Mission-Critical Generator Maintenance

Diesel generator maintenance is essential for mission-critical facilities. Mission-critical infrastructures are required to operate properly, and if interrupted, the business’ operations will be significantly impacted. Mission-critical standby systems, such as generators, provide power to vital operations power systems (COPS) for public safety, national security, or business continuity. Most people associate mission-critical infrastructures with various government and military bases, but they also encompass prisons, data centers, and hospitals.

Unfortunately, many mission-critical facilities may not understand the importance of maintenance and proper function of their generators. Hospitals and healthcare centers need to especially be aware that their generators are in excellent working order.

Healthcare Facility Emergency Preparedness

Healthcare system facilities are required to have backup generators, which are often powered by diesel fuel. Most healthcare facilities follow the Joint Commission standards, an organization that has created the standards required for certification and accreditation of healthcare systems.

Healthcare system facilities are in the business of helping people. To do that, without interruption, they are required to have backup generators. Backup generators require clean fuel to run properly

The Joint Commission mandates that healthcare facilities must inspect, test, and maintain operating components of utility systems in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations.

“When patients are relying on the emergency room, the emergency room relies on us.” states Allen Richard of Clean Fuels Associates, an industry leader in state-of-the-art fuel cleaning technology.

When it comes to emergency preparedness, hospitals and other types of healthcare facilities believe their generators will properly function because they have tested them according to manufacturer’s instructions. But, what they may not take into consideration is that while the generator may initially turn on, it may in a short time, malfunction due to problems with the fuel tank and pump system. They may also encounter issues with the actual diesel used to fuel the generator.

The NFPA 110 is The Standard for Health Care Facilities. The NFPA 110 legally requires that certain regulations of backup power be met consistently across the country. They regulate the length of time in which a backup emergency power supply is required to maintain reliable power and the quality of emergency backup power available.

According to Allen Richard, “Many times I am told by the facility manager that they have a maintenance contract on the generator and they believe the generator service company is doing the fuel polishing. Usually the generator company has a much smaller portable filtering unit which is not sufficient. It’s critical that I refer to the D975 Test results attained after the fuel polishing process. The facility manager can then use those test results during any accreditation inquiry.”

When Fuel Goes Bad

There are two main enemies of diesel fuel: water vapor and bacteria. Water vapor condenses in fuel tanks, which creates conditions for microbial growth. This can result in severe microbial contaminations of the fuel system.

Microbial contamination of fuel is caused by both bacteria and fungi, which need food and water to survive. In the case of the fuel tank, diesel is their food. Given the fact that oil and water do not mix, the best place for microorganisms to congregate is the fuel-water interface, which is at the bottom of the fuel tank.

There are many negative effects of microbial growth in fuel tanks which can include reduced combustion efficiency and plugged fuel filters, which may cause the system to run poorly or even malfunction. Therefore, if you have contaminated fuel and tanks, it could lead to complete power failure.

How it Affects Hospitals

In hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and nursing homes, there are life-saving machines that cannot tolerate a second of interrupted power without potentially putting patients’ lives in jeopardy. There have been instances where critical emergency medical centers experienced complete power outages due to malfunctioning generators. In those situations, patients and personnel had to be evacuated after multiple electrical and mechanical systems failed, putting lives at extreme risk.

Fortunately, there is a solution for healthcare facilities, and other mission critical centers, to ensure that their generator fuel system will function properly in case of emergencies.

Clean Fuels Associates has a large presence in the healthcare industry, helping prepare hospitals to have the standards and safeguards in place to keep running. With years of knowledge and expertise implementing the NFPA 110 regulations, Clean Fuels’ presence has helped to establish a safe standard of backup power supplies throughout the United States. Our routine fuel maintenance makes certain that generator fuel is appropriately preserved over the months and years that the generators sit unused.

“When talking to a hospital there are several different reasons for utilizing our services.”comments Christian Dahlby of Clean Fuels Associates. “Doctors will not send their patients to a hospital that is not accredited. Part of that policy states that they must have a preventative maintenance program for the whole facility, within that program they are required to have a PM program for their bulk fuel and tanks. Joint commission refers to NFPA-110 as a basis for the program.”

Proper and thorough fuel tank maintenance is crucial for trouble-free operation of the diesel engines fueled by these tanks. Monthly maintenance could save your facility money when faced with an emergency situation. It guarantees that your tanks are prepared to fuel your backup power generators, and avoid any unexpected, costly emergency reactions. More importantly, it protects the lives of those entrusted to your facility.

Contact Clean Fuels Associates today to schedule an inspection of your generators’ fuel tanks.