Emergency power systems are out of sight and out of mind until a power outage hits, when they suddenly mean the difference between business as usual and calling it quits for a day, or ever longer. Yet, even when emergency equipment receives infrequent use, it still requires regular servicing in the form of a scheduled maintenance on emergency power system plan, which ideally consists of six critical focuses: generator environment, fuel checks, transfer switches, infrared testing, retrofits, and load bank testing.
1. Generator Environment
Keeping a generatorâ€™s environment clean and moisture freeâ€”especially the latterâ€”is key to keeping its sensitive parts in working order over the long-term. High humidity and other moisture sources can cause oxidization, and dust can find its way into electrical housings. Keeping a generatorâ€™s environment clean and free of moisture is a simple task, but one that could leave a building in the dark if left unperformed.
2. Fuel Checks
Generators require two types of fuel checks: checks for fuel level and checks for the age of fuel. Most facilities vigilantly check their generatorâ€™s fuel level, but monitoring the age of its fuel is often overlooked. As with other Diesel powered machines, generatorsâ€™ fuel should receive a special additive to prevent its breakdown over time, and must eventually be changed if unused for a certain period of time.
3. Power Transfer Switch
Transfer switches are responsible for switching a facility from commercial supply to generator supply in the event of outages, making them perhaps the most crucial piece of emergency electrical equipment. In addition to being checked for corrosion, oxidization, and worn or loose parts, transfer switches should also be tested by simulating outage conditions in order to gauge their readiness for real outages.
4. Infrared Testing
Infrared testing measures the quality of the thermal patterns released by a piece of equipment, sensing â€œhot spotsâ€ that indicate the beginning of problems that could eventually cause safety issues and ruined equipment. Infrared testing is the top preventative maintenance measure for electrical devices, and one the most economical measures as well, both in terms of price and the expensive replacements it prevents.
Although technically not part of a scheduled maintenance on emergency power system plan, retrofitting is still a crucial maintenance measure. Too often, facilities replace aging electrical equipment instead of retrofitting it with new parts and modernization upgrades, a move that could add years to aging equipmentsâ€™ useful lifespan.
6. Load Bank Testing
For maintenance purposes, a load bank is a device that creates an energy load and delivers it to another device to exercise it, as is the case with testing generator voltage, or to test it, as is the case with testing circuit breakers, fuse boxes, and voltage sensitive switch devices. Because load bank testing is usually required infrequently, most facilities rent a load bank from a provider of industrial energy solutions.