What Will My Generator Power?

When an outage strikes and your generator kicks in, what will it power?

We asked Carlos Navas, Project Manager for generator installations at CD & Power, to help us answer this question. “In short, a generator can be configured to power whatever you want it to power,” Carlos explained. Having also served as an Account Manager, working with dozens of customers around the Bay Area, he was able to relay more of the possibilities you should consider. For one, powering everything may be cost prohibitive, and likely unnecessary. Thinking now about the generator support you will need in the event of a power loss, will optimize your disaster-preparedness plan.

The size of your facility and the nature of your business generally dictate your generator requirements.

If you are running a real estate office, a basic, system generator may be all you need to back up your computers and lighting. If you are running a hospital you need heavy duty, diesel generator power to keep service on line for everything from operating rooms to the cafeteria.

When the lights go out, compliance with safety regulations stays in effect.

In calculating what your generator will have to power, pay attention to the safety-related requirements that apply to your facility, like fire alarms and exit lighting (which may be accomplished with battery backup instead of a generator). Are there additional requirements such as: egress lighting, gas alarm, public address systems, floor power for critical areas, critical ventilation, and essential mechanical and medical equipment? What you need is described in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code. Note that testing requirements may also be more stringent for municipal operations involved in life safety, like fire departments, police facilities or schools.

Consider what you need to keep the business running during a power failure.

Beyond regulations, a power outage can do harmful and expensive damage to essential systems in your business or operation. For example, cooling or heating may be essential to keep product from spoiling. For many organizations, important computer systems may need to be backed up as well.

One also has to consider that a generator cannot be configured to back up a smattering of equipment spread throughout a facility (powered through different electrical panels). So if a facility is determined to have essential equipment in varied locations, the cost of re-routing those select circuits into a common panel (that can in turn be backed up by a generator) may be large; if so, it may actually be cost-effective to back up your entire facility vs. tackle all the additional rewiring.

Ask yourself a critical question. How old is your generator? Are you confident it can manage the burden growth has added since your current generator was installed?

Now is the time to think about your disaster-preparedness plan.

When the iceberg is just off your starboard bow is not the time to think about an abandon-ship plan. What you expect from your generator should be a fundamental component of a disaster-preparedness plan. https://www.gotpower.com/reasons-emergency-preparedness/

We can help you figure it out.

Anything or everything can be backed up, but the right answer is likely different for each organization. At CD & Power we have a wealth of knowledge and experience to power your planning. Call us today at (866) 468-7697 to let us assist you with your generator planning and requirements.

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