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.
Backup Generator vs. Emergency Generator
The Dangers Of Using A Generator Indoors
How To Extend The Life Of Your Generator
Is It Safe To Run A Generator In The Rain?
Can I run a generator in the rain? It’s a question that many South Africans have asked themselves during power outages caused by inclement weather or load shedding. While the answer is not a straightforward “yes” or “no,” there are important safety precautions to consider.
Firstly, it is crucial to note that portable generators should never be used in wet weather. Rain seeping into the generator’s outlets or engine could result in electrocution or even an explosion. This is why most generator warranties are voided if the generator is used in wet conditions.
However, some generators are specifically designed to be operated safely in rainy weather. These generators typically come with their own enclosures and are explicitly stated by the manufacturer to be safe for use in wet conditions. If you have one of these generators, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
But what if you don’t have one of these specially designed generators? If you must use a generator during wet conditions or load shedding, you can still take precautions to minimise the risks.
Safety Tips For Running Generators in the Wet
The first step is to ensure your generator is placed on a dry, level surface and sheltered from the rain. This could mean using a canopy or tent to cover the generator or positioning it under an overhang or in a garage. Avoid placing the generator in a puddle or any other area where water could collect.
It’s also essential to ensure that the generator’s outlets and cords are always kept dry. This could mean using a waterproof cover for the outlets or running the cables through a dry area before connecting them to your appliances or devices
Finally, always keep an eye on the weather conditions and be prepared to turn off your generator if the rain becomes too heavy. If you’re unsure whether using your generator in wet conditions is safe, err on the side of caution and wait for the rain to pass before using it.
Generators can be lifesavers (or mental health savers) but can also be dangerous if not used properly. While it may be tempting to use your generator in the rain, it’s simply not worth the risk of injury or damage to your property. Prioritise safety above all else.
In addition to the risks associated with using a generator in wet conditions, there are other precautions to consider. In South Africa, there are laws and regulations regarding the use of generators. For example, the National Environmental Management Act states that generators must be operated in a way that does not cause environmental harm or nuisance. This means that generators mustn’t be used in a way that creates excessive noise, smoke or other forms of pollution.
It’s also crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly and to have a qualified electrician install and maintain your generator. By following safety precautions and being aware of the risks, you can ensure that your generator use is both practical and safe.
At S&A Generators, we offer a range of generator products and services to ensure that your power needs are met safely and effectively. Our generators are carefully designed and installed by qualified professionals to ensure maximum safety and efficiency. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services, and let us help you navigate the complex world of generator use.
Where Should A Diesel Or Petrol Generator Be Placed?
How To Extend The Life Of Your Generator
Why Generators Are Basically Portable Power Stations
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.
You’ve bought a new generator – what now?
The Dangers Of Using A Generator Indoors
F&Q Common Generator-Related Questions Answered
S&A Generator Projects: Behind the Scenes
Backup diesel or petrol generators come in many shapes and sizes, but one common thread that runs through all of them is that, from time to time, they will need their fuel tanks to be refilled. Yes, you can fill a generator while it’s running, but the real question is whether it’s a good idea or not. In this article, we unpack five reasons why you shouldn’t fill a running generator and offer advice on how to properly refill large generators without having to run back and forth from the petrol station.
The dangers of refilling a generator that is running
Think refilling a generator while it’s operating is neither here nor there? Here are five reasons why you should consider:
- It’s a major fire hazard
Starting with arguably the most serious potential consequence of refilling a generator while it’s running, we’ve got two words: fire hazard. Filling a generator with fuel while it is running can create a spark, which could ignite the fuel, causing a fire and potentially doing serious harm to both the person filling the tank and the generator’s surroundings.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
When a fossil fuel generator is running it produces carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that can be deadly if inhaled in excess. Adding fuel to a generator’s fuel tank while it is in operation can increase the level of carbon monoxide in the air, putting any people nearby the site at serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- You could spill the fuel
This hazard to refilling a generator while it is in operation isn’t life-threatening, but it can seriously hurt your bank balance. With fuel prices skyrocketing in South Africa, every drop counts! Refilling a generator while it is running increases the risk of spilling the fuel, which can create a fire hazard and possibly damage the generator.
- You could get electrocuted
Believe it or not, filling a generator while it’s going could leave you shocked – literally! Generators contain electrical components that are energized even when the generator is not feeding the building with electrical power. Touching these components while refilling the generator can result in an electrical shock, and the chances of accidentally touching them while the generator is vibrating are higher than if the generator were off.
- Damage to your generator
The last thing you want for your generator, especially when facing higher and higher stages of load shedding, is for the generator to end up damaged and out of action. Adding fuel to a running generator can cause damage to the engine and other components due to the movement of fuel and turbulence in the fuel tank. This can end up shortening the lifespan of your generator.
How to properly refill a large generator
Save yourself trips to the fuel station by choosing to have your backup power generator refilled by generator experts. We have special mobile fuel refilling equipment that we can take to where your generator is situated. We know how to safely fill your generator’s tank, without spilling anything! The best part? Nobody has to be electrocuted or poisoned by carbon monoxide!
Partner with KZN’s generator people
If you’re looking to refill your backup generator, you can get in touch with us at S&A Generators. Not only do we provide generator refilling services, but we also conduct a range of other generator services including generator installs, generator relocations, generator maintenance and generator repairs. Contact us today to discuss any and all of your generator-related needs.
Explore our generator projects.
Read more of our blog articles.
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.