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Backup Generators

What is a generator and why is it important to your business

Simply put, a power generator is a backup source of electricity in the event of a power failure to the electrical grid.

It works similar to a car, in that the generator creates mechanical energy. It uses a heavy duty rechargeable battery to start and maintain energy and fuel, which could be gasoline, diesel, or natural gas, an engine and an alternator to convert the mechanical power to electric power.

Backup generators are important to your business in that your business would never experience downtime in the event of a power failure. Generators can be configured to automatically kick in when the electrical power fails.

Think of the last time your business experience a power failure? How many employees were sidelined? For how many hours? The initial cost of installing a backup generator for your business is paid for in not-lost activity after the first power failure.

commercial backup generator

Benefits of a backup generator

  • Backup generators ensure the continuation business activities and productivity
  • They can provide safety and comfort in the event of a power outage in extreme weather, such as Winnipeg’s minus forty winters
  • Generators will help protect your sensitive business data from being lost
  • They permit security systems to stay functional

Types of commercial backup generators

There are two main types:

  1. Portable
  2. Standby

Portable backup generators

A professional Winnipeg electrician can wire a portable commercial generator directly into a sub-panel, or you also have the option of plugging in appliances via extension cords.

These types of generators will only power a few necessities, such as lights, computers, and refrigerators. Not too complicated to set up and the cheaper of the two options, portable generators need to be started manually. They will have a more limited electricity supply, but will provide at least two to four outlets with energy (more if they’re wired in).

There are a few logistical implications with portable generators. They need to be located a certain amount of distance away from your business, doors, windows, and be situated in a totally open area to protect your employees and others from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Standby generators

Unlike portable generators, commercial standby generators automatically start during a power outage, which prevent any interruptions in your business activities.

Powered by natural gas or propane, they are also quieter than portable generators. Because of that, they can run everything in your business.

Yes, they are more expensive to install at first, but you will get your money back after one or two power outages (obviously depending on your business). Keep in mind that there may be additional installation requirements by a certified Winnipeg electrical company, such as a sub-panel and transfer board. 

  require additional installations by a qualified electrician, including a transfer switch, a sub-panel, and the power generator itself.

Are backup generators maintenance free

No, they are not maintenance free. Just like any other engine, they require service and maintenance intervals.

Here are a few ideas of backup generator maintenance:

  • Battery failure: If anything is going to fail, it’s probably most common that it’s the battery. Most times, there is sulfate buildup on shorts, open cells, battery terminals, etc.
  • Low coolant: Your generator runs hot, and as such internal or external coolant leaks or clogged radiators can cause it to overheat and shut down.
  • Faulty block heater: Due to constant use, block heaters can get run down and cause a low coolant temperature alarm.
  • Wet stacking: An over-fueled engine, the result of excessive no-load run time, can become damaged due to the build up of carbon particles, fuel that hasn’t burned, condensed water, oil or acids in the exhaust.
  • Air in the fuel system: If your generator is infrequently used, air can get into the fuel lines, which may prevent the injectors from firing.
  • Breaker trip: Never ever attempt to manually operate this switch if you are inexperienced. It could result in serious injury or death.

Important! Under no circumstances should you plug your generator into a wall outlet. This is called backfeeding. If you do, and you haven't turned off the main breaker, the power back into the grid could injure or kill anyone working on the system.

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