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.
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.
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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Why Generators Are Basically Portable Power Stations
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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The new generator in position and awaiting wiring to connect it to the client’s power system.
South Africans are a bunch of resilient people, and we usually get through the storm together. But Eskom’s snip-snapping the loadshedding schedule is enough to let the best of us go off our rockers! Luckily, there’s always a silver lining. Backup electricity solutions come in many shapes and sizes, with diesel or petrol generators being the most accessible. Generators help many of us through the darkest hours, even earning an affectionate nickname: gennies.
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.
Always use a generator in a well-ventilated area to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the engine exhaust. CO is an ominous gas that leads to many deaths each year. The odourless gas replaces the oxygen in the bloodstream, leaving the body starved of oxygen. Symptoms vary from person to person, ranging from shortness of breath and dizziness to fatigue and headache. CO can even harm an unborn baby and negatively affect pets. Never place your generator in your home, and don’t run it in your garage, under carports or near windows. Ensure the exhaust is higher than the house roof so the wind can carry fumes away.
Keep your generator on solid ground.
Generators involve large industrial-size engines and alternators. They are quite heavy! The machine needs to be on a level surface that can handle the impact of the weight over time. Since you are obliged to keep the generator at least 5 metres from a dwelling, it’s a good idea to pinpoint and prepare an allocated spot in advance. If your property doesn’t have a suitable flat-surfaced area, fix a small, reinforced slab for the generator to be mounted on top.
Keep your generator dry.
Water and generators aren’t friends. Any kind of moisture – including mist – can cause damage to your generator. Even minor damage can increase the potential for injury or costly repairs. Keep your power source safe in wet conditions and ensure it’s positioned on an always-dry surface. A weather cover or steel enclosure could be your answer, as long as the generator is housed under a well-ventilated canopy-like structure. It’s best to talk to your certified electrician about the most appropriate option for your specific needs.
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 for light in the darkness.
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You can extend the life of your generator by investing in a generator cover, booking planned generator maintenance, checking the generator’s oil levels often, inspecting the battery just as often, and giving your generator a good cleaning from time to time. We’re explaining these generator lifespan-extending methods in detail below, and putting you in touch with generator technicians in KwaZulu-Natal should you want to extend your generator’s lifespan:
- Install a generator covering
Imagine if you drove around without a hood on your car. It wouldn’t take long for dust, rain, and other natural materials to make their way onto and into your engine. The same goes for generators without coverings. The better you can protect your generator’s critical parts from the elements, the longer it will take for wear and tear to become an issue for your generator.
- Book regular generator maintenance
Monthly, quarterly or annual generator maintenance is another important step you could take to ensure you get the most value for your backup power generating investment. Planned generator maintenance will keep your generator running at peak condition, and this will ensure critical generator issues can be identified and rectified before causing any bigger generator issues.
- Regularly check your generator’s oil
A vehicle’s engine won’t last long at all without engine oil. The same is true for diesel generators and petrol generators. When engine oil is running low, and the generator is operational, higher-than-usual levels of engine component wear and tear occur owing to the lack of lubrication. Get the most out of your generator’s critical parts by keeping its oil topped up.
- Inspect your generator’s battery
It’s important to keep an eye on the condition of your backup generator’s battery. Corrosion and battery acid leaks are common generator battery issues, and are able to cause serious damage when generators are neglected and the condition of the generator’s battery and associated wires and connections isn’t checked regularly.
- Don’t forget to clean your generator
One final measure you can take to extend the life of your generator is to ensure it is being cleaned regularly. This is especially important when there is no covering placed over the generator, protecting it from dust and other troublesome matter. But cleaning a generator doesn’t end at a wipe down from time to time. Consider getting your generator professionally cleaned every time it undergoes maintenance.
Extend your generator’s lifespan with S&A Generators
Extending the lifespan doesn’t have to be a multi-step process. One call to S&A Generators and you can book generator maintenance and order generator oil replacements or generator fuel top-ups. If you’ve got a generator and you want to get the most out of it, contact S&A Generators today! If you’d like to see what else we can do with backup generators, have a look at our S&A Generators projects.
