Annual Maintenance Requirements For Your Commercial Generator
It’s a new year, which means new budgets for Facilities Engineers and Property Managers. It’s also the season for new regulations to kick in, and to revisit the maintenance tasks you deferred throughout the year.
This means it’s time to take another look at your commercial generator and make sure you’ve addressed the annual maintenance items that will guarantee its proper function when you need it. Annual maintenance is also important for your compliance, as fire marshals across the state schedule their routine (and surprise) inspections.
As the most important maintenance visit every year, the annual maintenance includes a much more comprehensive checklist of items than what is typically performed during monthly or quarterly maintenance visits. Here’s an overview of the items you should make sure are covered in your annual inspection.
Annual Load Bank Testing
The annual load bank test is a test that verifies the ability of your generator to operate under a full load for an extended period of time, typically two hours. It’s required by your local authority and verified during inspections. It’s also one of the best ways to not only identify issues with your generator system that may have been missed otherwise, but testing a unit at 100% load for two hours burns off wet stacking.
This is a big one. A bad battery is the #1 reason generators don’t start when you need them to. Batteries need to be replaced every two to three years, depending on their size. Replacing your battery at the right intervals is the cheapest way to ensure your generator works when there’s an outage. If you’re making cuts to your maintenance plan, make sure you keep battery replacements on the list.
Automatic Transfer Switch Maintenance
The automatic transfer switch (ATS) is a critical electrical component that switches your building’s electrical load from the grid over to your generator when an outage happens. Typically, full ATS maintenance involves completely disassembling the unit, inspecting it, cleaning it, and replacing parts where necessary.
If your business cannot have a shutdown to perform the ATS maintenance due to business continuity issues, an ATS Thermal Scan is an alternative service that gives you a snapshot of the condition of your switch. Just remember, this does not replace ATS Maintenance, but it can postpone maintenance until it becomes absolutely necessary.
Annual checklist for commercial generator maintenance
Specifically, the items that need to be addressed each year for your commercial generator’s maintenance are as follows:
- Change oil, fuel & coolant filters, and air filter.
- Change and/or top up the lubricant after inspecting its condition.
- Check if the transfer switch is working without fault.
- Inspect the complete electrical system of the generator, including the battery.
- Test the auto mode and other settings of the generator along with load tests.
When will the fire marshal inspect my generator?
The regulations surrounding fire marshals and their inspection schedules vary from state-to-state. In some states, inspections are only carried out when there is a complaint about a business. In others, fire marshals create a schedule for each business.
Here in the state of California, generator inspection regulations are specified under Title 24. You can read the details of this supplement here. The short version is this: fire marshal inspections should occur once a year and can occur without advance notification.
The last thing you want is for an inspection to occur without having had the proper maintenance performed on your commercial generator.
Who should perform my annual commercial generator inspection?
If you have qualified staff, it’s good to ask them which of these items they feel they can perform. However, it’s also easy to get into trouble when you’re not using certified technicians to maintain your commercial generator.
At Electro-Motion, we execute our services with EGSA (Emergency Generator Services Association) certified and trained personnel. We have also created a collection of maintenance and testing schedules, forms and logs to help keep you in compliance with NFPA 110 recordkeeping rules. You can use these forms to develop your maintenance and testing plan, keep a log of your maintenance history, and record results of your weekly, monthly, and annual operational tests.
We provide emergency power integrity for 100% of our membership customers and are on call 24/7/365 to ensure an excellent customer experience. For a free consultation, call us at (650) 321-6169, or go to https://electromotion.com.
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