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A Facility Manager’s Guide to Commercial Generator Maintenance Terminology

Being a facility manager comes with a set of responsibilities that extend beyond the day-to-day operations of a facility. One crucial aspect is the maintenance of commercial generators, ensuring they are ready to kick in when needed. To help you navigate the world of commercial generator maintenance, here’s a listicle breaking down key terminology every facility manager should know. Check out our generator maintenance guide below.

Load Bank Testing:

   – Definition: Load bank testing involves applying an artificial load to the generator to assess its performance under operating conditions.

   – Why it Matters: This test helps identify issues like fuel system problems and ensures the generator can handle its rated load.

Fuel Polishing:

 – Definition: Fuel polishing, sometimes called fuel scrubbing, is the process of removing contaminants and water from the generator’s fuel system.

 – Why it Matters: Clean fuel is essential for optimal generator performance and longevity.

ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch):

   – Definition: An ATS is a device that automatically transfers the electrical load from the primary power source to the generator during a power outage.

   – Why it Matters: Ensures seamless transition to backup power without manual intervention.

Coolant Heat Exchanger:

   – Definition: A device that transfers heat from the generator’s engine coolant to an external medium (usually air or water).

   – Why it Matters: Efficient heat exchange is crucial for preventing overheating and maintaining engine performance.

PM (Preventive Maintenance):

  – Definition: A planned maintenance schedule aimed at preventing equipment failures before they occur.

  – Why it Matters: Regular maintenance minimizes downtime and extends the lifespan of the generator.

Megger Testing:

   – Definition: Megger testing measures the insulation resistance of the generator’s electrical wiring and components.

   – Why it Matters: Identifies potential electrical issues and prevents short circuits.

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Standards:

    – Definition: NFPA standards provide guidelines for the installation and maintenance of generators to ensure safety and compliance.

    – Why it Matters: Adhering to NFPA standards is crucial for maintaining a safe and reliable backup power system.

This is a small sampling of the many terms you may hear when working with a professional generator service company like Duthie Power Services. If you ever don’t recognize the name of a part or the description of a service, it’s best to call our knowledgeable team for a more detailed explanation. Despite the technical nature of commercial generator maintenance, there is still jargon and variation from one technician to the next.

Educate Yourself with Online Research

There are also many blogs online with detailed glossaries showing the names and definitions of commonly used generator parts. As any “gearhead” knows, a quick Google search or YouTube search can generate hundreds of results with how-to videos and detailed explanations.  

Understanding these key terms will empower facility managers to make informed decisions regarding the maintenance of commercial generators. By staying on top of terminology and best practices, you can ensure that your facility’s backup power is always ready when it’s needed most.

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