Can You Fill A Generator While It’s Running?

Can You Fill A Generator While It’s Running?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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What affects a backup generator’s fuel consumption?

What affects a backup generator’s fuel consumption?

Backup generators: we don’t really think about them until load shedding kicks in. When we are using them, few of us give thought to how much fuel they are using to keep our lights and plug points working. With petrol and diesel prices skyrocketing in South Africa, it’s good to know that there are ways to save money on your generator’s fuel. This article is taking a look at what affects a backup generator’s fuel consumption:

ARTICLE: Backup Generator vs. Emergency Generator

Type of generator

The type of generator you have will influence its fuel consumption, since generators come in many sizes and output capacities. Smaller, portable generators used only to power certain appliances and devices use considerably less fuel per hour than larger generators powering whole buildings or groups of buildings. Newer generators feature more modern technology than older ones. Modern generators are built to be fuel efficient, so if your generator is ancient, it will likely consume more fuel than a new generator.

Generator fuel

Backup generators also run on a variety of fuels. Some generators are multi fuel, meaning they can operate on two or more types of fuel. When it comes to fuel consumption, we could argue that the generator which burns through fuel the slowest is more fuel efficient. Diesel burns slower than any other fuel type, making diesel generators some of the most efficient you’ll find. Natural gas generators, in contrast, burn fuel at much faster rates than diesel, which renders them less fuel efficient.

Generator load

The final consideration when looking at what affects a backup generator’s fuel consumption is load. This refers to the number of appliances, devices, and other electricity-requiring things a generator needs to power when in operation. Generators that struggle to power what they need to will burn through their fuel tanks much faster than others. When a generator can comfortably handle its load without having to be pushed to its limits, it won’t be as thirsty for fuel.

ARTICLE: Will using a generator damage my electrical equipment?

Generator maintenance, repairs & installations

For any generator-related needs you have in South Africa, think S&A Generators. We’ve been generator specialists for decades, providing expert generator maintenance and generator repairs for clients across the country. Contact us for any generator installations, generator maintenance, generator repairs, and generator support you need – we look forward to serving you!

S&A Project: Diesel Generator Refilling in Escourt

S&A Project: Diesel Generator Refilling in Escourt

Load shedding, while easily managed when a business has a generator, can often cause major issues for South African businesses. Although, merely having a generator doesn’t mean a company’s load shedding woes are solved. We’ve seen many instances where a generator has been run for hours on end unsupervised, only to end up running out of fuel and becoming severely damaged. Refilling a generator before the fuel tank runs out is very important, which is why we are often called out to refill our clients’ generators. On 13 November 2019 we were called out to a client in Escourt who urgently needed a diesel generator refilling. Find out more about this project below:

The Problem

Due to long spells of load shedding occurring regularly in Escourt, KwaZulu-Natal, our client was running their generator almost throughout the day, every day. What other option do you have as a business owner when the lights go out? Due to the long periods of operation, the generator’s diesel tank quickly depleted. Since larger generators have very big fuel tanks, it’s difficult for business owners to source the amount of diesel needed to fill them. That’s where diesel generator specialists like us come in.

An image respresenting S&A Project: Diesel Generator Refilling in Escourt

An S&A Generators diesel fuel tank at the back of one of our vehicles.

The Solution

S&A Generators answered the call, and immediately dispatched Blessing, our generator refill specialist, to the client in Escourt. He made sure that his tank had enough fuel for the diesel generator refill, and that the pump was operational, before hitting the road. Blessing noticed when arriving at the client’s premises that the generator was almost completely out of fuel.

diesel generator refilling - assessing the level of diesel in the diesel tank

The lid is opened so that the generator refiller can access the pump and assess the meter.

The first step in the diesel generator refilling process is to position the S&A Generators vehicle so that it is close enough to the generator for the pump to reach. Then, the pump’s pipe is pushed through a window and extended to the generator. Now the refilling process can begin!

diesel generator refilling - running diesel pump out of window

Blessing is running the pump and the pipe out of the vehicle’s window so that he can reach the generator.

This generator refill took a total of two hours, as the generator’s fuel tank was of a high capacity. Once the tank was filled up, all that was left to do was to ensure that the generator was set to auto and wish the satisfied client farewell.

diesel generator refilling - diesel pump meter

Here the diesel pump’s meter displays how much fuel is left and ready for use in refilling jobs.