The Dangers Of Using A Generator Indoors

The Dangers Of Using A Generator Indoors

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

 

How Does a Diesel Generator Work?

How Does a Diesel Generator Work?

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.

Engine
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.

Alternator
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.

Fuel system
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.

Cooling system
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 system
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.

Lubrication system
The engine is lubricated with the help of an oil pump, oil filter and a reservoir. These are attached to the generator engine.

Starter
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.

Battery
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.

Will using a generator damage my electrical equipment?

Will using a generator damage my electrical equipment?

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:

  • 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.

  • Non-Inverter Generators

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!

Should you try connecting a generator to a DB board yourself?

Should you try connecting a generator to a DB board yourself?

Hmmmm… Should you try connecting a generator to a DB board yourself? Reducing the load on South Africa’s national electrical supply framework has been an area of much focus in recent years. Everyone knows what “load shedding” is, and it seems to have become part and parcel with living on the tip of Africa. Thank goodness for backup generators, right? The only problem is that many new generator owners think that installing a generator at home is going to be a simple task. Just plug it in and you’re good to go, right? Not quite, which is why we’ve written this article. So, how do you connect a generator to a DB board? Let’s find out:

Should you DIY a generator install?

The short answer to this question is a resounding NO. Too much can go wrong with electrical installations, which is why expert generator installers also furnish you with a certificate of clearance (CoC) to show that the installation has been carried out by a qualified electrician. You could DIY your generator install and then request a CoC from a third-party, but this is risky. You might have done something incorrectly, in which case you’ll have to pay the electrician to fix the issue – costing you more money and wasted time.

General electrical safety precautions

  • Wear non-conductive gloves when working with electrical components.
  • Make sure the electrical supply is turned OFF before beginning the install.
  • Consult with a professional generator installer before going ahead.
  • Ensure your generator contains fuel before hitting the START switch.

Call KZN’s generator experts

As mentioned above, electricity is NOT your friend. One wrong move can spell disaster, and even death, for anyone working on a house’s main electrical supply. When you partner with generator experts, you can rest easy knowing that your generator is being installed professionally – and that the install won’t take as long as it would take if you were to attempt connecting it yourself. About to purchase a new generator for your home? Chat to S&A Generators about getting it expertly installed!

Choosing the Right Generators for Your Building

Choosing the Right Generators for Your Building

How do you go about choosing the right generator? With load shedding still a very real risk in South Africa, finding the right power generators has become more important than ever. Generators used in a residential building are very different to those used in commercial buildings. The simplest way to determine the best generator size and capacity is to first consider your requirements and power usage on a day to day basis. Just taking size into account, generators typically come in three sizes – small (2kW to 7kW), medium (8kW to 20kW), and large (20kW to 40kW). The size of the generator will come down to the type of building and the average power needs.

There are a few other things that you will need to consider, too. In this short guide, we share some advice on how to select the right power generators for your specific type of building so that you can avoid loss of power in the event of scheduled or unscheduled power cuts.

How to Go About Choosing the Right Generators

Wondering which generator is the best choice for your building? Here are some of the things to consider when choosing power generators.

Residential Buildings

Smaller kVH generators are best suited for residential buildings. Backup or standby generators for houses are usually smaller and often portable. They are designed to provide power for light-to-moderate usage of various appliances that residential property would require. To determine the exact size, you would need to think about the items in your home that require the most amount of electricity. It’s best to consider the startup current as well as running power to make sure that larger items such as pool pumps do not overload the system when starting up.

Loads you will need to consider powering with your generator could including anything from lighting in kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms, and other rooms to plug points for appliances and devices, larger kitchen appliances such as fridges and freezers, smaller appliances such as kettles and microwaves, televisions and any related appliances, garage door openers, computers, and security systems such as alarms, electric fencing, and outdoor lighting.

Industrial & Commercial Buildings

For most commercial and industrial buildings, whether factories or retail outlets or businesses, larger generators are often a better solution. You will need to be able to fully power your business premises, store or commercial site in the event of a power cut. You will also need to run continuously until power returns. These generators are larger, with features such as automatic operation. This means that generators kick in as soon as the power goes out; shutting down once the power comes back on again. For any type of business, this is crucial to avoid downtime. If there are any gaps between power going out and generators going on, computers, security, lighting, and industrial machines run the risk of not running, which can cause major problems.

Although generators can be used to power the entire building, they can also be used for a single purpose. For example, standby generators could be used specifically for elevators, fire safety systems, emergency lighting, sump pumps or other essential services that cannot risk being offline at any point. For these systems, a large generator of at least 100kW is recommended. Smaller buildings may have different requirements depending on requirements and daily power usage. Smaller retail buildings may only need to power appliances and machines such as computers, security systems, and lighting, and may not require the same level of power as a large-scale factory, for example.

What size generator is needed to power a house?

Ultimately, the best way to ensure that you have the right sized generator for your building is to speak to a specialist who can offer advice according to your individual requirements. Here at S&A Generators, we work with a wide range of residential and commercial clients, offering a range of generators in Durban to suit every need. Contact us today for expert advice on choosing the right generator for your building.