When the power goes out is not the time to learn your emergency system has failed!
Ralph Power, P.E., attended a professional development seminar on Emergency Generator Reliability. The primary message? When the power goes out is not the time to learn your emergency system has failed.
All of the following impact generator reliability: generator design (products) and the project-specific design (system), initial testing (commissioning with full transfer of intended load is recommended at start-up) and periodic testing per code afterwards; inspection and regularly-scheduled preventative maintenance of the installed generator system; and the training / qualifications of the system’s operators.
Generator systems age over time and use, resulting in loosening of connections due to vibration, contaminates in the fuel, and corrosion. Regular inspection and scheduled preventative maintenance is a must, as is monthly transfer and testing under real transferred load. Most standby generator problems are discovered during this routine maintenance and load testing. It is, after all, a mechanical system with starting, fuel, cooling, exhaust, alternator, and control systems.
The engineering of a generator power system for your facility is paramount to address the initial reliability of your system, followed by routine testing and preventative maintenance for long-term reliability.