Each year, businesses in the United States lose a massive $27 billion as a result of power outages.
Regardless of the kind of business you operate, any time spent without electricity means money lost.
There are many reasons power outages occur, including bad weather and equipment failure.
To protect your business from the losses arising from these outages, you can consider buying a generator.
In this comprehensive guide, we tell you all you need to know on how to buy a generator for your business needs.
Before we get started, let’s first look at how a commercial power generator differs from a home generator.
Differences Between a Commercial Generator and A Home Generator
The top differences between generators designed for commercial use and those designed for home applications relate to capacity, size, ruggedness, voltage regulation, features, and cost.
Home generators are typically used as a power back up and have light-to-moderate demands when it comes to wattage.
These generators are generally smaller in size and tend to be portable. In most cases, a home backup generator isn’t designed to run continuously for a long time.
Commercial generators are generally larger, stationary, and costlier.
These generators can provide continuous power till the restoration of power supply.
The components of a commercial generator tend to be more rugged compared to their household counterparts.
Now that we’ve looked at some of the key differences between commercial and home generators, how do you choose the best generator for your business?
Here’s How to Buy a Generator That’s Ideal for Your Business
The right commercial generator can ensure that your business stays up and running in the event of an emergency.
Use the following tips to make the right decisions.
Think of the Capacity You Need
The top factor when you’re choosing a generator that’s right for your business is to determine the amount of power your business requires to conduct normal operations.
You can work with an electrical professional to calculate the wattage your business needs.
This way, it’s easier to determine the generator capacity you’re going to invest in.
Small businesses that require power for lights and office equipment have much lower wattage demands than industrial facilities.
But whether you run a small business or a large industry, you should never underestimate your power needs.
You want to avoid unwanted work stoppages or damage to your equipment.
Generally, it’s best to use caution as you calculate your power needs.
Keenly review your electric bills over the past year.
Check the highest wattage you used in a month, and increase it by at least 25%, so you have some reserve.
Think About the Effects of Voltage Dips
The best commercial generators have automatic voltage regulation.
This feature takes care of any surges or drops that occur in input voltage as the generator is running.
These variations usually happen when electrical motors are starting or stopping.
The equipment you use in your business comes with varying levels of tolerance for input voltage dips.
You want a generator that’s large enough to handle the highest allowable voltage drop.
Consider Location and Environmental Factors
Each generator has specific guidelines when it comes to environmental factors that may impact airflow to the engine or heat dissipation.
These factors can significantly affect the performance of your generator.
They include altitude, humidity, ambient temperature, and proximity to buildings.
Keep in mind that operating your generator outside the design specifications can lead to reduced power output.
Generally, you should locate the generator as close to electrical wiring that’s coming into your building as possible.
This way, it’s easier to install automatic transfer switches that handle switchover between utility power to generator power.
Think of the Engine Fuel Options
One of the best things about commercial generators is that they come in a large variety of engine fuel types.
- Diesel fuel: diesel generators are the most popular of all commercial generators. They are incredibly efficient, durable, low-maintenance, and can run well in winter conditions. Diesel can stay onsite for up to two years.
- Gasoline: one of the biggest benefits of gasoline generators is that they’re economical to run. Gasoline is also readily available, apart from when there are emergencies and the fuel is in high demand. The biggest challenge is that the fuel is highly flammable when stored on site.
- Natural Gas: the major factor when it comes to natural gas engines is whether there’s a natural gas line available in your business. If not, then you’ll need to store fuel onsite. Natural gas is impervious to the ambient temperature.
- Propane: the two biggest benefits of propane is that the storage time of the fuel is unlimited and that the fuel is clean burning. However, the cost can be prohibitive both in terms of fuel cost and storage.
- Dual Fuel: dual fuel generators run on both diesel and natural gas. They’re a good option because you always have a backup source of fuel. These generators, however, tend to be more expensive.
Think of the Noise Level and Vibration
Every generator makes noise and vibrates to a certain extent.
The main source of this noise is the exhaust. Of course, it’s possible to reduce this noise using a good-quality muffler, or by building a generator enclosure.
Think of where your business is located.
If it’s in an industrial area, then noise level and vibration may not be a factor.
But if your business is in a residential area, then you want a generator that doesn’t produce much noise, unless you’re ready to invest in a noise reduction mechanism.
Consider Generator Features
There are many additional options that can enhance the efficiency, productivity, and safety of a commercial generator.
Many of these features are found in online generator reviews.
Consider such features as safety switches, mounting pads, display options, and remote monitoring while purchasing your generator.
Generally, the more features you can find in a generator, the better it is.
A Commercial Generator Can Help Keep Your Business Running
Now that you know how to buy a generator for your business, it’s time to make the investment.
Keep in mind that the success of your business depends on the ability of your equipment to function well at all times.
The right commercial generator can protect you from the disruptions that arise from power outages.
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