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Load bank testing – being prepared for storms and power outages

A power outage is not the time you want to find out that your generator isn’t working correctly. Load bank testing is an essential part of home generator maintenance and is not something that should be missed. By periodically testing your system, you can be assured that in the event of a blackout your generator is going to perform.

Why should you test your system?

As a standby generator, it’s likely your backup power system is going to be idle for long periods of time. By starting up your system on a regular basis you are able to ensure that everything is in full working order, and any parts that may require replacing can be fitted. When it comes to an actual outage scenario you’ll know your system is running smoothly. Any problems highlighted during load bank testing and servicing will be significantly less expensive to fix than the entire system breaking down.

With Chicago being right on the edge of tornado alley, we are guaranteed severe storms during spring and summer. With storms comes an hugely increased threat of power outages and it’s not uncommon for properties to be without power for extensive time periods.

Northshore Power Electric provides home generator services to all areas of Chicago including Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness and Northbrook. Throughout the years we have seen first-hand the importance of home generator systems, particularly when the storms hit. If you have a system in place getting it tested regularly is the only way that you can guarantee it can be relied upon.

How often should you get your system load bank tested?

Good practice would be to perform a monthly visual check on your system, this is something that you can do yourself and will only take five minutes. This will enable you to identify an external damage lose connections or anything that is going to obstruct the performance of the generator.

With regards to functionally, as a minimum your generator should be started up and ran at 30% for period of at least thirty minutes every three months. This regular testing will keep engine parts lubricated, prevent oxidation of electrical contacts, consume fuel before it deteriorates, and enable reliable engine starting when required.

Annually your home generator should be load bank tested at above 75% for a period of at least 1 hour. This gives the generator a full run out and will identify any problems that are likely to occur during prolonged usage.

How does a load bank test work?

In order to load bank test your home generator installation an artificial load is placed on your generator. This simulates a real life scenario in which your generator could be required to perform at its maximum capacity. The test will be timed and recorded as the kW load is increased at specific intervals, eventually reaching your specific generators maximum level.


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