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Mistakes when buying a generator

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Commercial Generator

Whether you’re running a massive mining operation or a food truck at a local market, generators provide a constant source of electricity. They allow you to continue operating even in the face of events like blackouts, wild weather conditions or damage to power lines. But what’s better than hiring a generator? Having your own in-house generator ready to go whenever you need it.

Power outages are more common than average in industries like mining, which typically operate in remote areas far from main power grids and population centres. The long distances required to send electricity to mines can result in voltage drops, power loss and weather-related outages. In sectors like mining, construction, factories and commercial buildings, generators provide security in your power supply even when the going gets tough. In fact, the global diesel generator market share is growing continuously due to the longevity, durability and reliability of these machines.

If you’re wondering what you need to know before buying a generator, Total Generators can assist you. With over 25 years in the generator industry providing power to high-profile partners, our team knows what to look for when buying a generator and what you should avoid. We can even help you determine the best generator to buy.

The Common Mistakes When Buying a Generator

Despite the clear benefits of commercial and industrial generators for your organisation, there are some common mistakes to avoid when you’re shopping for a generator, including:

Buying from a second-rate dealer

Disreputable sellers rely on buyers who haven’t done their research in order to cut corners with quality. When you’re looking for the right generator, pay attention to a range of factors, including the dealer’s reputation, how long they’ve been in business and their online reviews. Trust your instincts: everything from a company’s online presence to their track record will provide you with clues to their quality standards.

Not testing the generator

Trying before you buy is always a wise move. Before you commit to a purchase, test the generator under a full load to see if it has any problems that might compromise its performance. Running the generator through different load steps will give you a clear idea of whether or not it can cope with the demands of your work environment.  

Buying without a power audit

An energy audit helps you determine the size and capacity of the generator you need by assessing the energy requirements of the devices you plan to power. Your generator should be powerful enough to handle the load of all your equipment but not so large that it causes problems like carbon buildup or “wet stacking.” A power audit will let you know the wattage and ampere of the generator you need so you can make the purchase that best suits your requirements.

Buying without a load test

Buying a generator without load testing is risky. Load testing ensures the generator can handle the required power output under actual operating conditions. Without it, you may face unexpected failures, inefficiency, or even damage to your equipment during critical times, leading to costly repairs and downtime.

Not reading the terms and conditions

Different generator sellers will have their own warranties, return policies and other fine print. Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions before you make your choice.

What to Consider When Buying a Generator

Mistakes when buying a generator

If you want an appropriate generator for your business that won’t let you down when all else fails, you can’t neglect the following factors:

Power requirements

Your power requirements are the total of everything you intend to power with your generator, including equipment, appliances and lighting. Your generator needs to consistently supply enough energy to meet all your power demands, which are significant in industries like mining, manufacturing, hospitals and healthcare facilities, agriculture and oil and gas. Consider how much starting and running power you need and whether you need single-phase or three-phase power.

Fuel requirements

Commercial generators can run on diesel, gasoline, natural gas, solar or liquid propane. All of them have their own pros, cons, cost and availability, which may be more or less suitable for you based on the location of your worksite.

Noise level

It’s no secret that generators are noisy. You’ll need to consider the noise restrictions in your location, particularly if you’re working close to a residential area. You’ll also need to consider the impact of generator sound on your own worksite and staff and choose a lower-decibel model if you require it.  

Running time

An easy-to-overlook but no less crucial consideration is how long you’ll be running your generator per session. Many generators are not intended to be run for hours at a time. If you plan to use your generator for extended lengths of time, you’ll likely need a different model than one you intend to run in emergencies only.

Why Load Testing Is Crucial

While most generators can run at levels lower than their total rated output capabilities allow, this causes problems over time. Carbon slowly builds up in the combustion chambers and exhaust system of a lightly loaded generator, and the generator also develops “wet stacking.” This compromises the efficiency of the exhaust system and reduces its life cycle while fouling up the fuel injectors and engine valves. It also slows down the engine’s performance and increases oil and fuel consumption.

A load bank prevents these problems by loading the engine to the correct operating temperature burning off excess oil and carbon. It also confirms that the generator’s engine horsepower and alternator amperage are dependable. Load banks are used to test the power output of a generator by simulating electrical loads on the power supply, switchgear and distribution system. This helps ensure that your generator is adequate to handle your power needs.

You should carry out a load test before you buy a generator and at regular intervals after that to catch problems early and improve its lifespan.

Find Your Perfect Generator at Total Generators

Mistakes when buying a generator

If you’re looking to purchase a generator, Total Generators can provide you with the right one.

With locations in Brisbane, Cloncurry, Moranbah (QLD) and Katherine (NT), we’re your one-stop shop for generator sales and power equipment supplies. We stock generators from some of the industry’s best manufacturers, including Cummins, Scania, Powerlink and Denyo, and we have easy-to-use models for all industries and budgets. We’re happy to take you through our range and provide you with recommendations.

Our options for generators to buy include mining, standby, renewable energy, construction, and industrial generators, all with quality you can count on. We provide load bank testing for generators, routine servicing and maintenance, remote monitoring and 24/7 emergency support. For many utility providers, remote mining camps, construction professionals, film production companies and other large-scale project managers, we’re the energy supplier of choice.

For more information on what you need to know before buying a generator, or help finding the right one, contact the Total Generators team

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