to-fuel consumption level, regular scheduled maintenance regimens are essential to maintaining the health of its power system.

What About a Natural Gas Servicing?

When using a natural gas generator set, it’s recommended that light loading should be much more limited than a diesel generator set. Low loading on gas sets can lead to a low combustion pressure, much lower than it is in diesel engines, consequently making ‘oil blowby’ worse. To avoid this, gas engines require more fuel to be used when running on low loads, this leads to a build-up of carbon/ash deposits, so there is a balance to be struck between low combustion pressures and the build-up of carbon deposits. The selection of a correct generator size to begin with is paramount.

What about load bank testing?IMG_4014

If you’re looking to increase the longevity of your generator equipment, Power Electrics believe scheduled and preventative maintenance plans are a must, and testing forms an integral part of that process.

The service inspections must be carried out by trained personnel or a generator specialist. An important element of extending the life of your generator is using the load bank testing service which generator specialists like Power Electrics can provide. For any lightly loaded generator, diesel or gas, periodic load banking the generator to its full capacity can burn off the deposits left by light loads and dramatically increase the life of your generator.

This reduces chances of power generator failure and helps maintain the required supply of power. Most importantly, this helps erase any effects of gas ash, carbon, or other build-up. To find out more about this service, click [here].

How often do I need to service my generator?

Dust, moisture, salinity, altitude and severe temperatures will influence how often generator maintenance service should be carried out so be sure to keep it as clean as possible.

Generator maintenance servicing saves both time and money as it prevents downtime whilst allowing for small issues to be solved before they have chance to become large ones. If you haven’t got one already, we recommend investing in a cover or an enclosure as electricity and water are not a good combination as it can lead to electric shocks, or corrosion. Periodic inspections of the canopy or generator enclosure check for water ingress and highlight any issues.

Power Electrics recommend that you run your generator every week for around five minutes so you can check that your battery charging systems and water jacket heaters are working correctly. Where possible, it’s also recommended that you keep the battery clean.

What needs to be checked?

Ensuring that your tank is filled with fuel helps avoid any condensation forming inside the fuel tank, reducing water contamination. Checking fuel level should be part of your weekly checks. Allowing the generator to run out of fuel usually damages the engine and will require an engineer to visit the site to change the fuel filters (dirt from the bottom of the tank can be sucked through the system) and bleed the fuel system.

The cooling system level in your generator should also be checked, as low oil or water levels are usually only monitored by the generator control panel when the engine is running. This means that low oil or water conditions can lead to an engine shutdown just as the generator turns on after a mains fail, so it’s important to make these items a part of your weekly checks.

All servicing that Power Electrics carries out involves a 60+ point check of fluid levels, testing, cleaning batteries, and verifying control panel readings. This ensures that your generator is performing optimally and consistently. Regular servicing helps you avoid generator breakdown as there are various parts to every set that require special attention.

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