Automatic Transfer Switches are required for standby, back-up & emergency power installations. A Transfer switch is installed between a backup generator, incoming power and your business. A transfer switch continuously monitors utility power and when it senses an interruption it sends a signal to start the generator, when the generator is up to the proper speed, Hz and voltage the transfer switch transfers the load to the generator to provide emergency power. When utility power is restored and no interruptions have occurred for a set time, the transfer switch will then transfer back to utility power and send a signal to turn off the generator after a specified amount of cool down time with no load on the generator. A properly installed automatic transfer switch allows safely switching from utility power to emergency generator power while maintaining isolation of each source from the other. A transfer switch is required National Electric Code in all 50 states for back-up / emergency / stand-by generators and is an essential piece of safety equipment.
Generator set enclosures, If you are going to install a generator set outside your building you will need at least a weather protective or weather proof enclosure. The weather enclosure is designed to do exactly that keep the rain and snow out. Weather enclosures are typically used in industrial settings where there are no residential areas close by. If you are near a residential area check your local code to find out what the acceptable decibel rating (also known as dBa) is for your location. A sound attenuated enclosure is used reduce the noise / decibel / dBa as much as possible. Sound attenuated enclosures are longer and taller than weather enclosures, the additional space allows for insulation on the walls and ceiling of the enclosure. You will typically see a critical muffler installed on the inside of sound attenuated enclosures. Also to reduce the radiator fan noise the housing extends past the radiator and has a series of baffles to further deaden / reduce the noise. These typical enclosures cover the generator set only. An alternative would be to build a small framed building / shed and you could insulate the walls and ceiling and use louvers and or intake scoops. A framed building could be as large as needed as your site conditions allow, perhaps making enough room around the set for inspections and minor maintenance. We had a customer build a block wall type enclosure with a clay tile roof to fit in with their existing building design and style. We can provide new weather or sound attenuated enclosure with any of our new or used generator sets that we offer.
Sizing a back-up / standby / emergency diesel or natural gas generator set. The first step would be to find out your required load. Contact your electricity supplier and ask them for a copy of your average load and peak load over the last 12 months. You should also know the Amps of your incoming service. Once you have the load information size the generator so the peak load is about 75% of your generator rated output.
The #1 reason a generator fails to start is battery failure. Maintenance and inspection are critical. Make sure your charger has power and is working properly, sometimes the battery breaker becomes tripped shutting it off or is turned off for maintenance and not turned back on. Make sure there are no loose connections, clean the battery posts and connections as necessary. Batteries should be replaced with new ones every 3 years. I would recommend having an outside generator company do a semi-annual inspection and annual preventative maintenance. If the same company takes care of your generator set from day one they will have the full history to work from. If you take these steps your batteries will perform when you need them most, in an emergency.