Here’s what our resident Generator Dr. offers this month regarding generator safety during Hurricane Season:
Fuel Quality: We sell primarily diesel generators and they can sit around for years. Fuel quality is important. In the winter it gets cooler and the day gets hotter so you can get moisture that builds up in these tanks, and that causes algae growth. There are treatments you can add to the tank that will eat the algae so you don’t have to clean it. The fuel doesn’t go bad it just gets dirty.
Sometimes people will get water in their tank. Also, check that there is no leak, causing there to be water in the tank. You may want a fuel company to come out and separate the fuel and then pump it back in the tank to polish the fuel and clean it.
Regular Starting: Unlike a car where most people start and drive their cars frequently, you start generators once a month. Even if you used it last year and it started up fine, it doesn’t mean the battery is still in good condition. A maintenance person can test the quality of the battery and make sure it’s up to standards. When you need the generator is the wrong time to test it.
Changing Your Filters: When you operate a generator you do so at a certain increment per hours. A standby unit you do it annually. The cartridges are made out of paper. After bout a year, fuel and oil filters start to degrade so it’s important to service and change out everything.
Do An Operation Test: Just because your car starts doesn’t mean it’s going to perform well. The same thing goes for a generator. You must put the building load on it to see how it’s really operating. At least once a month transfer the load from the building onto the generator, which is the only way to know the unit is operational.
Fuel Sourcing: If the power is out for a long period of time, where will you get your fuel from? When Hurricane Wilma came through South Florida nearly every fuel stations was shut down for five days. Fuel wasn’t readily available. Generally you want to have about a week’s worth of fuel on hand. Size the tanks accordingly and find out how much fuel you need to run the business for five days. When you buy something with a 300 or 400-gallon tank, get an account with the local fuel company, and whenever you need a refill you have an account from them for access.
For Installation: It’s important to do the start-up the right way. Don’t take chances. Triton power offers a start up service and it’s important that companies take advantage of this because the last thing you want is to install it and then fail to commission the unit correctly. You want your brand new generator to be ready to go if and when a storm hits. Ensure the person is knowledgeable for the start-up phase, not just the installation phase.