5 Backup Power Generator Safety Tips You Need to Follow
Here in New Jersey, it’s not a question of if, but when we will experience severe weather. Hazardous weather often brings power outages, which pose serious threats to your business and employees. A backup power generator can alleviate your concerns, provided you follow these safety tips.
#1. Designate Individuals to Operate your Generator
An employee is not necessarily qualified to operate a commercial generator just because he or she has a unit at home. Although they serve the same purpose, generators for home and business use are far different. The importance of having trained personnel operate your company’s equipment cannot be overstated.
Commercial generators can produce anywhere from 150 kilowatts to 2 megawatts, while a typical residential unit will only produce around 5,000 watts. Industrial-grade generators are also much heavier and are often housed in sound-dampening enclosures. As such, they are far more complex than the average generator used in a home.
Not only should you train individuals, but you should also make them responsible for periodic inspections. After all, it does no good to have equipment if it is not functioning correctly.
#2. Don’t Overload Your System
Even with an industrial generator, you probably won’t have an unlimited power supply. Remember that the purpose of a generator is to keep the most critical items like HVAC, computer systems, and heavy machinery going during an electrical outage. As such, you may need to forego using breakroom refrigerators, coffee pots, and microwaves during the interim.
Are you unsure what kind of load your generator can handle? Have our technicians perform a load calculation ahead of time. This will give you a better idea as to what equipment you could continue to run once the lights go out. And if you’ve recently expanded, we can let you know whether an upgrade is in order, as well.
#3. Choose the Right Placement
As with residential generators, commercial ones are not intended for indoor use. Accordingly, you’ll need to select an outdoor area in which to place your equipment. You’ll need a level surface, preferably a concrete slab or paved area such as a parking lot. Avoid low-lying areas or any spot that is already prone to standing water.
Operate your generator away from doors, windows, or crawl spaces. Emissions from the unit could potentially enter through openings and result in carbon monoxide poisoning. While your equipment should be some distance away, it should nonetheless be so far out that you would have to string together multiple cables or extension cords.
You must leave at least five feet of clearance around your generator. So be sure there are no dumpsters, machinery, or stacks of pallets lying around.
#4. Provide Cover When Using in Rain or Snow
Industrial generators produce electricity, which does not mix well with precipitation. Unfortunately, you’re most likely to experience a power outage after a heavy snowstorm or thunderstorm. That means you’ll need to provide some kind of cover to protect your equipment from the elements.
When it comes to generator cover, you have a multitude of options. Some manufacturers offer custom “tents” for their generators, but businesses can also construct their own. Of course, the one you choose will vary based on the size and configuration of your unit. The right cover is something we would be happy to discuss with you during a consultation.
#5. Have the System Installed Properly
To work properly, your commercial generator must be installed correctly. This is particularly true if you are using a transfer switch that connects the unit directly to your electrical system. If you need generator installation, or have existing equipment and would like to verify that it’s installed correctly, please contact South Jersey Heating and Cooling.