Load Bank Testing For Standby Generator Sets

An investment in a standby generator set offers many benefits, including availability of emergency power, compliance with important ordinances and regulations and peace-of-mind.

To ensure that you’ll have the proper emergency power when you need it, periodic load bank testing is ideal. Include it in your preventative maintenance plans for that added measure of security.

Frequent vs. Annual Testing of Generator Sets

Frequent testing – The National Fire Protection Association’s Standard 110 addresses requirements for the monthly operation of emergency and standby power systems. Compliance with Standard 110 helps to ensure that buildings and facilities will be adequately supplied with emergency power when the normal power source fails. Specifically, Standard 110 recommends that “generators should be exercised monthly at 30 percent of the nameplate rating or loaded to the minimum engine exhaust temperature recommended by the engine manufacturer.”

Annual testing – Although anyone with a standby power system should perform annual load bank testing, some systems are more vulnerable to problems. For example, standby generator sets that are run infrequently or with only minor loads are more likely to have issues with ill-timed engine shutdowns or cooling system failures. If you have a diesel generator, light loads will invariably increase undesirable components.

Therefore, annual load bank testing is important to:

  • Assess the generator’s capability at full output
  • Exercise and test components of the cooling system
  • Test engine safety shutdowns in real-world circumstances
  • Reduce carbon deposits in diesel generators

Regulations regarding the load bank testing of standby generator sets often suggest at least 10 starts of the generator’s engine and 10 auto transfer switch operations. Load banks are also used to randomly apply loads ranging from 10 percent to 100 percent of the system’s rated capacity. Appropriate load bank testing certifies results at 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent of rated load. It also determines the exhaust emissions and the rate of fuel consumption at those load ratings.

Avoiding Preventable System Failures

It is important to guarantee that your standby generator set will respond properly at startup. Load bank testing emulates the conditions created by a building load that typically occurs when a standby generator must suddenly deliver large amounts of emergency power.

Resistive testing will confirm that your system is capable of delivering the needed kW for successful startups. Rely on both resistive and reactive testing to ensure that your generator will meet the challenge when standby power is required. In this way, you’ll sustain operations by delivering critical electrical power to vital systems.

Schedule Periodic Load Bank Testing

Some building and facilities managers are lulled into a false sense of complacency by frequent testing under minimal load conditions. For most enterprises, annual load bank testing is ideal. Extended periods of low-load generator operation may lead to costly problems. Worse yet, the consequences are potentially dire if a generator set cannot deliver the required power in a high-load situation.

Regularly scheduled maintenance is always important in maximizing the performance and lifespan of your standby generator set. However, load bank testing is yet another important way to protect your bottom line.

Contact Us Today

The service technicians at Midwest Electric and Generator are capable of performing the proper load bank testing needed to ensure that your generator set is up to the task when emergencies occur. When tests indicate a need for repairs, we will work with you to minimize downtime. We can arrange for rental units that can meet your needs when more significant service or repairs is indicated.

Midwest Electric and Generator is your comprehensive source for generator sales, installation, service and maintenance. We are the only company you’ll require to address every kind of generator or electrical work. For additional information about load bank testing and all of our other generator services, please contact us.

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