June 24, 2015
Power outages don't care what you do for a living. So when the PG&E transformer on our street corner blew a couple of weeks ago, we and several of our neighbors suddenly found ourselves without power - no computers, servers, lights, or telephone service - effectively shutting us down. Fortunately, we have a backup generator and were quickly back in business - no waiting around for PG&E to dispatch a team to determine the cause of the outage, make the appropriate repairs, and get the power back up and running. Unfortunately for some of our neighbors, they were without power and sent their workers home, losing a day of productivity.
Being an emergency generator maintenance company doesn't mean we're immune to power outages. But what it DOES mean is that we're ready to take action to bring our company - and yours - back into business when an outage occurs.
June 2, 2015
Picture yourself working in an office building. The air is stale and stuffy because of a lack of proper air circulation and it's stifling hot in the summer and freezing in the winter due to non-functioning heating and air-conditioning. Not the most pleasant of working conditions, right? If you think those things are inconvenient, now imagine if your office suffered from a power outage and the emergency power system didn't come online? What impact would it have on your company if you were without computers, email, servers, or other essential equipment for an extended period of time - especially if these systems are the lifeblood of your business? That's why putting your emergency power system (just like your HVAC system) on a preventive maintenance program is a MUST.
Unfortunately, like HVAC services, the emergency power system (consisting of the generator set and the automatic transfer switch) is out-of-sight and out-of-mind - you're only aware of it when it's needed - and by then it's too late. It's tempting to think of maintenance as an overhead cost and simply address problems on an "as-needed" basis, but that's the wrong mind set and actually the MOST costly way to maintain equipment. Compared to the costs you have to spend on a system if it degrades or fails completely, preventive maintenance isn't that expensive. Preventive maintenance is just that: preventive. By keeping your emergency generator and automatic transfer switch in good working order by implementing a proactive maintenance program, you avoid costly problems down the road. As with any piece of equipment, the better it is maintained, the more likely you'll get a significant lifespan out of it. Without proper maintenance, it will deteriorate and you'll be facing expensive repairs or perhaps a hefty price tag to replace the equipment entirely - far earlier than you would have had to otherwise.
Maintenance doesn't just mean changing the oil and filters, though. Proper preventive maintenance is a much more pervasive program that includes such things as regularly checking levels and taking readings to identify problems early, an annual load bank test to burn off carbon deposits that can potentially cause fires, and thoroughly cleaning and testing the Automatic Transfer Switch (after all, what good will a fully-functioning generator do you if the transfer switch malfunctions?). Other events that do not occur annually - like battery changes, cooling system services, etc. - should be tracked and kept on a routine performance schedule so they are not overlooked.
A comprehensive preventive maintenance plan (performed by technicians with knowledgeable eyes, hands, and ears) for your emergency power system required planning and forward-thinking, but the benefits in equipment reliability and cost-savings pay off in the long-run.
April 24, 2015
Fire marshals have recently stepped up enforcement of the NFPA110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems requirement for a remote manual stop station for all emergency generators.
NFPA110, 188.8.131.52 states: "All installations shall have a remote manual stop station of a type to prevent inadvertent or unintentional operation located outside the room housing the prime mover, where so installed, or elsewhere on the premises where the prime mover is located outside the building." This is a requirement for ALL generators.
Electro-Motion has experience in installing remote manual stop stations for our customers upon request. Be proactive, get one installed now, before your next fire inspection visit. Call Electro-Motion today at 650-321-6169 for a quote.
April 2, 2015
The #1 reason for service calls is because the generator did not start.
The #1 reason the generator did not start is due to a battery system failure.
And simply put, if your unit doesn't start, it can't perform. Therefore, your starting system (consisting of the battery, battery charger, starter, starter solenoid, cables, etc.) is of critical importance to maintaining dependable and reliable performance. And among these starting system elements, the battery is the most important. It also happens to be the item most likely to cause trouble.
Under ideal conditions, a battery can last 4-5 years or longer. Unfortunately most starting batteries work under average-to-poor environmental, application, and maintenance conditions. This shortens their life considerably. NFPA110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems, 2013 edition states that "it is recommended that lead-acid batteries be replaced every 24 to 30 months." Based on our experience, we recommend replacing small batteries every 2 years and large batteries every 3 years, using an industrial-grade battery specifically designed for standby generator duty. Remember, this isn't like waiting to replace your car battery until it fails. Wait that long and you risk not having emergency power when you desperately need it. Replacing your batteries every 2-3 years is the "cheapest insurance" you can buy to make sure your emergency generator is dependable and starts when needed.
March 4, 2015
What is a Load Bank test?
How is it performed?
Why are Load bank tests important?
Why does this test have to be done every year?