Maintenance Technology April 2016 - (Page 42)
Select & Safely
Decide what needs to be powered.
What appliances, devices, and equipment are essential? Choose a generator size
that can handle the full load of the estimated power needed. Note that it takes
more power to turn an appliance on-its surge power-than it does when in
Stand-by or portable.
Stand-by generators are permanently wired units installed by a professional
electrician. The installation should include a transfer switch that prevents feeding
electricity back into overhead lines, which can be deadly for linemen. These
generators are fueled by natural gas or propane from existing gas lines and
automatically turn on in the event of a power outage.
Portable generators are typically fueled with diesel or gasoline, which must be
regularly refilled. Unlike stand-by units, these must be turned on and off manually, and appliances must be directly plugged into the generator with a suitably
rated extension cord.
Be aware of local ordinances.
Depending on location, electrical, positioning, or noise, codes may apply to operating or installing backup generators. Local electrical contractors or generator
dealers can help with the selection of code-compliant units.
When lightning strikes, backup generators become valuable
tools. As with anything else in a plant or job site, safety should
be the top priority.
ELECTRICAL OUTAGES caused by severe storms
and disasters can be mere inconvenience or a serious
problem. Whatever the origin and extent of an
outage, backup generators offer a reliable power
source and great peace of mind. As with all things
electrical, though, the incorrect use of generators
can create potentially hazardous situations-for
end-users and electricians, as well as for utility
workers who install and maintain power-distribution
The Energy Education Council's "Safe Electricity
Program" recently outlined crucial considerations in
selecting and safely operating the right generator for
an application. Keep this advice in mind at work and
Once a generator is installed and ready to run, heed these guidelines to ensure
■ Thoroughly read and follow all manufacturer instructions to properly ground
the generator before turning it on.
■ Do not connect portable generators directly to an electrical system. Doing
so could re-energize overhead power lines and endanger the lives of utility
linemen working to restore power.
■ There should be nothing plugged into a portable generator before starting it to
prevent a surge from damaging the appliance.
■ When running a portable generator, always use properly rated extension cords
(length and load) when connecting appliances.
■ Always operate portable generators in a well-ventilated space to avoid
carbon monoxide poisoning and other harmful fumes. Never operate a
■ Generators can pose an electrical risk when operated in wet conditions. Make
sure the generator stays dry during its operation, and never touch electrical
equipment with wet hands.
■ Exercise caution around portable generators, which have exposed engine parts
that could burn or injure individuals. Keep children and animals away from
■ Exercise care when refueling portable generators to prevent potential fires
■ Properly shut down portable generators by turning off and unplugging all
appliances and equipment they are powering.
■ Remember to perform regular maintenance before and after each use. For
portable generators, inspect oil and fuel filters, oil level, spark plugs, and fuel
quality. Stand-by generators require less maintenance, but should still be
inspected before and after power outages. MT
For more information about choosing and safely operating a backup generator, visit SafeElectricity.org.
The Energy Education Council, Urbana-Champaign, IL, is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical
safety and energy efficiency. Established in 1952, and headquartered within Univ. of Illinois Extension, the Council serves as a
forum for diverse utility and energy organizations to collaborate on the mutually vital issues of efficiency and safety. Learn more
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology April 2016
On The Floor
Culture Changed At This Indiana Refinery
She Ignores The Glass Ceiling
Loadability Studies Aid PRC-025-1 Compliance
Look System-Wide For Cost Savings
Reliable Pumping Supplement
Fund Lubrication Program With Energy Savings
Infrared Safety Tips
Internet Of Things
Motor-Testing Tools Expand Services
Maintenance Technology April 2016