How to soundproof a diesel generator

How to soundproof a diesel generator

Are you looking to make your generator less noisy, or soundproof it completely? Where would your diesel generator score in the “Noisy Generator Olympics?” We’re guessing it would take a podium spot, and the reality is that generators are by no means quiet things when in operation. With ongoing load-shedding, backup power generators are in private homes, residential estates, office parks, and other places where emergency electrical supply is critical. The question that many people ask is: can generators be made less noisy? This article explains why generators are noisy, and four ways you can try to soundproof your diesel generator:

Why are generators so noisy?

  • Fuel type
    How loud your generator is going to be during operation will depend largely on the type of fuel it uses. Solar power generators are practically silent, so these are commonly used indoors. Fossil fuel generators, like diesel gensets, are known to be the loudest. Diesel generators take the cake, followed by petroleum generators and then gas generators.
  • Engine size
    The engine capacity of the generator set will also play a role in the noise levels. Understandably, the larger the engine – the louder the sound. This is true in cars as well, so you can expect industrial-size generators to be much louder than your garden-variety portable generator.

4 ways to soundproof a diesel generator

  1. Bucket of water
    Starting with the most rudimentary noise-cancelling solutions, here you’ll need a bucket of water and a suitable section of piping. Use this to divert your generator’s exhaust fumes into the full bucket of water (via the section of hose). The bucket of water acts as a muffler, but shouldn’t be left unattended, so use this one as a last resort.
  2. Rubber matting
    If you’re looking for a quick noise-reduction solution that will dampen some sound while you find a permanent solution, try a thick rubber mat. When placed under your generator, this will reduce the prevalence of vibrations that add even more noise to the already-noisy engine.
  3. Soundproof cover
    Speaking about rubber, a slightly more involved noise solution that could work for you is a rubber soundproof cover. Think of it as a rubber box without all of the panels that sits over the whole generator set. It still allows all exhaust fumes to be funnelled out, but contains most of the noise within the thick rubber covering.
  4. LF125 acoustic panels
    These professional sound-absorbing sections of foam can dampen over 70% of noise at 125 Hz. Used on the inside of your generator covering, LF125 panels will make a generator a lot quieter – and are specifically designed to never catch alight. This solution is only recommended for permanent generator quietening solutions, as it will come in on the more expensive end of the spectrum.

Diesel generator repairs and maintenance in KwaZulu-Natal

Whether you have a generator that goes CLANK too often for your liking, or you’re looking to install a new generator but you have noise concerns, we’re able to assist. Our company has been specialising in generator installations, relocations, repairs and planned maintenance for over 50 years. Give us your noisy generator and we’ll find the perfect soundproofing solution for your unique challenges.

Empowering Your Home: The Synergy of Solar Panels and Generators

Empowering Your Home: The Synergy of Solar Panels and Generators

Eskom has unfortunately proven its unreliability over the past twenty-plus years. Their current situation holds a heap of challenges. With backlogged maintenance system failures and power stations that are years behind schedule, Eskom simply cannot produce the load of electricity that South Africa needs. As their debt and disputes continue to rise, electricity from the grid won’t be guaranteed anytime soon.

However, South Africans are resourceful and buoyant. Many homeowners and business owners have reworked their budgets and invested in alternative power-generating options. Two of the most popular alternatives are solar panels and generators. But which one is the best? The good news is that you don’t have to choose. Let’s explore why and how a dual-energy solution could be your best choice.

 

Harnessing Solar Energy

 

South Africa might have a few challenges, but a lack of sunlight isn’t one of them! Solar panels harness the abundant sunlight, converting it into clean and sustainable electricity. Integrating solar panels into your home’s energy infrastructure can be a real game-changer. By tapping into this renewable resource, you can significantly reduce your dependence on the grid and, in some cases, even feed excess energy back into it.

 

How Do Solar Panels Work?

 

Solar panels are equipped with photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect. These cells absorb photons (particles of sunlight), generating an electric current that can be used to power electrical devices.  While some solar panels directly produce electricity during sunlight exposure, others incorporate batteries to store excess energy generated during sunny periods.

 

But What If The Weather Changes?

 

However, the sun doesn’t shine 24/7, and South Africa’s intermittent power supply necessitates a reliable backup plan. This is where generators come into play. While solar panels work their magic during the day, generators stand ready to take over when the sun sets or during prolonged cloudy periods – especially when the batteries connected to the solar system can’t store a surplus.

 

The Power of Generators

 

If the weather has been acting up or the rainy season is upon us, generators are a reliable backup to kick in when you need it most. These versatile machines are fuelled by gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas and provide an immediate and continuous power supply during load shedding or grid failures. Load shedding can be highly unpredictable, and having a generator ensures that your essential appliances and devices remain operational.

