Industrial generator buyers usually buy a generator that can oversupply capacity as a general rule of thumb. We usually give this advice as a licensed generator services provider in Queensland because it will cover all your bases for usage, performance, and efficiency. Just because your generator can support high capacity loads it doesn’t mean that it should be overloaded. They are only designed to take an overload condition for a very short time during the start-up of large element motors. Frequent or prolonged overloading can change how reliable your generator is when it’s time for it to kick in when the power goes out or whenever you need it most. This means that generator overloads can put your business at risk, and you need to be able to spot the signs of a generator overload and have it checked by a generator servicing technician immediately.
Signs that you overloaded the generator
1. A sudden drop in power production
If your generator is suddenly less able to generate the amount of power you usually need from it, this is the first sign that it’s been overloaded. This happens because your generator is used to producing a smaller amount of power, but the generator ends up using more power than necessary to produce the same amount. The work done by the generator is then cut in half because you are overloading the engine and it can lead to poor performance. As soon as you notice this, you have to use professional maintenance and repair operators to fix any problem that could develop into something dangerous.
Is your generator louder than usual? Is it starting to feel hotter from pumping the equipment more than it usually does? Or are you just noticing that the fans are running extra fast because it is desperately trying to cool itself? These are also indications that your industrial generator is being overloaded. One possible reason why overheating occurs is due to the lack of protection from a circuit breaker. Generator overloading can also cause inconsistent power generation and in some cases not start up at all. Some instances of overloading can be healthy for your generator, like how load bank testing is important for your industrial generator.
3. Soot and black smoke
If you notice soot in the exhaust or black smoke in the exhaust of your generator it may be a cause for concern. A dark exhaust is normal because your generator will produce carbon particles but if you can touch and see leftover soot, then you have a problem with your hands. Potential reasons for why there is leftover soot in the exhaust can include things like poor filtering or a clog. But regardless of the reason, it’s a bad sign and it’s because there’s a defect in the generator.
What will happen if I overload my generator?
- Overloading your generator could lead to a fire or even an explosion because it will overheat. Long periods of overheating are known to cause the equipment to catch fire in one way or another. This is especially likely if you have a gas tank nearby or you spot a spark – then an explosion might happen soon and it’s time to get your generator checked before it happens. Even before you get to the point of sparks, you should have your unit regularly tested to keep up with Queensland Work Safe testing regulations for electrical equipment.
- If your generator is overloading it is definitely damaging its own equipment, it is probably causing damage to the other machinery receiving power from it.
- Overloading will reduce the lifespan of your generator. Generators that operate above capacity or start to overheat regularly will burn out the alternator and other important parts. A burnout is sure to shorten the life of your equipment and of the generator as a whole.
- The oil viscosity (thickness) will breakdown and result in low oil pressure and most probable costly engine failure
Why is load bank testing important?
Even though overloading your generator is a bad idea, in controlled situations with a professional generator technician, it can be an effective way to find any faults in the equipment which may need servicing or determine whether it’s time for a replacement. The team at Reactive Generators is on standby to help with this for industrial property owners in Brisbane, Ipswich, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
How do you stop a generator from overloading?
No matter what, you shouldn’t allow your generator to exceed its maximum output wattage. Follow the recommended capacity loads printed on the generator and in the manufacturer’s guide. This capacity recommendation is based on how the generator will produce electricity via the alternator and the engine’s power to drive the alternator. Using a higher load capacity therefore will affect the alternator and the engine’s ability to power it. There’s also a chance of the breaker tripping and this will cause your generator to turn off in moments that you need it most. The circuit breaker will tolerate the starting wattage, but not past a few seconds.
The best way to prevent overloading or other dangerous generator use. You should use a local generator servicing expert to provide regular maintenance. You can also refer to the owner’s manual that probably came with the installation of your industrial generator. Get familiar with the dos and don’ts of regular maintenance and memorize or pay special attention to the manufacturer’s suggestions for oil, air filter replacement and routine cleaning. Keeping your generator well serviced will help to avoid overload and ensure that you get optimum performance from it when you need it most.
The next thing you can do is to make sure that your industrial generator isn’t being overloaded by power requirements that are too large for what it is able to produce. You may have bought a unit that is too small for your place of work or industrial site and that is usually the main cause of generator overloading. All you have to do is use it for less equipment on the property or you may have to consider upgrading it to a more suitable model.