Recent tragic events in South Africa have cast a spotlight on generators, and how these load shedding lifesavers can potentially become lethal when operated recklessly. We thought we’d share a few of the dangers people create when using a diesel generator indoors. We’ve also provided a few generator pointers to make sure yours is safe as houses.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
CO poisoning is caused when a person inhales too much carbon monoxide from a fuel-burning source. In this case, the exhaust fumes coming from an indoor generator can build up inside rooms where people spend time, exposing them to CO fumes and eventual death.
- Accidental Electrocution
Backup generators are designed to live outdoors, and manufacturers make them with this in mind. Having these high-potency electrical connections inside a dwelling is a recipe for disaster, and a one-way ticket to an electrocution.
- Hearing Damage
Let’s face it: if you don’t soundproof a generator, they can be quite noisy sometimes. You don’t know just how loud they are until you’re standing right next to one. Indoors, this racket will echo and amplify, and spending too much time with it in the next room could lead to hearing problems.
Generator advice to prevent disaster
Generators certainly aren’t toys, and should never be treated as one would a low-voltage power tool. Here are a few pieces of advice for anyone with a backup generator:
- Only ever operate a generator outdoors
As a rule of thumb, only ever power up a generator when it’s outside. It needs to be covered outdoors, but there should be nothing blocking the exhaust fumes from dissipating into the atmosphere.
- Keep your generator properly grounded
When last did you check the integrity of your generator’s grounding? This critical component of safe electrical use is also a hallmark of safe generator operation. If you’re not sure of yours, give a generator specialist a call.
- Avoid ever getting your generator wet
Treat a generator like any valuable piece of equipment. You wouldn’t leave a lawnmower out in the rain, so give your generator only dry days by ensuring it’s covered and sheltered from the rain and other water sources.
- Install CO detectors if you’re concerned
Carbon Monoxide can’t be seen, tasted or smelt. You wouldn’t know there’s a CO problem in your home until it’s too late. To ensure a disaster scenario never happens, consider installing CO detectors that will alert you to high levels of carbon monoxide.
Looking for Durban’s generator specialists?
At S&A Generators we apply decades of combined generator and electrical expertise to each project we’re involved with. We’ve facilitated new generator installations, generator relocations, planned generator maintenance, and emergency generator services like critical generator repairs and fuel refills. Please feel free to Contact Us with any and all of your generator-related requirements!
You won’t hear them kick in if they’ve been installed properly, but generators can be found in many office buildings across South Africa. Some offices simply cannot afford to have the power go down at all, while others choose to have backup power for their occupants’ convenience. Either way, with Eskom yet to announce a much-anticipated finishing-off of load shedding, every office building could do with backup power generators in place.
READ: Choosing the right generator for your building
Why backup power for the office?
Ensuring an office building remains connected to electricity means it can remain connected to everything else it needs to operate. With backup power, an office can remain open to the public, keep the lights, power network infrastructure, power computers and other devices, and – most importantly – ensuring the kettle can boil water for coffee! Seriously though, so many issues arise in offices when the power goes out, so an office setting is definitely one of the most important places to have a backup generator.
Questions to ask about office generators
Before setting your mind on the brand, type, or capacity of generator you’d prefer, here are a few questions to ask about your office space:
- Will the generator remain stationary or need to be portable?
- How many appliances, devices and lights need to be run?
- What available space is there to install the generator?
- Which type of fuel should the generator consume? (diesel, gas, petrol)
READ: 7 factors that influence a generator’s price
3 types of generators for offices
Commercial generators are predominantly used as standby, nice-to-haves in office settings. Some industries, however, are required by law to have backup power generation on call at all times.
- Emergency Standby Generators
Emergency standby generator systems automatically kick in when the office experiences power loss due to a power outage. These office generators are required by NFPA code and must provide power to all the building’s safety systems within 10 seconds. These include exit lighting, smoke alarms, fire alarm systems, escalators, elevators, and anything that is absolutely necessary for people inside the building to remain safe or get to safety during life-threatening scenarios. Emergency standby generators must be completely separate and have their own electrical panels, switches, and conduits.
- Legally-Required Generators
These backup generator systems are similar to emergency generator systems, except that they have up to 60 seconds to automatically provide power. Legally-required generators are installed in spaces where backup power is required by law. However, they don’t need to be completely separate systems (like emergency generators). The difference with these systems is that they are not critically needed for office building occupant safety.
- Additional Standby Generators
This is any additional standby generator added to an office building is not required by code. These standby generators can be used to provide power to key equipment and systems that the business may find necessary to continue regular operations when the power cuts. Essentially, these generators can help mitigate profit losses and losses due to downtime. These generators can also help keep air conditioning systems running to provide continued comfort.
