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Watch that generator temperature
An engine has to be warm to start

Generator manufacturers recommend an engine heater be installed on all automatic starting systems. This means gas or diesel, liquid cooled or air cooled. Some automatic heating method can always be arranged. The simplest is the coolant heater found on most generators.

Life Safety Code takes it a bit further:

  • If the generator is located inside a building, the generator room temperature may not fall below 50°F. NFPA 99, 1999 edition 3- (This is important for air-cooled and city water cooled systems)

  • If the engine is liquid cooled, the coolant heater must keep the water jacket temperature above 90°F. NFPA 99, 1999 edition 3- (Most engines have a closed loop liquid system that adapts very well to coolant heaters.)

Note: Engine temperature is a performance requirement. This applies to all generators.

  • A Low temperature Alarm is required in the remote annunciator for all healthcare facilities all the way back to NFPA 76A, 1970 edition. This alarm must come on if the system temperature falls below the parameters listed above. Also, there must be visual indication of a low coolant temperature condition on or near the engine - the control panel would be nice. See NFPA 99, 1999 edition chapter 3- 1 and look all the way back to NFPA 76A, 1970.

Be Careful!

Generators and automatic transfer switches as well as their appurtenant devices employ high voltages that can hurt you. Do not attempt to work with this equipment unless you are qualified. Observe all rules and cautions found in the manufacturer’s manuals as well as NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

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