The Analyses to Perform to Keep your Generator Running

The last thing you want to happen is to lose power and then find out your backup generator isn’t properly working. It is imperative, then, to take care of your equipment so that it does not fail when you need it most.

While there are a variety of reasons that a generator may fail, the most common issue that we see is battery failure. This can happen when lead sulfates accumulate on the plates of lead-acid batteries. Batteries may also fail when electrolyte levels are low, if sedimentary trays are filled up with debris, and if the charger breaker is open or tripped.[1]

Other reasons that a generator may fail include low-coolant levels, oil/fuel or coolant leaks, or failures in the fuel system. Because so many people rely on back-up power such as generators, it is critical to have an annual oil or coolant analysis done during service. Analyzing the oil, fuel, and coolant will ensure that everything is running smoothly and safely. A spectrochemical analysis can be performed to get a specific analysis of oil, diesel fuel, and basic coolant.

Oil analysis

Photo courtesy of Analysts, Inc.

For companies that are involved in healthcare, data, and pharmaceuticals, they should be getting their generator fluids analyzed and serviced during their preventative maintenance services, so that they run smoothly in poor weather and during power failures. The NFPA-110suggests having an annual fuel analysis performed, while oil and coolant analyses are optional but recommended in critical applications.

If a generator is taken care of, it is sure to last and perform when you need it. Make sure to have your generator serviced and taken care of each and every year so that yours doesn’t fail when you need it most.



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Summer Storms and Generator Maintenance

Summer has begun, which means that, for many regions, so has hurricane and tornado season. The National Weather Service predicts that there will be 11 named storms and two major hurricanes this year.[1] That’s why it’s so important to take a few important steps to make sure that your generators are in working order. After all, the worst time to find out that your emergency generator isn’t working is during a power failure.

First of all, you really need to make sure that your generator is properly maintained. When we examine a generator, we check every component to see if it’s been broken or suffered from wear and tear associated with normal use. We check every electrical and mechanical component, from the ATS and voltage regulator to the fluid levels and drive belts. We then adjust or fix things wherever we find any deficiency. Of course, we also look for issues like fuel and oil leaks. Then we do a test run of the entire system to check for more defects and make sure that there’s nothing that we missed.

Preventative maintenance is important, but you also have to make sure that you have enough onsite fuel for your generator, whether its diesel, or LP. In some cases you may need that generator to keep your power on for days or weeks. No amount of maintenance and care will keep your generator running for all that time if you don’t have enough fuel to power it.

Proper generator maintenance and preparation are integral when you’re facing a big storm. So follow these tips and make sure you don’t get left in the dark if a tornado or hurricane hits your area.


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The Importance of Proper Battery Maintenance

Sometimes it’s the smallest components or the ones that you take for granted that can be the most important pieces in the entire complex machine. This is especially true for generators. It may surprise you to learn that when a generator fails, it’s nearly always because of the use of faulty batteries or battery chargers. These battery chargers are integral to the overall maintenance and successful use of the generator.Battery charger

The batteries used in generators are either 12 volt or 24 volt to match the starting system, but the amperage can vary more widely. Depending on how large the generator set is, the batteries will range from 3 to 20 amps. As important as the batteries used are the battery chargers. We use SENS battery charger, which can detect battery problems and trigger an alarm when something has gone wrong.

Proper maintenance and monitoring of the batteries and battery charger are so important because power failures can cost a company additional costs. For many businesses, downtime of just one hour could cost tens of thousands of dollars. According to the SENS whitepaper, a data center could lose $1 million thanks to a single power outage, for example. At a business like a semiconductor manufacturing facility, an outage that lasts a mere 15 minutes could cost a company $30 million. Not only that, but emergency generators are frequently used for healthcare applications where a prolonged power outage not only costs money, but could also endanger patient safety.

This is why a well maintained starting system is so essential. If you don’t take the time to properly maintain and monitor your batteries and battery chargers, a generator failure could really hurt your bottom line.

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The EGSA Spring Convention: Where Business Meets The Newest Tech

We recently had the pleasure of attending the EGSA Spring Convention in Savannah, Georgia. The Electrical Generating Systems Association holds these conferences twice a year, bringing together some of the biggest manufacturers, dealers, distributors, and vendors in the field. This year’s roughly 350 attendees know that this is the place to be if you want to learn about the newest technology and how it could affect your business. It’s also an ideal place to take advantage of huge networking opportunities.EGSA Spring Convention

The keynote speaker this year was Patrick Meyer, the CEO Futurist and Business 3.0 expert. In his speech, entitled “Powering Up Your Game,” he spoke about how technology can help your business. As we move into a digital world where new mobile and social technology trends change the landscape, your business needs to keep up. He talked about shifting the way you run your business to fully take advantage of current technology and future advances. We also heard speeches from Troy Huey, who gave attendees an in-depth look at one of the hottest topics in the energy sector, hydraulic fracturing, and Chris Nagle, who spoke about the unique challenges of entrepreneurship and six key facets of successful businesses.

