While bankruptcy may be stretching things too far, you know that two days can make all the difference between profitability and non-profitability. And just because the electricity meter stops running doesn’t mean that other operating expenses stop. The bank will need its mortgage payment while the workers will be demanding their salaries at the end of the month.
Standby generators are now more affordable than ever and very reliable when there is a power outage. They can pay for themselves in 1-2 power outages, making them a cost effective asset. Investing in a standby generator will not only keep the business flowing, but it will also keep customers during a blackout. But how do you choose a standby generator for your business?
Essential Systems and Power Requirements
The first step towards choosing a standby generator involves taking stock of what your business needs to keep running. This may include anything from HVAC systems and industrial equipment to major appliances like sprinkler system pumps, well water pumps, computers, lights, freezers, refrigerators and more. Identify the systems that only need to run during business hours and the ones that run throughout. This will give you a good idea of how much power your business requires, thus helping you choose a generator that matches those needs.
Generator Fuel Source
Commercial-grade standby generators are powered either by natural gas or diesel fuel. Bi-fuel generators that use both diesel and natural gas are also available. Each of the above fuel options has their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Many prefer bi-fuel generators as they are EPA compliant right from the factory. Diesel generators are a good option for business that use a lot of power or areas where natural gas isn’t readily available. The main advantage of natural gas is that it saves you plenty of money in the long-term. Liquid propane back-up generators are common, but should only be an option for small businesses with minimal power needs.
Utility Requirements and Building Codes
It is also important to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations that govern the use of backup generators. The local building departments and utility companies are a good place to start. You need to check the specific requirements use of manual or automatic transfer. Make sure you understand the mechanical disconnecting means that help ensure safety of personnel working to restore electricity in the building. Keep in mind that your backup generator should be installed by a professional in accordance with electric and building codes.
Generators are broadly classified into two types i.e. single phase and three phase. Single phase generators produce 240 volts, which is sufficient for home and small business use. Three phase generators are good for businesses that require a lot of electricity. Whether you are choosing a single phase or three phase standby generator depends a lot on what you get from your utility provider. Remember that the higher the capacity, the more circuits a generator can power simultaneously.
Many businesses choose a generator that they can afford, and understandably so. And while purchasing a cheap unit may seem to make financial sense, you should take care not purchase something that’s low quality. It will only cost you more money due to frequent repairs in the long run.