Running a chiller on generator power

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Although it is generally not recommended you run a chiller on generator power, this article may act as a list of requirements you will need if you intend on doing so.

Running a chiller on generator power can be problematic and is not recommended as a general rule.

In a commercial/industrial environment, end users tend to hook up multiple loads to a single generator. As loads come on and off line, substantial power fluctuations in the generators output can occur. These fluctuations can cause abnormal stress on motor windings resulting in damage.

For sites that require emergency generator power, such as airports or medical facilities, great care must be taken in selecting the proper type and capacity generator.

End users who need their Legacy Chiller Systems to operate on generator power are advised to:

1. Make sure the generator can produce 125% of the total circuit FLA.

2. Make sure the generator has the capability of line conditioning that will assure clean power delivery to loads. Conditioning should include voltage, phase and harmonic protection. Overall, the generator should deliver power that meets or exceeds power standards of the local utility.

3. Install phase monitors on all critical mechanical equipment. Legacy Chiller Systems offers and excellent voltage and phase protection module (see below) that can be installed either at the factory prior to shipment or field retrofit. IMPORTANT: FAILURE OF A CHILLERS ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS BY WAY OF GENERATOR OPERATION IS NOT COVERED BY THE LIMITED WARRANTY.

4. Purchase insurance coverage for loss of equipment related generator power issues. If your facility requires deployment of generators, it would be advisable to contact your commercial insurer regarding a loss rider that covers for equipment damage caused by a generator.

Discussion: Most utility companies are required to meet minimum standards when power is delivered by way of normal utility owned transmission lines also known as “The Grid”. As part of the contract to sell power within a municipality, utility companies are required to warrant against equipment damage should the delivered power fall outside the agreed standards. Systems running on generator power would obviously bypass this coverage. For this reason, supplemental insurance to cover such damage is highly recommended.



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