EGSA Spring ConventionSeeing guest speakers isn’t the only thing to do at the EGSA Spring Convention though. There are also nine committee meetings that cover a huge range of topics, from education and market trends to international trade and green initiatives. Most of these meetings saw record attendance numbers this year. The spring convention is also provides a great avenue for promoting your business by becoming a sponsor. This year we opted for a banner ad on the website.

We had a great time at the EGSA Spring Convention, and we already can’t wait to attend this fall’s slate of meetings and guest speakers.

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Sound Attenuation Enclosures and You

While we sell and service emergency power solutions for a wide range of institutions and events, there is one very important thing that could slip the mind of the average generator renter or buyer. We’re talking about local sound ordinances. Depending on where you are, there could be large differences in what noise levels a township or municipality is willing to accept. There are even differences in what decibel levels are allowed during the daytime or the nighttime. This is where sound attenuation enclosures come in.

Sound Attenuation Enclosures When you use a generator, you just want it to work, you don’t necessarily want to hear it as it plugs away and does the job it’s meant to do. Building costs have risen, so that means less building space is being dedicated to housing equipment generators. This is leading to a rise in the popularity of outdoor sound attenuated enclosures. There are two kinds of these enclosures: the first is known as a skin tight enclosure and the second is called a walk in enclosure.

Skin tight enclosures have an advantage in situations where you would want your enclosure to take up less space. Most of the time these are much smaller than the walk in enclosures and they have a smaller footprint. The drawback is that, in many cases, they are not quite as quiet as the walk in enclosures and they don’t leave much room to work in. The walk in enclosures, being more spacious, are generally easier to maintain and can have features like lights and distribution panels. A benefit that both enclosure types share is that they can be painted to match the aesthetics of nearly any kind of building or property. It’s also important to note that these enclosures can be constructed from a wide range of materials, including coated steel and mill-prepainted aluminum, and all of these materials come with their own advantages and disadvantages. This is why, in addition to local noise ordinances, geographical factors and visibility of the facility also play a big part in how you choose to buy an enclosure.Sound Attenuation Enclosures

So remember, local noise ordinances are an important thing to keep in mind when using generators and emergency power solutions. Your generator is doing the heavy lifting, and sound attenuation enclosures can make sure it’s neither seen nor heard.

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The Importance of Backup Power

This winter has been one of the coldest and snowiest in decades. That’s meant icy, dangerous roads, missed days of school and work, and for countless people in Pennsylvania, a devastating loss of power.

An ice storm in the area caused Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO), the power utility that serves 1.6 million people over 21,000 square-miles and six counties, to lose power—power that so many homes and businesses rely on. In fact, 700,000 homes and businesses were left without power, and a week later, over 8,000 still did not have their power back.

It was a record power outage for the area. More people lost power during this storm than the same area saw during Hurricane Sandy—and as opposed to Sandy, it’s much colder and harsher now. So how could something like this happen? While Mother Nature is unpredictable and out of our control, what we do know is that the power lines are above ground and the power grid is very old, making it very susceptible to damage. The utility company was so overwhelmed that they had to call in crews from other states and Canada to help repair the lines.

Thankfully, we were able to respond and help many people. Every single one of our rental generators was rented, and we had our technicians working round the clock, helping to bring backup power to those who needed it. We had a waiting list for our rental generators and were swamped with service calls, giving priority to health care facilities and sending a 1,000 kW unit to Villanova University. We were working hard to meet everyone’s needs.

We are still busy as a result of this outage, and we know that winter isn’t over yet—more ice and snow could surely come. Eventually we will experience a demand for the purchase of generators, so people can have them on hand. But the real lesson to be learned here is awareness and preparedness. If such a large utility company can be affected, people need to realize that we are all susceptible to power loss, and everyone needs to be prepared.

Having backup power can make all the difference. This means generators in homes and businesses. 700,000 people were left in the dark—literally and figuratively—and they want to know what’s being done to prevent this from happening again. We hope everyone will take note, and help prevent these people from going through this again and again.

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The Importance of Generator Fuel Polishing

Emergency generators are perhaps the single best way to be prepared for any situation. Should something happen to cause you to lose power, your peace of mind comes from knowing you have a generator as back up. But what many people aren’t aware of is that there’s one main thing that can affect the performance of your generator and can keep it from providing that assurance when you need it most.

This comes from contaminated fuel in the generator engine. Fuel studies have shown that diesel fuel begins to deteriorate and form solids within 60-90 days after refining. Sludge, algae, and other solids contaminate the fuel, and this can ruin a diesel engine. As time goes on and the changes occur, the naturally accumulating particulates increase in size and mass, filling the filtration equipment, tanks, and other fuel system components. This sludge or algae is actually the most common cause of clogged filters, excessive exhaust smoke, and damaged fuel injectors.