 

The Hybrid Advantage

 

The synergy between solar panels and generators offers a comprehensive and resilient energy solution. During sunny days, solar panels take the lead, reducing your reliance on the grid and minimising electricity costs. When the sun sets or the clouds set in, the generator seamlessly takes over, maintaining a consistent power supply.

 

Energy Independence and Cost Savings

 

By combining solar panels and generators, homeowners in South Africa can achieve a level of energy independence that insulates them from the impact of load shedding. It’s a dual approach that ensures continuous power for essential functions and significant savings in the long run. As electricity costs continue to rise, the initial investment in solar panels and generators is proving to be a wise and strategic decision.

 

In a country where power interruptions are a part of daily life, taking charge of your home’s energy supply is empowering. The dynamic duo of solar panels and generators addresses the challenges posed by load shedding while charting a course toward a sustainable and resilient energy future for South African homes and businesses. Embrace the sun’s power, supplemented by the reliability of generators, and experience a new era of energy freedom. That’s where S&A Generators come in.

 

At S&A Generators, we offer a range of generator solutions to suit the needs of homeowners and property owners. Our services include generator sales, installations, and maintenance, ensuring reliable backup power during load shedding. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality products and services and are committed to ensuring your satisfaction. Contact us today to find light in these dark times.

 

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Can a diesel generator run on biodiesel?

Can a diesel generator run on biodiesel?

Here’s a crazy fact: the first diesel engine was designed to run on peanut oil. Nuts, right? Since then, it has become more economical to fuel diesel engines with fossil-fuel diesel, available at your nearest petrol station for a cost just under that of petroleum (most of the time). However, with the green movement gaining momentum as we move further into this new decade, diesel generator operators are feeling the pressure to convert to more eco-friendly fuel sources. One of these is biodiesel. So, can a diesel generator run on biodiesel? Is biodiesel healthier for the environment? Let’s take a look:

What exactly is biodiesel?

One thing to know about biodiesel is that it’s pretty hard to find, and when you can find it – it’s more expensive than regular diesel. Having said that, biodiesel is becoming a popular low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels, and it’s only a matter of time before biodiesel will be as common as petrol and paraffin.

The process of creating biodiesel involves a process called “transesterification”, and can be applied to pure vegetable oil, animal fat, tallow, and even used cooking oil. The latter will require a few more filtrations before becoming useable. Commercial biodiesel production plants use commercial crops like soybean, palm oil, and rapeseed.

Is it better for the environment?

Biodiesel is considered better for the environment, due to the belief that it is a “carbon neutral” fuel source. In other words, the carbon dioxide produced by burning the fuel is neutralised by the carbon dioxide that was absorbed by the rapeseed, soybeans, etc. Whether or not biodiesel is truly carbon neutral, there is no question that growing and re-growing crops for fuel production is much better than destroying valuable fossil fuels that cannot be replaced.

Can biodiesel be used in a diesel generator?

Pure biodiesel can be used in almost any diesel engine or generator. However, when it comes to fuels like animal fat and straight vegetable oil, the generator will require a special conversion. Since vegetable oil is thicker than diesel, a secondary fuel system is installed to start the generator on diesel fuel – then switch over to vegetable oil once it has reached a suitable temperature. So, if you have access to pure biodiesel, you should be able to run your diesel generator on it! And if you want to put your old cooking oil to good use, chat to a generator specialist about a fuel system conversion.

Diesel generator installation & repairs in KwaZulu-Natal

Before grabbing for that crusty bottle of old chip oil at the back of your pantry, give S&A Generators a call to see if your generator is able to run on biodiesel. We’ll be able to advise you on how best to convert your generator into an alternative fuel consumer, or on an eco-friendly replacement generator. If you’re in KwaZulu-Natal and your issue involves a generator – think S&A Generators! Contact us here to arrange a generator conversion assessment.

How Important Are Generators For The Industrial Sector?

How Important Are Generators For The Industrial Sector?

South Africa’s industrial sector is the backbone of the nation’s economy, driving growth and providing employment opportunities. However, it faces numerous challenges, including frequent power outages due to load shedding, unpredictable weather conditions, as well as unrest and strikes. In this demanding environment, generators play a vital role in ensuring uninterrupted power supply and safeguarding productivity. Let’s delve into why generators are of paramount importance to the industrial sector in South Africa.

