Installing a generator on your commercial property will help protect your building from problems and damage caused by power supply interruptions, but you’ll need to size it out.

Commercial generators are critical in South Florida because they provide uninterrupted power when there’s an emergency. When a hurricane comes through the area or the power grid goes down for another reason, having a backup electrical source is an essential safety feature on your property.

Before purchasing one of these devices, you’ll have to determine the size you need. Selecting one that’s too large will cost you money you don’t need to spend, while a too-small generator won’t adequately power your building.

Here’s a look at why your commercial property needs a generator, along with how you can select the right size for your business.

Key Takeaways

  • A backup generator is a good idea for South Florida businesses
  • Sizing these devices requires understanding your electric system needs and generator operations
  • The experts at Universal Electrical can streamline the entire process

Why your commercial building needs a generator

Your reason for needing a commercial generator is mainly dependent on the type of business you’re operating. 

Retail properties need backup power to keep staff and customers safe if the power goes out. Keeping the lights on when the rest of the area is in the dark is a big step when trying to keep everyone protected. Your generator can also power refrigerators and freezers to prevent food from spoiling and costing you money. 

Office buildings can benefit from these generators, too, because the light they provide ensures that employees can get out of the building safely or stay there as long as they need to if there’s a storm. A backup generator also keeps any electronic data you have stored locally intact until you can save it.

Every commercial building has different reasons for acquiring a generator and additional specifications when choosing one. Carefully consider your situation before deciding.

Tips for sizing a generator

Sizing your generator is one of the most critical decisions to make before making your purchase. The devices are sized using their kilowatt output, with higher output units offering more capacity. You can use a few different methods to determine the ideal size to buy. 

One of the most common ways to size a generator is by measuring the building’s square footage. Using the square footage gives you a solid starting point when making an estimate. 

As a rule, a retail building should have a generator that supplies 50kW plus an additional 10W per square foot. Other commercial buildings still need that 50kW of power but only require an extra 5W per square foot. Of course, the exact needs of a commercial building vary based on the devices inside, which is why this method only provides a starting point.

Another method of sizing a generator involves looking at your monthly power usage. Go through all of your energy bills from the past year to determine your peak usage. You’ll want to add about 25% to that number to figure out the size of generator you require.

You can also use full-load current measurements during your peak usage to come up with an estimate. All you’ll do is take your total amps and divide it by two for single-phase current or by three for three-phase current. You’ll then take that number and multiply it by your building’s supply voltage. Multiplying that final product by 1,000 gives you the number in kilowatts.

Using a combination of these sizing methods should help you come to a consensus when selecting a product for your commercial property. Keep in mind that other factors come into play when choosing a generator, too, and you’ll want to consider all of them before making your decision.

Other factors to consider

The size of your building is only part of the equation when choosing a generator, as there are other aspects to keep in mind before you buy anything.

First, you’ll have to figure out where you wish to place the generator. You’ll probably want to keep your generator out of your building’s basement if it is situated in a flood-prone area because water can quickly ruin your unit. 

The location of your electrical room should influence your decision, too, because you’ll want the generator close to the infrastructure you already have in place.

Other circumstances like the age of your building and local noise laws could also limit where you can place the generator. Your local climate will also influence the decision because humidity and temperature alter how the generator performs. 

Consider all the elements at play on your commercial property to determine the best type of generator to meet your needs.

Making your choice

As you work through your commercial property’s power requirements and begin looking at generators, you’ll undoubtedly have some questions. This decision isn’t an easy one, and speaking with experts with years of experience in South Florida’s climate ensures you’ll end up with the right size of commercial generator to meet your needs. 

Universal Electrical Services is a full-service, licensed electrical contractor serving the South Florida community. We can provide turnkey installation for your commercial generator, guaranteeing you end up with the right size and that the entire job is up to code in your municipality. Contact Universal Electrical Services for your commercial generator installation and all the rest of your electrical needs.