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!
- 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!
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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!
A Diesel Generator will produce power by burning diesel fuel, a diesel generator uses a combination of a diesel engine and an electric alternator. This generator converts a portion of chemical energy within the diesel fuel, resulting in a combustion that turns into mechanical energy. These generators are affordable and the recommended choice for residential properties and smaller commercial buildings. If you’re looking for a way to get backup power in the event of blackouts, loadshedding, outages and other power issues, this type of generator can be highly useful. Although solar generators are more eco-friendly at a glance, there are ways that you can make your diesel generator more sustainable. You can choose a modified generator, such as a bio-diesel generator or speak to a generator specialist such as S&A Generators to choose the best option for your needs. So, how does a diesel generator work? You’re about to find out:
Diesel Generator Parts & Process
What should you know if you are considering a diesel generator for your home? For starters, it helps to have an idea of the generator parts and how they work to power your home. Here are some of the most important parts of a generator.
The engine runs on diesel. Similar to very large vehicles such as trucks, the larger the energy source, the more power the engine will produce.
This part converts a mechanical engine into electrical power, using induction. Large magnets are placed around a rotating shaft, windings produce a magnetic field that causes the alternator to turn. Alternators also contain a stator – several coiled bundles of wire packed around the rotor. When the alternator moves the shaft, the rotor moves the magnetic fields across these wires, resulting in an alternating current (AC) power.
The fuel supply includes a tank that holds enough diesel for around 8 to 12hours of power. It can be housed inside or on top of smaller and portable generators or in separate structures for larger units. The fuel also includes pipes that deliver fuel to the engine, a fuel pump, a filter and a valve to prevent overpressure. It also has a return line to redirect the leftover diesel back into the diesel tank to avoid wastage.
Diesel generator engines create a lot of waste heat. This needs to be cooled using coolant fluid. The cooling system helps to avoid overheating by releasing heat into the air or a secondary coolant.
Exhaust gases are produced by all engines. As these gases are toxic, they need to be redirected away from the engine and channelled safely into the air outside.
The engine is lubricated with the help of an oil pump, oil filter and a reservoir. These are attached to the generator engine.
These parts allow the diesel generator to start running. A small electric starter motor, usually powered by a battery(12v-24v), is charged by the generator output or a separate charger.
The generator’s battery is kept constantly charged by an on board smart battery charger. This battery charger is constantly charging the battery at between 13.6v to 27.3v. When the generator is running the DC alternator will take over the charging of the batteries.
Now that you have a better idea of the parts making up this type of generator, the next step is to get the generator installed. S&A Generators offers a range of services designed to help you get your generator set up and running, along with maintenance and other solutions. Contact us today to find out more about investing in a diesel generator for your building.
Generators, like any mechanical devices, are prone to degradation during their operational lives. Even those generators that stand unused for weeks every year can develop issues. At S&A Generators, we’ve seen all varieties of generator problems, and there hasn’t been a generator-related issue that we haven’t been able to figure out. This article looks at a few generator repairs that we commonly carry out for customers in KwaZulu-Natal.
Generator wiring repairs
Power surges are a common occurrence in South Africa, and they can sometimes have devastating consequences for backup generators. During large storms, or in times of load shedding, surges are able to damage important generator parts. We strongly recommend installing a surge arrestor to prevent surge-related generator damage in the future.
Resetting controller alarms
Genset controllers are electronic systems used to monitor generators in terms of voltage, current, temperature, oil levels, etc. Very often, these controllers (specifically the alarms) malfunction, and when this happens the generator won’t start. Resetting these controller alarms is also a common generator repair we regularly carry out.
Repairs to radiator cores
A vital component of every generator is its radiator. Without this part working at its best, the generator risks overheating and eventual breakdown. Something we see quite often, when performing generator maintenance for our clients, is radiator core damage. Repairs to generator radiator cores is something we are able to facilitate.
Expert generator repairs in KwaZulu-Natal
S&A Generators specialises in generator repairs and other generator-related services. We can source and install new generators, relocate generators, connect new generators to building electrics, provide planned generator maintenance, and even diesel generator refilling. Contact us on +27317028621 or [email protected]. Alternatively, fill in the form on our S&A Generators contact page.
It’s something many home owners and business owners are investing in, but with so many on the market – which one is best for your specific building? There is always concern around whether or not a generator is installed correctly, and what the collateral household damage could be if it’s not. A question we get quite often at S&A Generators is, “will using a generator damage my electrical equipment?” To answer this question, we need to know about the two different types of generators on the market – and what you can do as a generator owner to prevent the damage of your home’s electrical gadgets and appliances.
Two types of generators
When it comes to commercially-sold generators, there are two types that are widely used across the world. These are inverter generators and non-inverter generators:
These are common on ‘best portable generators’ lists, and are a bit more complicated mechanically than their non-inverting cousins. Inverter generators feature batteries, alternators, and inverters. These take an unstable AC current, convert it to DC, and then back to stable AC. Because of this, the power output from inverter generators is considered more suited to running things like home appliances and electrical equipment.
These generators are more ‘old school’. They run on fossil fuels, as do many inverter generators, but there is no battery or power inversion process taking place. In other words, the current being created by the non-inverting generator is susceptible to fluctuation, which is not good news for the electrical appliances being powered by it.
Which one damages electrical equipment?
As you’ve likely figured out, non-inverting generators have the best chance of causing harm to electrical appliances and equipment. This is not to say that every generator of this kind will cause issues, but the safest bet is to invest in an inverter generator. Not only for the sake of your appliances, but also because the on-board battery is handy to have should your inverting generator run out of fuel.
Can you prevent electrical damage?
The answer to this question will always be YES. If you are still saving up for an inverter generator to replace your old non-inverting one, you can help keep your power output stable by ensuring that your generator is in good operating condition at all times. The best way to do this is with planned generator maintenance, where your generator is serviced every 3 months to keep it in peak condition all year long.
Looking for generator professionals in Durban?
Installing a residential or commercial generator makes sense in the age of load shedding, but not all generators are suited to every application. Likewise, not all generator service providers have over five decades of experience. We do, and we’re ready to assist you with any and all of your generator needs. Get in touch to discuss your generator!