PacB Group // Exploring the Power of Generators for Reliable Electrical Supply


Exploring the Power of Generators for Reliable Electrical Supply

Generators, also referred to as gensets, serve two primary functions. Firstly, they provide electrical power in areas lacking a grid connection. Generators used in this type of application are known as prime power generators. Prime power gensets are engineered for continuous operation and load variability, requiring greater durability and larger fuel tanks compared to standby units. Secondly, generators function as backup units in places connected to the grid, ensuring uninterrupted power supply during grid failures. Backup gensets are crucial for facilities where continuous electricity is essential, such as hospitals, communication hubs, server farms, fire stations, and data centers. In countries like South Africa, backup gensets have become vital due to unreliable grid and scheduled outages.

Generators Can be Configured for Any Possible Application

Generators offer unparalleled versatility as sources of electrical power. Typically, a genset comprises an engine and, in units designed to produce AC power, an alternator. The alternator generates electrical power when its rotor is turned by a mechanical power source, which can include turbines, internal combustion engines, the kinetic energy stored in water (hydro schemes), and steam, among others.

Generators come in a vast array of sizes, from the immense installations at coal, nuclear-power, and hydro-electric plants, to small petrol-powered units for residential use. The adaptability of generators allows them to be made easily portable. This characteristic makes gensets rapidly deployable where the provision of electrical power becomes a matter of urgency.

Buying a Generator to Power Your Home

Using a generator to power your home during power outages or scheduled power cuts (load-shedding) will provide electricity for your essential appliances and electrical devices. As a homeowner, one of the less costly options for powering your home during technical grid failures and load-shedding (if your home is in South Africa), is by using a petrol- or diesel-powered generator. As with any generator purchase, you need to buy the correct unit for your specific environment.

Calculate your power requirement by totaling up the power required by the essential appliances and lights you need to power. An easy method of doing this is to count the number and rated power use of all the items you wish to power during outages. Rated power usage will be found on a label on the back of most appliances and will be marked as X number of watts. If you can’t find a label, an internet search will usually provide an answer. Another, more accurate way to determine your load is to use an energy-monitoring device, which will provide a load profile and other useful data about your electricity usage.

You will then need to choose between several other options. Do you want a portable or standby generator? Portable gensets are more affordable and can be moved around. Standby generators are more permanent fixtures that are more powerful and may have more sophisticated functions, such as the ability to automatically turn on during outages and off when grid power is restored. You will also need to choose between a petrol- or diesel-powered unit. Petrol-powered machines are usually cheaper and come in smaller sizes than diesel machines do. Diesel-powered units may be more costly upfront, but their running costs are lower.

Using Generators to Power Your Home

Safety should be your primary concern. Read the manual provided with the generator carefully and familiarise yourself with the generator’s operation and safety instructions. Place the generator outdoors in a well-ventilated area, away from doors, windows, and vents. Do not operate it inside your home, garage, or basement. Earth (ground) the generator properly to prevent electrical shock. Fuel for generators must be stored in approved containers in a safe location away from the generator.

Have a transfer or change-over switch with the correct coupling point installed. A transfer switch isolates your home from the grid during power outages, preventing back-feeding of electricity to the grid from your generator and protecting utility workers. Use heavy-duty extension cords when connecting appliances directly to the generator. Do not overload the generator by plugging too many devices into one outlet.

Before starting the unit, check oil and fuel levels. Running your generator without oil for even a short time will severely damage the engine, and this will not be covered by any warranty.

Turn off appliances and lights before starting the generator to prevent the generator from being overloaded on start-up. Start the generator following the manufacturer’s instructions in the manual and let it run and stabilise for a few minutes. Carefully connect essential appliances one by one, starting with the most crucial ones. Be mindful of the generator’s capacity. Avoid running high-wattage appliances simultaneously. If your generator has limited capacity, prioritise essential devices and don’t run too many at the same time. When power is restored, shut the generator down properly. Turn off appliances before shutting down the generator. Let the generator run without load for a few minutes to cool down and then follow instructions in the manual to turn off the generator.

Keeping a Generator Running Reliably

Generators need to be serviced at regular intervals, which the manufacturer will indicate. This is often tied to how many hours the unit has run since the last service. Both diesel and petrol have a “shelf life”, after which they are no longer suitable for use. Diesel lasts longer than petrol. Keep fuel fresh by using fuel stabilisers and running the generator periodically. Use the fuel in other devices if it is approaching the end of its shelf life. Check the generator, fuel levels, and oil regularly. Perform maintenance as per the manual’s guidelines. Store the generator properly, protecting it from the elements.

By following these steps and prioritising safety and proper usage, generators can be used effectively to power homes during power outages. Seriously consider seeking professional help if you are unsure about any aspect of generator usage.

Rather Leave it to the Professionals

Regardless of the application, it is always best to engage with specialists for generators. Choose the right company that really knows and understands generators. At PacB, we have an enviable reputation in the South African generator industry as a manufacturer of superior-quality diesel generators. Engaging with us will ensure the best outcome with regards to the cost, reliability, and durability of the solution we suggest.

Electricity is dangerous, so even residential-size generators are subject to specific electrical regulations. This makes their installation a process best performed by specialists. We provide a one-stop experience, including design and implementation of the complete system. Our experience and expertise allow us to help customers make fully informed decisions on the type of generator best suited to their specific environment. Leave questions like voltage and frequency, peak demand, and total power required to the experts. We also provide rental gensets for those who don’t want to purchase a generator.

Contact us today and get superior products with the best advice and service in the industry.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

© All content copyright PacB Power Solutions
close slider