Though some businesses require the full-time protection that a standby generator provides, others can withstand short power outages without significant consequences. But for longer outages, the ability to connect a portable generator can be quite helpful, allowing the business to continue operating during extraordinary events like natural disasters that may leave the facility out of power for days or longer. However, it will take some planning and preparation to connect your building to a portable generator safely. Here are the most important things you need to do first:
Determine Your Power Needs
Carefully consider what equipment and devices will be necessary to run your business during a power outage. Though you can find generators that will power even the largest business, they can be quite costly to rent or buy. Plus, generators of all types will be in high demand during a power outage or emergency. To determine the minimum capacity ratings you will need for a transfer switch, a tap box, power cords, and a portable generator, you need to add up the amperage or wattage of all the devices your business will need during a power outage. Amperage can usually be found listed on the device itself. If it’s not listed, wattage is simply the amperage multiplied by the voltage of the circuit.
Install a Transfer Switch
A transfer switch disconnects your building from the utility grid, then connects it to the generator. It protects your equipment from the damage that can occur if two power sources are connected simultaneously, plus it protects utility workers by ensuring that your generator cannot energize utility lines that they may be working on. A transfer switch can be used to switch a few critical circuits or the entire building to generator power depending on your needs, the type of transfer switch, and the generator’s output capacity. Both manual transfer switches and automatic versions are available, though automatic transfer switches are typically reserved for permanent generator installations.
Install a Tap Box
A tap box provides the input power for your building during a power outage. A cord from the generator plugs into the tap box, and power is then distributed from the generator through the tap box and transfer switch to the circuits you are powering. Choose a tap box that is rated for your total load and has the appropriate connector for your generator cord.
Select a Proper Cord
A heavy-duty cable is necessary to connect your generator to the tap box. Choose one that is rated for your loads and has the appropriate connectors for the generator and the tap box.
Select a Generator With the Proper Output Capacity
When it is time to rent or buy a generator, choose one that exceeds the requirements of your load total by at least 20%. Generators run most efficiently at 50% capacity, so choosing a generator rated at double your needs will not only be better on fuel, but it will leave you headroom to add more loads if your needs or circumstances change.
Powering Your Commercial Building
Once the preparations are made, powering your building from the generator is as simple as setting up the generator, plugging in the power cord, and switching the transfer switch over once the generator has started. Then you have power with no extension cords to trip over, and no dangerous hacks like double-male cords to power building circuits.
Transfer Switches & Tap Boxes for Commercial Applications
At PSI Control Solutions, we offer everything you need to install a safe, permanent connection to a portable generator for your business, from manual and automatic transfer switches to tap boxes, breaker boxes, power cables, complete generator docking stations, and more. We also feature innovative Cam-Lok® cords and tap boxes for a safe, secure electrical connection. Our North Carolina company has been serving commercial facilities throughout the United States since 1961.
Call us today at (704) 594-4107 or contact us online to learn how we can help keep your business running and profitable during power outages!