December 6, 2012

No matter what type of company you work for or run, there’s one thing every company needs….POWER.  Losing power for even a few hours can mean thousands of dollars in lost revenue and product.  Security systems go down, refrigerated goods spoil, customers are turned away, computer systems go down and production lines stop.  If your company is like many others, you have a backup generator to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.  The real question is, “Can you trust that your generator will run when you need it to?”

Backup generators exist anonymously.  They are metal boxes, squirreled away on a roof or near a loading dock.  They are meant to be neither seen nor heard.  They are there when you need them and, the rest of the time, they do their best to be unobtrusive.  The problem is that this very job description makes it more likely that your emergency generator won’t work in an emergency.

Did you know that backup generators are not  100% reliable?  In fact, they don’t work as often as 20%-to-30% of the time, said Arshad Mansoor, Senior Vice President for Research & Development with the Electric Power Research Institute.  The bad news is that there’s only so much you can do to improve on that failure rate.  The good news: There are solutions that could help keep a whole facility up and running in an emergency, even if the emergency power system doesn’t work.


The short answer is that we only use them, you know, for backup.  Most of the time, these generators just sit around, doing nothing.  It might seem like you’re keeping them safe, but it’s actually a pretty rough way to treat a mechanical system.

The following are the top 10 reasons back-up generators fail when you need them most:

  1. Battery System Problems
  2. Control System Problems
  3. Cooling Systems Problems
  4. Fuel System Problems
  5. Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) or Switchgear Problems
  6. Circuit Breaker Problems
  7. Intake/Exhaust Valve Problems
  8. Generator Winding Problems
  9. Lubrication Problems
  10. Wet Stacking & Carbon Buildup Problems

Every facility or property manager should understand these common reasons for emergency power system failure and should realize why proper maintenance will help prevent those failures.  While your personnel may be able to perform many weekly maintenance items, a qualified service provider can add great value by performing the higher-level maintenance that is required to address these 10 issues.

Power interruptions and power quality problems are an everyday occurrence.  Having said that, our 21st century digital society is more dependent than ever on a reliable source of quality electric power.  Power interruptions cause loss of revenue, impair business operations, lose customers or worse, jeopardize human life and safety.  Don’t let your company be in the 70-80% of users who will find out the hard way what poor service of their stand by generator means.  Instead be in the 20-30% that has nothing to worry about.  Have a qualified service provider perform higher-level maintenance on regular intervals.