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Can a standby generator run continuously?

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Does your building have a standby generator? And are you wondering if you can use it to power your building for longer periods, instead of just emergencies?

In most cases running a standby generator continuously would cause no problems, but we wouldn’t recommend it unless it was absolutely necessary.

Usually we receive this request when our customers need to do planned switchgear maintenance or construction works. Sometimes customers have received notification of outages from their network provider.

Other reasons have been the increasing fuel prices too. There have been cases where it is cheaper to use your generator than take power from the grid!

Learn more about our standby generator sales at Solent Power.

Do you need to reconfigure your generator installation?

The benefit of having a standby generator is that you will already have an ATS (auto transfer switch) or a manual changeover switch facility. This changes from mains to generator, therefore no additional installation work will need to be done to power your facility from the generator.

However a few considerations to be made before choosing to run your standby generator for longer periods or continuously:

  • Ensure that your standby generator is rated for your building load for continuous operation. Standby generators are designed to accept 110% of their normal power rating for a period of 1 hour. If your building load exceeds this, you will not be able to use your standby generator for longer periods (without switching some loads off).
  • Has your standby generator been serviced recently and in good reliable condition? You should definitely book an inspection and service visit before planning to run your standby generator continuously to make sure there are no issues with your equipment. We will be happy to provide costs for a one-time visit for your generator service and maintenance.
  • Check that you have enough fuel storage in your generator fuel tanks to run your generator for longer periods, and make sure you have an easy way of getting fuel delivered and topping up your tank to avoid running out. Solent Power can assist with fuel services for supply and management if necessary.
  • Do you need further redundancy for your power? If you are isolating your switchgear or incoming power equipment, do you have any other means of connecting external power to your site if your generator fails? If outage works are the reason for your decision to use a generator, we would firstly recommend a temporary generator to be hired with your own standby generator as a backup source. There are other options to consider, such as quick connection points. Contact us to discuss your various options, and we will try to advise the best solution.
  • You will need to service your generator more regularly if it runs for longer periods. Typically your generator should be serviced every 500 hours at least when running continuously. This varies from manufacturers and application. Feel free to speak with us to find out the additional maintenance costs associated with running your generator continuously.
  • Don’t forget to prove that your generator does support your building load without issues! If possible you should perform a building load test for significant period of time (at least 4 hours) to prove that your generator can take your building load without problems such as overheating.

As you can see, there are a few things to think about when it comes to running a standby generator continuously or for longer periods. At Solent Power we are specialists in power generation and distribution and can advise you with whatever requirements you have.

Please feel free to give us a call to discuss how we can advise or support you with your generators and power systems.

Paul Phelps Solar Power Owner
Paul Phelps
Paul is the MD of Solent Power and specialises in emergency power solutions, helping to protect your facilities from power loss. Get in touch with us today to discuss the different power brands that we can offer and how they can suit your needs.
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