Emergency Power Systems

Emergency power systems, such as generators, must be inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with their manufacturer’s operation and maintenance instruction manual as well as standards and legislation laid out in the “Emergency Electrical Power Supply for Buildings” CAN/CSA C282, 6.7.1 NFC & OFC. 

Emergency power systems are expensive assets and are critical to maintaining safe building operation in the event of a power failure. With this in mind, there are several inspection points, tests and data that must be collected and recorded on a regular basis. 

Here are some general guidelines for emergency power system inspections and maintenance: 

  • Equipment must be tested and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance instruction manual
  • Maintenance work must be logged and kept in accordance with the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance instruction manual; logs must include: date work was completed, record of parts replaced, record of any unsatisfactory conditions and corrective procedures taken, verification that all switches/controls deactivated for safety prior to maintenance were restored · Must have enough fuel to operate for 8 hrs
  • A minimum of 2 manuals must be kept, which must contain mechanical and electrical drawings and instructions for operation and maintenance
  • Any special tools or gauges required for operation or maintenance must be stored in an easily accessible location
  • Before any maintenance work begins, precautions should be taken to deactivate all automatic and manual control devices for the parts where contact will be made
  • Signs should be visible noting that equipment is automatically controlled and may activate at any time 

Weekly (records required)
  • Ensure acceptable operation of fuel transfer pump
  • Check and record: fuel tank level, lubricating oil level, engine coolant, heaters and their lubricant and/or coolant levels
  • Check for evidence of leakage on the engine, generator, fuel tanks and cooling systems
  • Examine electric motor activation system including batteries for leakage, cleanliness, mounting and terminal security
  • Examine air motor system for pressure of air tanks, leakage of valves, operation of auxiliary engine and compressor and bleed off any condensation
  • Check louvre and control panel settings to ensure readiness for startup
  • Inspect standby batteries to ensure terminals are clean, dry, lubricated and clamps are secure · Check electrolyte level and specific gravity
  • Examine charger to ensure electrical connections are clean, float and equalize modes operate properly · On the engine, check governor control linkages and oil level, fuel pump oil sump, fan belts and protective devices · Inspect panel covers to ensure they are secure and annunciator lamps are operational 

Monthly (records required)
  • Check engine room ventilation systems for proper operation
  • Check brush operation for sparking · Check for bearing seal leakage · Perform a complete test on emergency electrical power supply system
  • Simulate a failure of normal supply. Make sure that engine-generator operates under (at least) 30% of rated load for 60 mins and that all automatic transfer switches operate under load 
  • Ensure the following types of auxiliary equipment are functional: radiator shutter control, coolant pumps, fuel transfer pumps, oil coolers and engine room ventilation controls
  • Record log readings of all instruments associated with engine and generator; confirm that all readings are normal
  • Complete system operation procedures; log and record as per manufacturer’s operation and maintenance instruction manual 

Every 6 months (records required)
  • Check and clean crankcase breathers, linkages and governor
  • Lubricate governor 

Annual (records required)
  • Check electrical connections at main circuit breaker switch
  • Ensure breaker is operational
  • Clean insulators and bushings
  • Check voltage regulator operation

A contractor or a representative of the manufacturer should perform inspections and maintenance on the engine, generator, control panel, transfer switch, liquid fuel and a 2 hr full-load test A contractor or a representative of the manufacturer should perform inspections and maintenance on the equipment every 2 years, 3 years and 5 years. 

Routine inspections and maintenance of emergency power systems will reduce hazards, prevent injuries and ensure due diligence. They will also ensure that these critical systems work when needed and will help prolong asset life. 

Implementing digital solutions for performing inspections and recording necessary information is an efficient way to ensure compliance in your building. If you are still filling out paper logs, contact a Tap Report representative to find out how you can digitize your records.