Backup Power Supplies: A Look into System Classification Standards

Backup power can save the lives of your building occupants or keep your business going when the electric company falls short. An emergency system supplies needed electricity in the event of a downed line, sub-station malfunction, extreme weather, or entire grid failures. A generator most likely operates on diesel unless it is powering a small building.

Natural gas versions are sometimes installed as backup power supplies for smaller locations. Gas turbines are an alternative to the traditional large building setup. Your generator contains a transfer switch that serves as the power connection. Connections on one side are made to both the normal and emergency feeds while another set of connections are a direct line to the load source. When main power is not detected, the transfer switch is thrown, changing the feed to the emergency source. The generator starter system turns on the secondary source, causing the average delay of supplied electricity to be between ten and sixty seconds.

Emergency lighting, alarm systems, sprinklers, smoke dampers, elevators, and handicap outlets are all examples of equipment requiring electricity during emergency situations. Your building has to have a backup source in place to ensure occupants are safe and maintain critical operations.

NFPA 110: How Are Generators Categorized Under These Guidelines?

NFPA 110 standards are used to define the type of generator needed for your building and the delay time specifications for the actual system switch. National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) regulations separate generators by class, type, and level.

Class is determined by the amount of operation time a system can provide before it must be refilled with fuel. In most cases this distinction is represented by the word “Class” and a number. Fuel tank size and type determine the class of generator being used by your building.  Type is defined by the length of time your building will experience actual power loss. A Type 60, for example, takes approximately sixty seconds to be in full operation.  Those with a “U” supply uninterrupted power for items such as computers. Systems may also be manual, meaning an operator has to make a change for the generator to supply power.

NFPA 110 levels apply to how the backup source will actually be used. A level one is necessary to ensure human safety while those designated as level two consist of all other building uses.

Placement, installation, and maintenance of your system are based on the set NFPA standards. Technicians follow their guidelines to ensure proper operation as well as their own safety. A generator uses many components to actually send the needed current through electrical circuits. If it is not cared for or set up properly, parts will fail faster, have performance issues, or pose safety risks.

You should always have a professional install these systems, and have a good preventative plan set up for maintaining each of your backup power supplies once they are installed. Prime Power has many years of experience with both NFPA standards and various types of generators. Call one of our professionals today to obtain the service you need for a more dependable backup system.

Tags: ,

Post Author

This post was written by who has written 133 posts on Prime Power Services Blog.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply