June 3, 2022

Surge Arrestor: Protecting Your Generator with These Devices


Generators are essential in maintaining a business' daily activities. However, when left unprotected, your generator is vulnerable to tremendous damage from exposure to electricity surges. This also applies to your organization's appliances and electronic devices. A power surge can last from a few seconds to minutes but can carry thousands of volts, enough to fry your backup generator. Installing surge arrestors in your workplace will protect this valuable equipment from overvoltage spikes.

Protecting your crucial equipment should always be your priority as a business owner. So, how do you protect your backup generator from power surges? Let's look at how you can protect your generator from power surges using surge arrestors.

What is a Surge Arrestor?

A surge arrestor is a protective device for limiting voltages on your generator. It protects your generators from power surges by discharging or bypassing the surge current. This is achieved by preventing the continued flow of current to the ground. Surge arrestors are crucial in preventing lightning-induced surges during the winter season from damaging your equipment. A surge arrestor is not a lightning arrestor. Instead of absorbing or stopping lightning, surge arrestors divert the lightning strike and limit the industrial generator, protecting it from damage. Surge arrestors also protect your used generator from induced surges in electrical wiring.

Whether it's protecting your home, a utility substation, or a data center, you can use surge arrestors in different ways. They are installed on circuit breakers, pole-mounted riser poles, or inside pad-mounted transformers as per the standards defined by IEEE standard C62.11 and IEC standard 60099-4.

Why Should You Use a Surge Arrestor to Protect Your Generator?

When there is a power outage, a backup generator allows your business to remain operational by supplying electricity to your critical systems and appliances. This means that your critical systems are connected to your used generator. Whenever lightning or a power surge hits your generator, it damages not only your generator but also the entire system and electrical devices connected to it. This is because systems work at a fixed voltage range, and if it's exceeded, they'll get damaged or blow up. In addition to that, many electrical devices have random surges that could significantly damage your backup generator.

To prevent this from happening, you can use surge protecting devices like surge arrestors to protect your used generator and the entire system. Surge arrestors ensure that the high voltage does not travel through your company's electrical system. To make it worse, a power surge can still damage your equipment and systems even when you're not using them. Therefore, you should always take precautionary actions to protect your industrial generator and electrical system.

How to Install SPDs on a Used Industrial Generator

There are two ways of integrating SPDs on your generator. The first method involves connecting the SPD externally to a power distribution panel. Another approach involves incorporating them within the motor control centers, switchgear, VSDs, or panelboards. The second approach highly protects your used generator by ensuring the lowest clamping voltage.

Lightning is the primary source of voltage surges. Therefore, utility power lines are more susceptible to varying surges while in operation. Other sources can include temporary overvoltages and switching surges. Switching surges occur when there are changes in your system's operating conditions. Generally, the installation of surge arrestors protects the electrical systems, including generators used in your building, from the surge effects occurring around them.

Why Do Arrestors Operate?

A surge arrestor can operate because of various reasons. They include:

  • Surge arrestors can withstand the continuous power frequency voltage in which it was meant to work in
  • The surge arrestor discharges transient energy in the form of currents from the system
  • They also prevent the voltage across your used generator from being excess

There are different types of arrestors available based on their construction and design. They include secondary, distribution, intermediate, and station class arrestors.

  • Secondary arrestors: There are arrestors rated under 1000V and are used to protect your equipment against secondary surges. When used, they can significantly reduce transformer failure rates.
  • Distribution arrestors: These are light-duty, normal, and heavy-duty arrestors that are 1 to 36 kV rated. Normal duty arrestors are used in low lightning areas, while heavy-duty arrestors are suitable in high lightning regions.
  • Intermediate arrestors: Their ratings range from 3 to 120 kV. They offer better discharge voltages and can withstand high fault currents.
  • Station class arrestors: They provide high energy handling capabilities, the best expulsion voltages, and the highest fault current resist capability. They are available in ratings from 3kV to 684kV.

You should not worry about the technicalities because Power System Services is committed to helping you meet your business generator needs.

Let PSSP Handle All Your Generator Needs

Buying a reliable used generator is one thing; protecting it from damages is another. Since power surges are unpredictable, a slight power surge can shorten the lifespan of your generator or even cause permanent damage. That's why Power System Services experts are here to help you with your generator needs, including protecting your generator from the devastating effects of a power surge.

Power System Services is a reputable power business partner with dedicated experts who can help you in anything from buying an industrial generator to maintaining and servicing it. Feel free to contact our generator experts today for help in integrating a surge arrestor on your used generator.