Generator 101: Key Signs & Consequences You Should Know

The importance of a generator can never be emphasised enough. Generators, particularly standby generators are integral in a business continuity plan.

When there’s a black, brownout, bad weather or any other unprecedented incident which causes your power to go out – generators step in to restore power whenever the regular power grid is interrupted. That being said, it’s always crucial to regularly do electric generator servicing to ensure your generator is always up and running at all times.

So, when a generator overload occurs – it can put your business at risk; whether it’s money-wise or operational-wise. You need to be able to spot the signs of a generator overload and immediately have it checked and serviced immediately.

Below, we have compiled a couple of pointers to take note of when it comes to a generator overload.

Signs of generator overload

A drop in power output

When you notice a reduction of power output in your generator – it’s a clear sign of a generator overload. This happens when the generator only requires a little amount of an output of power – but the generator ends up using more power than necessary.

As a result, the work done by the generator is cut in half due to the overload and leads to poor performance.

Starts to overheat

Hear any loud noises? Starting to feel the heat from the equipment even more than usual? Or are the fans running extra excessively because it’s trying to cool itself?

All these are indications of a generator overload. One possible reason why overheating occurs is due to the lack of protection from a circuit breaker.

A generator overload may even cause intermittent power to rise which will cause damage to any other equipment which are directly connected to your generator.

Soot becoming apparent in the exhaust

Last but not least, it’s when soot starts to appear in the exhaust of your generator. Generally, it is completely normal to have dark exhaust due to the existence of carbon particles – but leftover soot, on the other hand, is not.

Potential reasons for the appearance of soot include poor filtering, a clog, among many other factors. But at the end of it – it’s due to the fact that there’s a defect in the generator.

The consequences

Although you are able to spot the signs of an overloaded generator – sometimes, the consequences still remain inevitable. In that case, you may need to consider doing generator rewinding to get your equipment back to its original condition. But before that – here’s what to know before the situation negatively impacts your business in a way that cannot be salvaged:

  • Lead to a fire or even an explosion: A long period of overheating can cause the equipment to catch fire. If there’s a gas tank nearby or you spot a spark – then an explosion may occur and it’s time to get your generator checked before it happens.
  • Cause damage to other equipment: As said before – if your generator is malfunctioning; so will the other machinery receiving power from it.
  • Reduces the lifespan of your generator: When the generator operates above capacity or starts to turn hot – it’ll burn out your alternator and other generator parts, and this means it’ll shorten the life of your equipment.

When all is said and done, what really matters is the measurement of your starting and running watts when you intend to operate your generator. With an estimated number of needed watts – just adding another twenty or thirty percent will suffice.

However, remember that doing generator overhauling will benefit your equipment and your business greatly. You will discover if there’s a fault in your equipment which needs servicing or determine whether it’s time for a replacement.

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