On August 14, 2003, southeastern Canada as well as eight northeastern U.S. states experienced the biggest blackout in North American history. It would take up to two days for all 50 million people to get power back. About 80% of all outages between 2003 and 2012 were caused by the weather, and there may be evidence something similar is happening in Ontario and British Columbia.

With an aging, vulnerable power grid and more volatile weather patterns, power outages will become more frequent, and having a backup power source will become a necessity. This is one of the reasons having a standby generator to power your entire home and business makes sense.

Residential and Business Costs of a Power Outage

When it comes to the cost of critical outages, businesses on average face more than CA$12 billion in related costs. While the numbers for business power outages are readily available, there are significant costs related to residential outages as well. Numerous households face millions in outage-related costs, including spoiled food and having to buy emergency supplies, such as firewood and flashlights. In many cases, families have to find alternative nightly accommodations and pay for mold removal, especially if there’s flooding.

How Standby Generators Work

Generators produce electrical energy using electromagnetic induction.  A Natural Gas, Diesel or Liquid propane engine is used to drive the alternator generating electric current for the Commercial and residential customer.

Main Differences Between a Residential and Commercial Generator

Size is more of a factor when it comes to a commercial standby generator. They can’t be air-cooled because they deal with so much power. Their big engines require more robust air conditioner systems in order to meet the continuous commercial demands. Unit dimensions run in feet rather than inches. For example, an 80 kW unit has an average length of eight feet, while megawatt systems can run at least twice that size.

To avoid jostling and jumping due to their immense engine power, commercial generators are fixed in place. They’re also quieter than home generators because they’re made with materials that mitigate vibration and dampen noise.

Commercial and Residential Standby Generator Maintenance

While they are known as standby generators, outside of emergencies, you need to run the unit to keep its systems serviceable. This operation happens automatically and is referred to as exercising. This regularly ensures the unit is running optimally and provides peace of mind that it will run when needed.

Maintenance is critical for the longstanding serviceability you require from your generator.  Standby units require battery tests, oil and fuel  filter changes,  oil changes, spark plugs, and often firmware upgrades. Lubrication, inspection and testing of output voltage and frequency are all part of the yearly maintenance required

For portable generators, it’s a good idea to check that fuel and gas don’t get stale. Stale fuel sitting in your generator will cause problems. Spark plugs, Fuel and air filters require replacing  at regular intervals. Without proper care your portable generator will not be ready to go when needed

Platinum Electrical Contractors provides comprehensive generator sales, installation, inspection and repair for residences and businesses across Ontario. We know the ins and outs of what it takes to maintain and extend the lifespan of your backup generator so it works when you need it. Contact us for your free quote.