Installing & maintaining office generators
Get efficient office generator installations, generator maintenance, and repairs to office generators from S&A Generators. Based in Durban, we can travel anywhere in South Africa to assist our clients with their backup power challenges. Contact us to start a discussion about a backup generator for your office building – we look forward to being your light in the dark
- Cost of raw materials used in its manufacture
- Operating costs of the manufacturer
- Fluctuating expenses along the supply chain
- Total power output of the generator
- Fuel being used to power the generator
- Additional soundproofing requirements
- Cost of installing the new generator
Buying a backup generator means taking control of your energy needs. It’s about not being beholden to Eskom, or impacted negatively by their electricity generation capabilities. Generators come in varying sizes, depending on a building’s energy requirements. Power output, among other things, impacts how much you pay for your new generator. Let’s take a look at all seven factors that impact a generator’s price:
- Cost of raw materials
Every generator comprises smaller components, which are made up of smaller parts themselves, which are made from raw materials likely mined from the earth. The costs of these raw materials, parts, and components all impact how much you end up paying for your generator.
- Manufacturer energy costs
Rapid fluctuations in oil and gas prices globally are impacting energy costs of manufacturers. Unfortunately, generator manufacturers have no choice but to pass this cost down the supply chain, which starts a chain reaction and eventually leads to a higher retail price tag.
- Supply chain expenses
Extra costs in the logistics required to get new generators to South Africa will ultimately impact a generator’s price. Ships, trucks, and last-leg delivery vans all run on diesel or petrol, the rising prices of which can and will impact the price of a new generator on the shelf.
- Generator power output
As we mentioned, the power output of your new generator will affect its price. This will depend entirely on how much work it’ll do while powering your building. Smaller spaces with fewer lights and almost no appliances could get away with a small portable generator. Larger spaces, like malls, will require larger, permanent generators.
- Type of fuel being used
The mechanics of the backup power generator you choose will also determine the price bracket you’re looking at. Diesel generators are much more sought-after and affordable than, say, gas generators. More niche, modern designs are inevitably going to require more of an investment.
- Soundproofing requirements
How much sound-proofing will your new generator require? If you live in a residential suburb or estate, you might need to take steps to dampen the sound when using the generator. You’ll have to factor these sound-proofing measures in when working out the true cost of your generator.
- Installation costs
Another thing to consider when deciding to buy a new generator is what it’s going to cost to have it installed. They don’t just plug in and you’re good to go. You’ll need assistance from generator professionals who can issue a certificate of compliance, after rigging your generator to the building’s electrical infrastructure.
Experienced generator installations in KZN
Get your new backup generator installed by the preferred generator specialists in KwaZulu-Natal. We issue certificates of compliance (COC) on all new generator installations. Contact S&A Generators to discuss sourcing your new generator and having it installed by the best!
Will load shedding still be an issue through 2022?
You’ve bought a new generator – now what?
What affects a backup generator’s fuel consumption?
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Shopping malls have become the places we go to do just about everything these days. We can pay our bills, buy our groceries, restock our wardrobes, fix our electronic devices, and much more. The shopping centre ecosystem relies on consumers buying from the tenants, who then pay rent and the mall keeps its doors open. These tenants have requirements to operate, the most important being electricity.
PROJECT: Shopping mall generator install in the Free State
This vital resource powers point of sale computers, bank card machines, internet connectivity, in-store lights, security systems, and air conditioning. Without electricity, retailers cannot trade. So, the overarching reason shopping malls need backup power generators is to provide tenants with a reliable source of electricity.
With unplanned power outages and load shedding still impacting retail outlets across South Africa, having a backup power generator means business continuity; come what may. We’re diving deeper into the need for a generator at every mall below, with nine reasons why having one is an excellent idea:
- Retailers trade through power cuts
When there’s no generator in place, most shopping centre tenants are forced to discontinue operations for the duration of a power outage. Backup power means a continuation of trade for all tenants, regardless of what’s happening with the national power grid.
- Shopping mall remains open to the public
Lighting, elevators, access control, and other mall infrastructure go down when the power cuts off. This means it becomes impossible for shoppers to navigate the centre, unless there’s a backup power generator keeping this infrastructure working and the mall open to the public.
- Security measures remain in place
Iron-clad security is a must at any shopping mall, for the protection of the shoppers, retailers and their staff, and mall management. A backup power generator keeps things like CCTV and alarm systems operational while the national electricity supply is down.
- Mall remains connected at all times
Keeping a shopping mall and its retailers connected to the internet is critical for a number of reasons. Keeping ATMs and credit card machines online to facilitate retail transactions is arguably the most important. With backup power, there doesn’t have to be a loss of internet connectivity at all.
- Customer contact is maintained
Whether a mall has to shut its doors during a power outage or not, being able to communicate with customers is pretty important. Backup power means a mall can communicate to customers that they are open and operational during outages.
- Keep the shopping environment comfortable
Air conditioning is such a relief for shoppers when visiting their favourite malls. When the power goes out, these aircons can’t keep cooling stores and common areas down. With backup power generation in place, shopping malls can keep offering a comfortable environment for both shoppers and shop staff.
- Acquire a competitive advantage
Let’s face it: having a backup power generator is a competitive advantage for any shopping centre. If it’s a choice between shopping at their favourite mall without power, or a competitor mall with backup generators, chances are a customer is going to go with option two.