Power stations are those little brick buildings with steel doors you see at the entrance to any suburb in South Africa. They are connected to the national power grid, and help to distribute electricity to the houses in each neighbourhood. Portable power stations, however, are different things entirely. In this article we compare portable power stations and portable generators, and discuss three reasons a generator is basically a power station:
Portable power station vs. portable generator
A portable power station is also called a battery-powered inverter or gasless generator. The fundamental difference between a portable power station and a portable generator is the fuel. Portable generators need diesel, petrol or gas. Portable power stations feature large battery packs. These are used commonly in places like the United States of America to power mobile homes or camping vans.
A portable generator is powered using a fuel, like diesel or gas. Like portable power stations, they can be used as emergency electricity supply when the grid goes down. However, where portable power stations can store electricity in their on-board batteries, portable generators have no such energy-storing potential. Portable generators are also louder on average than battery-powered inverters.
3 reasons a generator is basically a power station
- A generator uses fossil fuel to operate
Eskom relies heavily on coal and diesel stores to supply South Africans with electricity. These fossil fuels are converted into electrical supply, which is sent to the grids and then to the power stations and then to homes, offices, shops, and all other buildings in society. Likewise, portable generators rely of fuel like petrol, diesel or natural gas to do their jobs.
- A generator supplies electricity
Like portable and fixed power stations, generators are able to supply electricity. This is their fundamental purpose, and the reason people invest in them is to have power supplied when their electricity supply is interrupted for whatever reason. Also similarly to power stations, generators definitely need to be connected up correctly, and steering well clear of a generator’s cables is just as important as when confronted with exposed power station cabling.
- A generator requires maintenance
Like power stations from time to time, generators are going to need some TLC to keep going when you need them to. Planned maintenance can keep power stations operational for longer, and planned maintenance can also keep backup generators in action. Planned generator maintenance is especially important for generators at hospitals and other critical infrastructure.
Partner with KwaZulu-Natal’s generator people
S&A Generators offers around the clock, 24-hour generator services and support. We are the generator people in KZN, and our generator expertise are brought to bear on projects and for clients across the length and breadth of South Africa. Contact us to discuss your generator requirements. We can assist with new generator installs, generator relocations, generator refills, and of course expert generator maintenance and generator repairs.
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If your generator is looking, sounding, or performing in a way that concerns you, it might be time to troubleshoot it. So, how do you troubleshoot a generator? Troubleshooting involves looking at a number of potential causes of an issue, ticking them off as you go until finding and identifying the main problem. The type of troubleshooting you do will depend on the problem you’re facing, but most times you can find the issue pretty easily by following the below five steps to troubleshooting a generator.
- Check the fuel tank
Like all fossil-fuel engines on the planet, your diesel or petrol generator needs fuel to operate. The first stop on the generator troubleshooting journey is to make sure there is, in fact, fuel available in the generator’s fuel tank. A common sign of fuel shortage is a generator that swings with the ignition but it doesn’t start up.
- Check the spark plug
Another common cause of generator problems has to do with a tiny little piece of equipment whose sole job is to light sparks! When your generator’s spark plug is faulty, there’s no way it can operate at all. Depending on the type of spark plug fault, signs could include a generator that swings but won’t start up, or your ignition comes on but it doesn’t swing.
- Check the battery
Now, if your generator is dead, dead, dead when you try to turn it on, that is most likely an issue with the unit’s battery. The battery is like the heart of the generator: if the heart stops beating, every other part of the body can’t function. If you’re struggling to find your generator’s battery, consult your manufacturer’s handbook or give us a call and we’ll help you out!
- Check the oil level
Like coffee to a human being, a generator needs a healthy oil level at all times to ensure correct operating conditions. Without enough oil, the generator’s moving parts will wear down much faster, resulting in strange noises, smokey discharge, and ultimately the death of the generator. Other than oil level, you also want to check the quality of the oil, replacing it if the oil is too thin or dirty.
- Check the connections
This final step is probably better left to the generator specialists or electricians who installed your generator. It involves troubleshooting the connections that link your generator to your building’s main power grid. Sometimes a generator issue isn’t with the generator itself, but rather with the connection between it and the grid it is feeding power into.
Get KZN’s best generator troubleshooters on the case
With decades upon decades of experience and knowledge relating to all sorts of generators, yours is in good hands when we’re troubleshooting it. Our goal is to find the issue quickly, repair or replace it with haste, and get your generator up and running again as soon as possible. Explore our generator repair services, or contact S&A Generators to book an inspection for your troubled generator.