4 Common Causes of Commercial Standby Generator Failure
Posted by Kristopher Schwind
Standby generators are essential to keep businesses and facilities up and running during unexpected emergencies and outages. Ensuring your standby generator is primed and ready to perform is especially crucial for mission-critical facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes.
A well-maintained commercial generator will not only provide power during an outage, but last for decades with proper care. Without routine maintenance, commercial standby generators run a high-risk of experiencing significant system failure.
Avoid risking commercial generator failure by becoming familiar with its most common causes.
“Wet-stacking” occurs when standby generators sit idle for long periods of time, causing unburned fuel and soot buildup in the exhaust system. When wet-stacking happens, generators will not only perform below nameplate capacity, but are also at risk of suffering system failure.
Routine load bank testing helps to prevent wet-stacking and detect potential system failures. As part of the testing process, the technician will run your standby generator at full capacity which helps burn off excess fuel and soot in your exhaust system—both of which help prevent wet-stacking.
Low-Quality Diesel or an Empty Fuel Tank
Your standby generator needs quality fuel to perform optimally. Standby generators running on old, low-quality diesel can suffer significant system failure.
Most fuel tanks sit unused for months at a time, which can lead to critical fuel problems —the most common cause of generator failure. Neglected fuel tanks can lead to contaminated fuel and sediment build-up that can cause serious damage to your generator and debase new, added fuel.
If your generator has been idle for a long period of time between power cuts, you have two options: spend an excessive amount of time and money to drain and replenish your generator’s fuel supply or turn to an expert for reliable fuel scrubbing services.
It’s also crucial to routinely check your fuel levels. Mechanical gauges may not always be entirely accurate after fuel has been stagnant for a long period of time. A fuel tank that is depleted of fuel or overfilled with fuel can be debilitating for your generator. Routine fuel testing will alert you to low levels so you can avoid fuel-related system failure.
Fuel or Coolant Leaks
When standby generators run for extended periods of time, they run the risk of fuel or coolant draining through internal or external leaks. Leaks can also be a result of wet-stacking occurring. The formation of puddles around your standby generator unit is a sign your system is most likely suffering from a leak.
Leaks can create dangerously low coolant levels—and depleted coolant levels render your standby generator useless.
Fuel leaks typically occur when the pump system’s base tank is accidentally overfilled. Relying on an expert to replenish and scrub your fuel ensures your system won’t suffer from fuel leaks or overflow.
Routine fuel testing and load bank testing ensure your standby generator unit is leak-free and primed to perform when you need it most.
The single most common reason for commercial generator failure is neglected maintenance. Make the health of your standby generator a priority by having it regularly serviced.
Routine load bank testing and fuel testing allow you to identify potential system failures and conduct preventative maintenance. Testing is the only way to ensure that your generator will operate in an outage. Regular testing also allows maintenance to occur before critical problems with your standby generator arise.
You invested in emergency preparedness for your business when you purchased a standby generator. Don’t wait until it’s too late to service it. Stay prepared with National Standby Repair’s Annual Service Contract.
Our Annual Service Contract helps you avoid potential crises and ensure your generator will perform at its rated capacity.
Kristopher Schwind is the proud owner of National Standby Repair.