Commercial Generator Buyer’s Guide

Purchasing a commercial generator can protect your assets and productivity in the aftermath of severe weather and long-term power disruptions. Costs can vary significantly depending on the size and type of system you choose, as well as where in the world you’re buying your generator from. Here are some considerations to keep in mind while you research the best generator for your needs.

Manual vs. Automatic

Smaller, more affordable systems suitable for providing temporary power to homes tend to be portable, manual, and need constant refueling. If your business has critical equipment that must continue running in the event of a power outage, then that system needs to be independent of employees who may be required to evacuate the area due to flooding or severe weather risks.

This means an automatic system with a fuel supply that will enable it to run for longer periods of time between fill-ups will provide a more reliable source of power than a manual residential generator.

How To Virtually Eliminate Technology Project Adoption Failure. Image by rawpixel from Pixabay
Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Critical Equipment

When determining the size and type of generator to get, you’ll first need to determine what equipment and systems must always remain running. This can include electronics and alarm or surveillance systems, HVAC systems, refrigeration systems, lighting, and production equipment. Keep in mind that storm-related equipment, including sump pumps and industrial fans, may need to operate if your site was exposed to flooding or water damage.

If a server room needs to stay running, so does the air-cooling system that keeps the temperature within operating limits. Windows may be boarded up or shuttered for protection from the weather, which can make lighting a higher priority when flashlights are insufficient for the tasks at hand. Temperature control can be crucial matter if pipes could potentially freeze and burst; conversely, building temperatures can quickly soar to uninhabitable levels in warm locations.

The proper size generator will depend on how many kilowatt hours of energy you’ll need to maintain critical systems, with allowances for additional emergency equipment as needed. Think about future equipment upgrades or site additions planned or discussed in the next five to ten years as well. You can either opt for a smaller generator in the short-term and turn it into an ancillary system later, or get a system sufficient to incorporate your future needs as your business grows.

Type of Fuel

Generators can run on various types of fuel; consider the current market cost in your area as well as the availability for easy delivery from a local supplier. If you plan to maintain a fuel storage tank onsite, you’ll likely need to go through an environmental permitting process as well, so factor that into your cost estimate.

Site Considerations

As flooding episodes increase all around the world, communities and organizations that monitor floodplain activity are beginning to call on site planners to design new construction projects with 100-year floods in mind.

Clogged gutter systems and aging levees or flood barriers also pose a risk to low-lying or flood-prone areas, so evaluate the site where your generator will go. It would also benefit to consult with an environmental engineer or a surveying team to ensure the evaluation is trustworthy.

Fuel companies making deliveries will need easy access to your storage tank, and maintenance crews will need plenty of clearance room around the unit for repairs and routine maintenance. Keep noise concerns in mind if your planned site is in close proximity to office space or abutting residential land; noise barriers or enclosures can mitigate this issue if necessary.

Manufacturer Reliability

Warranty support, service, and parts for your generator can be hard to come by if the manufacturer of your unit goes out of business. Customers who buy diesel generators made by Welland Power have peace of mind that comes from dealing with a respected brand from a Queen’s Award recipient. Whichever brand you choose, research warranty options and customer satisfaction to ensure your capital investment will stay viable for years to come.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.