What’s more, in humid environments, water will condensate inside open spaces in the fuel tank. Therefore, tanks should be maintained at full levels.

So what can be done to avoid this? Fuel reconditioning (also known as fuel polishing) systems use multi-stage filtration that enables proper sludge and water removal. Fuel additives are used that work in conjunction with the filters and separators to ensure the fuel is particulate-free. As a result, fuel tanks are clean, combustion is improved, carbon deposits are eliminated, and there is a reduction in harmful emissions. Lower fuel consumption is another advantage of filtration.

As experts in emergency power solutions, we not only provide sales and rentals of these systems, but we know everything there is to know about maintaining them and keeping them free from contamination. We know how to ensure fuel polishing keeps the generator from shutting down and losing power. We can provide this for our customers, either as part of a maintenance contract, or as a separate service.

We know you need your emergency power to work at all times, and we know how to make this possible.

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Emergency Power for When the Lights Go Out

If there’s one thing we learned well last year, it’s that emergency backup power has become a highly critical need. In fact, according to the Eaton Blackout Tracker, there were 2,982 separate power outages reported last year in the U.S. Since the tracker was launched back in 2008, this has been the most number of outages reported.

Due to an increase in inclement weather recently, more outages have been occurring across the country. As a result, dependency on backup power has increased, especially in critical applications such as health care, 911 emergency centers, data centers, security, and manufacturing. A question asked in this article makes the point—“What happens if the utility power goes out?” For many facility managers, that has become an important and necessary issue to deal with. Here’s where emergency backup power comes in. Having backup power generators allows businesses to remain content in knowing they can always keep their business going, no matter what the current power grid looks like.

As leaders in emergency power, we have certainly seen the increased reliance on backup power. Not only did we have record sales in generators last year, but we have also seen firsthand the need for businesses and facilities to become more power self-reliant. With unreliable weather and utilities, people have become less confident and more apt to invest in the right backup power plan for them. As emergency power has become more important, all facets of our business have become stronger and we expect that to continue into this new year.

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Emergency Systems Goes To POWER-GEN 2013

Emergency Systems was thrilled and honored to attend this year’s POWER-GEN 2013. Held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, November 12-14, POWER-GEN is the world’s largest power generation conference. This year’s session included 21,000 from the on-site power industry from over 75 different countries. As always, Emergency Systems was proud to be one of those attendees viewing new equipment and technologies, including the latest in:

  • Standby Generators
  • Fuel Systems
  • Enclosures
  • Engine Controls
  • Vibration Isolators
  • Automatic Transfer Switches

We especially found the focus on new Tier 4 emissions rated engines for diesel generators sets along with the new automatic transfer-switch communication systems most fascinating.

Emergency Systems' BoothOf course, POWER-GEN was more than just checking out the latest equipment; it also featured 200 different speakers and 50 educational sessions. All of the hottest industry topics were covered, including the microgrid, geothermal, biomass, and solar energy, and even a discussion on the preparation for the drop in Investment Tax Credits. All of these great activities were topped off by the always popular EGSA Power Party, which boasted record attendance.

If you couldn’t join us this year, don’t worry; next year’s POWER-GEN will bigger, better, and more informative! So plan ahead and we’ll see you there!



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Our Power-ful Experience at EGSA

It’s always exciting for us here at Emergency Systems Service Company to be able to participate in industry-wide events throughout the year. It enables us to connect with our colleagues and peers in the industry and see which new technologies are being adapted. This past September, we attended the EGSA (Electrical Generating Systems Association) Fall Technical and Marketing Conference, which was held in Bellevue, WA.

Not only was it an outstanding networking opportunity, as there were over 350 attendees from the on-site power industry, but it was also a chance for us to attend informative presentations and a panel featuring five of our industry’s biggest thought leaders.

This panel of senior executives from some of the industry’s largest generator set manufacturers included Larry Bryce (President, Kohler Power Systems), Aaron Jagdfeld (President/CEO, Generac Power Systems), Gary Johansen (Executive Director, Worldwide Engineering, Cummins Power Generation), Bob Koval (Electric Power General Manager Investor Projects, Caterpillar, Inc.), and Matthias Vogel (Vice President, Global Sales, MTU Onsite Energy). Mike Osenga, the president of Diesel & Gas Turbine Publications, was the moderator for this event.

Each panelist first gave a presentation, and then they all answered questions. As all attendees from the on-site power generation market were allowed to send in questions, it was interesting for us to hear what was said, especially coming from leaders of these great industry organizations. Some specific topics that were discussed included the future of gaseous fuel in power generation, rising emissions costs, and how EGSA fits into these current events.

While Bob Hafich and Joe Hafich, the owners of the Emergency Systems Service Company, have been members of the EGSA Board of Directors, this event and these networking opportunities give us a chance to reach other leaders in our industry, making us a stronger company ourselves. We can’t wait to see what next year’s event will bring!

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