The Impact of Load Shedding

Load shedding has become a familiar term for South Africans, causing significant disruptions in both personal and professional lives. The scheduled power cuts, needed to balance the national grid’s demand and supply, have severe consequences for industrial operations. The impact of load shedding on the manufacturing sector has been significant. According to Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), the industry experienced a 4.3% decline in output during load shedding periods in 2021. Although there has been a rebound in production at the beginning of the second quarter of 2023, the industry continues to be hampered by the effects of electricity supply disruptions. In addition to the challenges posed by load shedding, South Africa’s diverse weather conditions further compound the need for reliable power solutions in the industrial sector.

Weather-Related Challenges

South Africa’s diverse weather conditions, including thunderstorms, heavy rains, and strong winds, pose additional challenges to the power infrastructure. These weather events often lead to unexpected power failures, leaving businesses in a vulnerable position. A study conducted by the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas reveals that extreme weather events have caused an average annual loss of 0.3% to the country’s GDP from 2000 to 2019. By investing in generators, industries can mitigate the impact of power outages due to these challenges, ensuring continuity and minimising financial losses.

Unrest and Strikes

Unrest and strikes are unfortunate realities that South Africans are familiar with. These events can significantly impact industrial operations, leading to temporary shutdowns and disruptions in power supply. Beyond the immediate disturbances, businesses may also face property damage, looting, and logistical difficulties. In such challenging circumstances, having backup generators becomes crucial as they provide a reliable source of power to keep essential operations running to minimise the impact of unrest or strikes on productivity.

Uninterrupted Operations and Increased Productivity

Generators provide a reliable solution to combat power outages and keep businesses running smoothly. When the power grid fails, or load shedding occurs, generators seamlessly kick in, ensuring uninterrupted operations. This reliability translates into increased productivity and minimised downtime, allowing industries to fulfil orders, meet deadlines, and maintain customer satisfaction.

Protection for Equipment and Assets

Voltage fluctuations pose a significant threat to sensitive machinery and equipment. Without a stable power supply, businesses may face equipment damage with costly repairs or replacements. Generators offer a consistent and clean power source, protecting valuable assets and extending their lifespan. In the long run, this translates into substantial cost savings for businesses.

Emergency Preparedness

It’s always a good idea to be prepared for eventualities, but South Africans might just need to bring some extra vigilance to the table. Companies and factories can only benefit from having a robust emergency preparedness plan ready. Although the manufacturing sector in the country is vulnerable, there is always a light in the tunnel. Generators serve as a critical component of emergency plans, providing a steady and reliable backup power source. By having generators on-site, businesses can navigate through unforeseen power disruptions and industrial challenges, ensuring continuity and minimising the impact on operations.

S&A Generators is a trusted provider of reliable generator solutions for homeowners and property owners in South Africa. With a comprehensive range of generators tailored to meet various needs, we ensure that customers can find the perfect fit for their requirements. Visit our website to learn more about our expertise, our commitment to quality, service, and customer satisfaction. Our team of skilled technicians ensures that generators are installed correctly and operating optimally. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are essential to keep generators running smoothly, and S&A Generators’ professionals are well-equipped to handle any servicing needs. If you’re looking for a service provider that offers installation, maintenance, and repairs, contact S&A Generators today!

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Can You Run A Generator Continuously?

Can You Run A Generator Continuously?

Loadshedding has become a frustrating reality that’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. But it’s not just a matter of being without power – it can also be incredibly disruptive and pose risks to our electronic devices and appliances. Without a backup power solution, load shedding can mean hours of inconvenience, including cold meals and no Wi-Fi for work or leisure. And that first cup of coffee to start the day? Well, that might be out of the question too.

As stage 6 loadshedding continues to plague South Africa, generators can provide reliable backup power to avoid frustration, disruption, and potential damage. But can a generator be run continuously to provide uninterrupted power? Let’s find out.

Firstly, it’s critical to understand that generators are not designed to run continuously. The Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa (ECASA) recommends running a generator for a maximum of 12 hours at a time and then allowing it to rest for at least 30 minutes. Doing this will give the generator a chance to cool down and prevent it from overheating.

The type of generator you have will also affect how long it can run continuously. The runtime of a generator is influenced by its fuel type, capacity, and load. Diesel generators tend to have longer runtimes than petrol generators. Additionally, the generator’s capacity, or the amount of power it can produce, will affect how long it can run before refuelling. The load on the generator, or how much energy it is being asked to generate, will also affect its runtime. A generator running at full capacity will burn more fuel and run out faster than one that only provides power to a few critical appliances.

Continuously running a generator for long periods can cause it to overheat, resulting in damage to the engine, and could ultimately lead to the generator breaking down. Overloading a generator can also harm the engine and could result in a fire hazard. It’s crucial to ensure the generator is not overloaded and provides power to appliances within its capacity.

