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.
Explore more of our blog.
Read our generator FAQs.
Discover S&A Generators projects.
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.
Let’s face it: backup power generators aren’t the quietest devices around. This becomes painfully apparent when load shedding strikes and you hear them powering up around your otherwise quiet neighbourhood. The good news? No matter the generator, there are many effective ways to reduce the noise levels if they get too much. Below we’ll explain why some generators are louder than others, what can be done about noisy ones, and we’ll answer this question: what is the loudest type of generator?
Why are some generators loud?
The loudness of a generator will largely depend on the type of generator, and how old or new that generator is. A good example of this is how older diesel trucks are much louder than more modern trucks fitted with newer diesel engine technology and noise-reducing interventions. Another factor making generators louder is their condition and how well they have been looked after throughout their operational lives.
What can you do about the noise?
Reducing the loudness of a generator is actually pretty easy if you set your mind to it (or you’ve got a team of generator experts at your side). In a previous blog on the topic of generator noise reduction, we unpacked a bunch of ways you could soundproof your generator. Here are a few:
- Divert your generator’s exhaust fumes to a large, full bucket of water. This will greatly reduce the noise, but you don’t want to leave that bubbling bucket unattended.
- Dampen the ear-shattering sound of a loud generator by placing it on thick rubber foam matting. This will reduce vibration and help with bringing the dB level down.
- Rubber can also be used to encapsulate a generator in a special soundproof case. These are rubber covers made to be placed over a generator set, allowing for exhaust fumes to escape freely.
Read the full article: How to Soundproof a Generator
Ranking generators from quietest to loudest
- Inverter generators
These sorts of generators can barely be considered ‘loud’ at all. The technology is made to be efficient and useable in areas where noise consideration is of vital importance.
- Portable generators
These sorts of generators, usually either petrol or diesel-fueled, are louder than inverter generators. Luckily, they’re small enough to soundproof with relative ease.
- Diesel generators
Diesel generators are the loudest compared to their counterparts. Luckily, with the technology being so old, countless people have innovated ways to quieten down obnoxious diesel generators.
Speak to the true generator experts in KZN
You get generator mechanics and installers who entered the industry when load shedding became a sober reality in South Africa. Then you get generator specialists who were already dealing with backup generators years before load shedding was even thought of. S&A Generators fall into this second category, and we are proud to have evolved and kept up with the backup power generation industry for over 50 years and counting. Contact us for any of your home, office, or industrial generator requirements.
Like all internal combustion engines, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a diesel generator’s engine. With so many moving parts under immense levels of pressure, it’s no wonder diesel engines break down from time to time. As diesel generator repair specialists, we have been working on faulty diesel generators for decades, and know exactly what to look for in a damaged generator. In this article we’re looking at the eight most common signs you need a diesel generator mechanic:
- Problems with starting
Diesel engines rely on an immense amount of compression to function optimally. Unfortunately, when seals in the combustion chamber start to deteriorate, this compression can drop and lead to a diesel engine that keeps swinging but just won’t start.
- Blue exhaust smoke
A big red flag when it comes to diesel generators is the appearance of blue smoke coming from the exhaust pipe. This is a clear indication that your generator is burning engine oil, which really shouldn’t be happening if your generator’s engine components are all in good working order.
- Loss of engine power
This one is a bit tougher to pinpoint on a diesel generator, since you’re not actually revving the engine as you would in a car. Nevertheless, one can clearly tell just by assessing the genset that the diesel engine is not running as powerfully as it should be, which is another serious cause for concern.
- Terrible fuel economy
Is your diesel generator going through fuel faster than it used to for the same amount of operating hours? A thirsty engine is usually a sign of damaged components, with the most likely culprits being your generator engine’s injectors or the rings.
- Excessive or strange noise
Compression and timing issues in diesel engines are clear to see (well, to hear). If you’ve fired up your diesel generator and it’s sounding different, like loud clanking noises or sounds you haven’t heard before, this could be a sign of serious engine trauma.
- Heightened oil consumption
Some diesel engines sip on engine oil; others need to take large gulps to stay in operation. If you’ve noticed that your diesel generator is requiring more oil top-ups than usual, this is a sign that you might need a diesel generator mechanic to pay you a visit. This is especially true if you don’t see any external signs of oil leaking from the genset.
- Rough engine idling
Another clear sign that a diesel generator mechanic is required involves rough idling. There are two types of rough idling to keep an ear open for. Hunting idling which is when the engine idles up and down in intervals, and Missing idling which is when you hear slight hesitations in the engine’s idling. Rough idling could be caused by poor timing or leaking injectors.
- Engine runaway
This is when your diesel generator’s engine keeps running for a little while after you’ve switched off the ignition. It’s a clear sign that there’s an issue with the engine’s combustion process, as runaway usually means that a bit of oil is leaking into the combustion chamber. Since diesel engines can theoretically run on engine oil, the engine burns up the bit of oil that’s leaked in – even after it has been shut off.
Find expert diesel generator mechanic services in Durban
If your diesel generator is exhibiting one or more of the above eight signs of damage, it might be time to call in a diesel generator mechanic. S&A Generators offers expert diesel engine repairs and maintenance in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. We are also able to assist with generator fuel refills, planned generator maintenance (to prevent generator repairs), and the sourcing and installation of new generators. Get in touch today to find out more!
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!