What is the life expectancy of a Diesel Generator in South Africa? With service intervals between 200 and 500 hours, the ultimate life expectancy of an individual generator will depend on factors such as generator sizing, components, and preventive maintenance practices. These are crucial when you invest in a backup power system.
Generally, you would want to do a minor service at 50 hours, with an oil change being the most important.
After the initial service, you should consider a major service at 250-hour intervals, including an oil change, oil filter, air filter and fuel filter replacements.
Taking a closer look at life expectancy factors:
- Generator Sizing:
Size does matter when it comes to the efficiency of a diesel generator. Therefore, it is vital to determine the load size of the machines you plan to operate using the generator.
By using up to 90% of a generator’s load capacity, there is no doubt it will have an extended life expectancy, as it ensures that the generator will always acquire sufficient combustion pressure.
Conversely, under-loading a generator will negatively affect its life span and result in glazing. Diesel generators are designed to provide a specific amount of power and, as a result, run best under those conditions.
Pro Tip: Consult an industry expert for guidelines on correct sizing.
- Maintenance Practices:
A well-maintained generator will outlast a neglected one. The Complete maintenance of a generator involves:
- Changing the oil regularly
- Oil Filters
- Fuel filters
- Air Filters
- Radiator Coolant
- Battery Performance
- Checking performance
Pro Tip: Check if your generator produces any signs of smoke, or vibrations, consumes more fuel than before, or makes unusual sounds. These signs could indicate an underlying problem.
- Additional factors also include:
- The brand and quality of the generator
- The Generator engine’s size
- Environmental conditions
- Components and parts
- Quality of fuel used
Imagine reaping all the benefits of your investment; ultimately, you must know how to best care for and maintain your generator.
8 Proven ways to Increase your Commercial Generators’ life expectancy.
Regular oil checks
Changing the oil regularly in your generator will help you ensure it functions optimally.
Insufficient oil will result in parts not being lubricated enough to avoid damage.
We recommend servicing any size Perkins generator at 250-hour intervals after an initial 50-hour oil change.
Don’t skimp on quality fluids & Oils.
A diesel generator runs best with high-quality fluids, which include everything from the oil to the coolants used.
Low-quality fuel could result in countless issues like clogging and build-up in the carburettor; long-term effects could result in complete replacement.
Consulting the engine owner’s manual will provide you with all the information you need regarding oil type (e.g. 15W40) and coolant dilution, if any.
We recommend always using a well-known brand with tried and tested products.
Load bank testing
For a thorough analysis of your generator’s performance, you can conduct a load bank test to see if your generator is operating efficiently.
The testing forms part of preventative maintenance and allows technicians to see if a generator is functioning optimally. During a load bank test, an artificial load brings the engine to a specific internal pressure and operating temperature. The test exercises the generator to ensure it can run at its given kilowatt output.
Load bank testing benefits your generator, as it removes carbon build-up from the engine, verifies electrical connections and more. Load bank tests are also an excellent indicator to see if there are any potentially failing components in your generator.
Pro tip – Should your generator sit idle, we suggest running it under load for 30 minutes once or twice a month.
Avoid glazing/wet stacking.
Wet stacking prevention is crucial to the longevity of any generator, specifically in diesel generators, where unburned fuel leaks into the exhaust pipe, leaving dark & thick matter behind.
Wet stacking occurs when a diesel generator operates:
- Under 60% of its rate power load.
- Under incorrect fuel-to-air ratios.
- Too often or not often enough.
- Under incorrect temperatures.
Pro tip: Have your generator examined monthly for wet stacking and take preventative steps to avoid this problem.
Regular preventative maintenance
For optimal functioning, check the oil and coolant levels weekly and have an expert conduct a detailed inspection every 6 to 12 months.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Strictly follow the instructions given by your generator’s manufacturer for guidance on the following:
- Load size
- Fuel type
These instructions will ensure the best care and your generator will continue functioning when needed for the longest time.
Most importantly, the instructions will contain the general service & maintenance guidelines for generators.
In addition, certain manufacturers may have specific guidelines for keeping your generator in excellent condition.
Install your generator correctly.
Your generator will function best when installed correctly. Therefore, consider the following:
- Distance from DB (cable cost)
- Concrete plinth (rubber mat)
- Sufficient space to open service doors
- Exhaust direction/extension
The generator sound-attenuated canopy or container should have an adequately fitted outdoor cover to prevent any water, dirt, or dust from getting in the engine, reducing fuel degradation that causes various engine problems, from filter plugging to increased fuel burning.
Portable generators might be convenient due to being trailer mounted; however, just like stationary backup generators, it’s essential to keep the generator away from any air vents, windows, doors, and high-traffic areas.
Prioritise air quality
Because the diesel generator’s engine compresses air and injects it into the fuel supply, the air quality is crucial. Dust or debris can clog air filters, hampering the generator’s ability to function.
Clean and replace air filters regularly.
Your business’s success or failure lies in your power equipment’s functionality. Get an expert to advise on sizing the correct and most appropriate generator.
Most importantly, follow the general service & maintenance guidelines for diesel generators.
Specialists like Africa Power Equipment can assist you by analysing your system and measuring your needs and requirements to make the best recommendations to ensure your business stays powered up and thriving.