Additionally, the weather conditions in South Africa can impact a generator’s performance. Running a generator in extremely hot or cold temperatures can affect its efficiency and lifespan. Generators are designed to operate within specific temperature ranges. Always ensure that the generator is kept in a well-ventilated area and is not exposed to extreme temperatures.

Regular maintenance and servicing of a generator are crucial to its performance and lifespan. Generators should be serviced at least once a year. However, oil levels, air filters, and spark plugs should be checked more often. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to decreased performance and even permanent damage to the generator.

Generators can be a lifesaver during loadshedding, but it’s essential to understand how to use them safely and effectively. So, how do you know if your generator is being overstrained? Keep an eye out for warning signs such as a burning smell, unusual noises, or the engine shutting down unexpectedly. If your generator is producing less power than usual, it may also be a sign that it’s overstrained. Another warning sign is increased fuel consumption: If your generator is burning through fuel more quickly than usual, it may be a sign that it is working harder than it should be.

If you notice any of these signs, take action immediately! Switch off the generator and seek the assistance of a qualified technician.

At S&A Generators, we offer a range of generator solutions to suit the needs of homeowners and property owners. Our services include generator sales, installations, and maintenance, ensuring that our clients have reliable backup power during loadshedding. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality products and services and are committed to ensuring our clients’ satisfaction. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you with your backup power needs.

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GENERATOR PLACEMENT GUIDELINES FOR DIESEL AND PETROL UNITS

GENERATOR PLACEMENT GUIDELINES FOR DIESEL AND PETROL UNITS

An image respresenting GENERATOR PLACEMENT GUIDELINES FOR DIESEL AND PETROL UNITS

The new generator in position and awaiting wiring to connect it to the client’s power system.

In South Africa, resilience is key, especially with Eskom’s unpredictable load shedding. Finding the right generator placement for backup electricity, including diesel or petrol generators, becomes crucial. These generators, affectionately known as ‘gennies,’ are vital for navigating through power outages, providing light and stability during the darkest hours.

While the whirring, purring, and (if it’s poorly maintained) rattling sound of generators has become a familiar tune around the neighbourhood, the skill of installing generators certainly isn’t commonplace.

Firstly, did you know that a licensed electrician is required to carry out generator installations? Secondly, were you aware that generator installations in South Africa must adhere to the South African National Standard (IS0 SANS 8528 series of standards)? Thirdly, you can’t pick and choose where you place your generator! Here are some critical guidelines to consider when deciding where to position your generator:

Don’t box the generator in.

Operate your generator outside in a ventilated space to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning due to engine exhaust. CO, a colourless, odourless gas, causes numerous fatalities annually by displacing oxygen in the blood, leading to oxygen deprivation. Symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, and headaches, and it poses risks to unborn children and pets. Avoid installing your standby generator inside, including garages, under carports, or close to windows. Position the generator’s exhaust above your home’s roof to ensure fumes are dispersed by the wind. Always consult professional installers, adhere to local building codes, and use a transfer switch for safe standby generator installation.

Keep your generator on solid ground.

Generators, equipped with substantial engines and alternators, demand a stable, level surface to support their significant weight over time. For safe generator placement and installation, it’s crucial to position the generator at least five meters away from any residential building, adhering to local building codes and ensuring protection against carbon monoxide exposure. Planning ahead to identify a designated location is advisable. In the absence of a naturally flat area on your property, constructing a reinforced concrete pad provides a viable solution for mounting your standby or home generator securely, ensuring it meets installation requirements and safety standards for optimal operation during power outages.

Keep your generator dry.

Generators and water don’t mix. Exposure to any form of moisture, such as fog, can harm your generator, leading to possible injuries or expensive repairs. Protect your Generac home standby generator in damp environments by placing it on a consistently dry surface. Utilizing a weather cover or steel enclosure can safeguard your generator, provided it’s situated beneath a structure that allows for ample ventilation. Consulting with a professional electrician is advisable to determine the optimal venting solution tailored to your generator’s requirements.

 

LET THE SPECIALISTS AT S&A GENERATORS FIND THE RIGHT SPOT FOR YOUR GENERATOR

 

It’s one thing to invest in a generator. Having it correctly and safely connected to your building’s electrical circuit is something entirely different. As registered electricians, S&A Generators is licensed to source and fully install new and used generators in KwaZulu-Natal. We’re capable of relocating and installing some of the biggest generators around, and we’ll even advise you on the best generator covering for your specific generator. Contact us today for generator placement tips and more.

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