In relation to back up generators, a transfer switch is a device that switches a building’s electricity supply from commercial power to generator power, and vice versa. All large-scale generators have transfer switches, which are either manual or automatic, and typically operate in one of two scenarios: break before make, in which commercial power is de-accessed prior to generator power being accessed; and make before break, in which generator power is accessed prior to commercial power being de-accessed. In generators that serve large businesses and organizations, transfer switches usually operate automatically, with an onsite computer that detects signs of an impending power outage in the commercial power supply triggering them into action.
Transfer Switch Services: Performing the Right Transfer Switch Maintenance
There are several areas of maintenance that are critical to ensuring generators’ reliability, with transfer switch maintenance often regarded as the most crucial, as the switches-also referred to as switchgear-are the apparatuses that access and de-access generator power. In some cases, entities carry out their own switchgear maintenance, while in others they hire power service suppliers to perform maintenance on a scheduled basis. In either case, proper transfer switch maintenance consists of at least the following two measures.
1. Maintaining Proper Switchgear Environment
The first step in switchgear maintenance is to keep the environment surrounding it as clean and well repaired as possible. When conducting a checklist, be sure to check for the following evidence of improper switchgear environment: signs of water entering the room where the generator resides; evidence of oil leaking from the generator’s equipment; and evidence of sooting on and around the generator. These elements can lead to oxidization and grime that could sabotage the gear’s operation.
2. Checking the Condition of Switchgear
Upon examining the gear itself, check for the following signs that a switch or certain elements surrounding it need to be repaired or replaced: leaks coming from the gear; evidence that the gear is corroded; and damaged or missing labels that once attended the gear. As an extra precaution, also check the condition of additional equipment such as control panels, batteries, padlocks, chargers, and key exchange interlocks that surround the gear.
Depending on your building’s power needs, having emergency power supply equipment in the event of a power outage could be a luxury or a necessity. But regardless of your electricity needs, the key to accessing back up power in the first place is maintaining transfer switches. Without proper maintenance to transfer switches-and to other parts, for that matter-companies can get left in the dark when they need their generators most. If you have one more emergency back up generators that currently receive sporadic maintenance, protect your investment and peace of mind by contracting with a power services supplier for regular generator maintenance today.