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Buy a Generator

Hey, thank you for that decision to buy a generator. It has become an integral part of life and living to have a generator. Or maybe you had one before and thinking it’s time to get a bigger standby diesel generator, whatever the reason for your generator purchase, it’s an important decision and many factors go into this purchase beyond the obvious questions of brand preference and price. The number of choices that awaits you as a buyer can make it a complicated process if your expectations are unknown.

Here are ten questions to consider when you’re in the market for an alternative system for your home, business, or facilities that may help simplify this purchasing process.

1.    What are your power requirements?

The first thing to consider in making your buy decision should not just be the brand but the power requirement of your home, office, factory or facility. When considering or trying to determineyour power need the following question should be considered. In the event of a power outage, should the generator run the entire building or just a part of it?  If it is for the entire building, what is the peak demand? If it is for emergency, it is advisable to have emergency backup for critical equipment like in a health care facility. It is always advisable to engage an expert to help calculate your minimum and maximum electricity need to determine your power requirement

2.    Which fuel type? 

The most common fuel types for generators are diesel, natural gas, and propane.  Though, petrol may seem convenient and handy but it’s typically viewed as a poor fuel choice for generators due to its relatively short life ofstability. Diesel engines generators have quite a few advantages over petrol poweredones. And with the advancing technology there are smaller diesel engines that can cater for most home or office needs.
Choosing between a diesel or natural gas generator require a bit of calculation since the cost difference can vary depending on the size of the generator.  The availability of the fuel source is another important factor.  Diesel provides an on-site fuel source it is easier to get diesel supplied to your facility. But gas (propane) is a little bit more complex if you are not located around major industrial areas where there are gas pipelines. Compressed gas offers an alternative but may require a re-fill tank. In addition, the type of facility can sometimes dictate if an on-site fuel source is required.

3.    Who will install the equipment? 

Most well-known generator brands have some form of certification or the other for their electricians. That is why it is always advisable to buy from authorized dealers to ensure proper installation.
I once read a story of how a generator got inflamed and burnt down an entire facility due to defective installation. So the obvious answer will always be a licensed or certified electrician. Sometimes the services of a plumber may be required.  The key is to choose a reputable companywhere to buy with a history of installing standby generator systems.   If you are in doubt, one of our representatives would be happy to help out.

4.    Where will the generator be located? 

The location of your generator is also a consideration.  The space available indoor or outdoor may determine the size as in length, with and height of your generator. Accessibility for purpose of maintenance and repair is important. For indoor installations, adequate space for fuel supply, ventilation, exhaust ducting, and proximity to combustible materials are critical considerations.  Typically the generator should be located as close as possible to the transfer switch and fuel supply.

5.    If outdoors, which enclosure type?

A follow-up question is the enclosure type especially if it is going to be outdoor installation.  Many residential or light commercial generators usually come standard with a sound attenuated enclosure while industrial grade generators may offer several enclosure types ranging from a standard weather enclosure to a custom package to meet specific industrial requirements.

6.    What is the voltage requirement?  

Being sure of your voltage requirement is equally important. Although single-phase power is more prevalent today, three-phase is still chosen as the power of choice for many type of application. Generators at power stations supply three-phased electricity. Common voltages for Nigeria are:  230/240 volts single phase, 230/415 volts three phase, If you are unsure, our licensed electrician can provide this information.

7.    Which type of transfer switch? 

Transfer switches for emergency standby systems are usually the automatically controlled type.  Manual transfer switches can be supplied for certain systems if preferred, although this lack of automation usually doesn’t come with much of a cost savings.  The size of the transfer switch (amperage rating) and installation location should be determined by your electrician and may depend on the earlier question of “entire building or just emergency loads?”    If the system is sized to carry the whole building, the transfer switch may need to be service entrance rated which incorporates a utility disconnect within the transfer switch cabinet.  For commercial/industrial applications, several other transfer switch features are available such as bypass isolation, closed transition, and programmed transition.

8.    Any specific accessory requirements? 

Accessory options will vary depending on the generator type.  Residential or light commercial systems typically offer an optional remote annunciator panel which provides generator status and can be located in a preferred area indoors. 

9.    Warranty duration? 

The standard warranty for generator systems typically ranges from one year to five years depending on the generator type.  Where a residential generator may come standard with a warranty ranging from two to five years, an industrial generator may come standard with a one or two year warranty and offer optional upgrades.  It’s a good idea to understand the warranty duration and coverage of your standby system, and ask for upgrade costs if you prefer an increased coverage.

10.    Who will maintain the equipment? 

Just like your vehicle, your generator needs to be properly maintained to help ensure the equipment will start and run as expected during your next power outage.  Unlike your vehicle, generators tend to be neglected for extended periods except in situations of constant power outages. To avoid equipment failure during at critical times ensure you sign up for regular maintenance with a reputable organization.

The above are some of the things to consider as you shop for your generator. You would notice that we didn’t mention your budget. This is deliberate because the need for the generator will ultimately drive the budgetary allocation.

If you have any question or query about any generator, feel free to comment below. 

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