- Avoid a complete loss of productivity
When the power goes off at a mall without backup generators, productivity comes to a halt across the board. Mall management can’t do their jobs, retailers and staff can’t do their jobs, and this break in productivity renders the rest of the day essentially a write-off.
- Attract more potential tenants
Shopping malls that can keep their doors open and their aircons running stand to attract tenants who are looking for more stable commercial rental options. Having a backup power source is a big plus for any mall looking to improve their tenant acquisition and retention.
Shopping mall generator installs, repairs & maintenance
With decades of backup power generator experience, S&A Generators is your best bet when needing generator repairs, maintenance, or new generator installations (with CoC). A backup generator brings peace of mind for shopping mall managers, that tenants can trade through periods of power outages. Don’t let the lights going out leave you in the dark! Get in touch on 031-702-8621 or [email protected]. You can also send an enquiry on our contact S&A Generators page.
See our recent projects: Projects – S&A Generators (sagen.co.za)
Read more articles: Blog – S&A Generators (sagen.co.za)
Solar panels have become a common sight in South Africa, propped up on the roofs of buildings from all sectors of society. Private homes, office blocks, commercial centres, and other properties are increasingly making use of solar backup power. While quite a large initial investment, solar power has proven to be an effective backup power provider – as long as you get enough sunlight. In this article we’re comparing the cost, performance, durability, and maintenance considerations of a diesel generator vs. solar power.
ARTICLE: Diesel generator vs. gas generator – a comparison
Key differences: diesel generator vs. solar panels
There’s no denying the fact that diesel generators have become very affordable in recent years. Solar systems have also become cheaper than they were 10 years ago, thanks to increased demand and competition in this field of power generation. It’s dependant on size, but a diesel generator is most likely to cost you 10 to 20 times less than a full solar power setup. However, things like rising fuel costs and future maintenance requirements must also be taken into account when comparing costs.
How well do the two power generation options compare in the performance department? Solar is an excellent backup power solution in areas that get a lot of sunlight most of the year long. Sun exposure is vital to the optimal performance of solar systems. With diesel generators, they can operate 365 days of the year, regardless of the weather, as long as there’s fuel in the tank. For this reason, diesel generators outshine solar power systems in the performance department.
On the durability side of things, solar power wins without a doubt. Diesel generators are machines, with moving parts susceptible to wear and tear. Eventually, these moving parts and other components will break and require replacing. With planned generator maintenance, this can be managed to avoid catastrophic engine damage. Solar panels are stationary, and so are the inverters and batteries. Depending on quality and other factors, solar panel systems are likely to last longer than diesel generators.
Because diesel generators are lower in cost, their parts are cheaper than solar power systems too. So, when your backup power solution needs repairs or part replacements, diesel generators will come in more cost effective. But how often do solar power systems need maintenance? It doesn’t happen very often in most cases, so solar power will likely require less maintenance than a diesel generator. If you choose to go with a diesel generator setup, partner with generator maintenance specialists to keep your generator in tip-top shape.
ARTICLE: S&A project – business generator install in the Free State
Get your backup power solution from S&A Generators
Are you overwhelmed trying to choose the best backup power solution for your building? We get it – we’ve been installing and maintaining generators for clients in Durban for decades. Speak to us about your building’s power requirements; we can assist with picking the right solution for you and getting it installed by the right contractor. Read more articles on our blog, or contact S&A Generators to start a conversation. We look forward to looking after your power generation needs!
Backup generators: we don’t really think about them until load shedding kicks in. When we are using them, few of us give thought to how much fuel they are using to keep our lights and plug points working. With petrol and diesel prices skyrocketing in South Africa, it’s good to know that there are ways to save money on your generator’s fuel. This article is taking a look at what affects a backup generator’s fuel consumption:
Type of generator
The type of generator you have will influence its fuel consumption, since generators come in many sizes and output capacities. Smaller, portable generators used only to power certain appliances and devices use considerably less fuel per hour than larger generators powering whole buildings or groups of buildings. Newer generators feature more modern technology than older ones. Modern generators are built to be fuel efficient, so if your generator is ancient, it will likely consume more fuel than a new generator.
Backup generators also run on a variety of fuels. Some generators are multi fuel, meaning they can operate on two or more types of fuel. When it comes to fuel consumption, we could argue that the generator which burns through fuel the slowest is more fuel efficient. Diesel burns slower than any other fuel type, making diesel generators some of the most efficient you’ll find. Natural gas generators, in contrast, burn fuel at much faster rates than diesel, which renders them less fuel efficient.
The final consideration when looking at what affects a backup generator’s fuel consumption is load. This refers to the number of appliances, devices, and other electricity-requiring things a generator needs to power when in operation. Generators that struggle to power what they need to will burn through their fuel tanks much faster than others. When a generator can comfortably handle its load without having to be pushed to its limits, it won’t be as thirsty for fuel.
Generator maintenance, repairs & installations
For any generator-related needs you have in South Africa, think S&A Generators. We’ve been generator specialists for decades, providing expert generator maintenance and generator repairs for clients across the country. Contact us for any generator installations, generator maintenance, generator repairs, and generator support you need – we look forward to serving you!