Are You Fueling Your Data Center’s Generators Properly?

Are You Fueling Your Data Center’s Generators Properly?

Generator yard

In the event that the grid on which your data center’s based suffers a power loss, you need to ensure you have a backup power plan in place. We certainly needn’t inform you of the consequences if you fail to do so – insane amounts of downtime (which costs, on average, $7900 per minute), lost data, and lost productivity. But hey – you’ve already got backup generators, right?

Every data center worth its salt has them.

Here’s a question, though – are you practicing proper fuel maintenance? See, it’s not enough to just ensure the generators themselves are in working order. The unfortunate thing about diesel fuel (which is what most generators tend to use) is that it degrades over time. And using degraded fuel can (and eventually will) cause components of your generator to fail, in particular the filter, injector pumps, and injector tips.

Have you ever dealt with a warped generator head? Be very thankful if your answer is ‘no.’ Few things are more difficult (and expensive) to repair or replace. And just imagine that cost being compounded by the cost of a generator failing right when you need it.

Alright. I believe we’ve effectively established that not taking proper care of your fuel can cause a ton of damage to your backup generators. But what exactly is proper care?

It consists of a few things:

  • Inspect the fuels as it’s delivered to your facility. Inspect the tank twice for water – once immediately after delivery, and the second time several days after receiving it. This gives any water that’s present in the fuel time to sink to the bottom.
  • Store your fuel in a cool, dry place. This will allow for a shelf life of six months to one year, approximately.
  • Regularly check and test your fuel for degradation – pull regular fuel samples from the tank bottom to check for lowered quality and microbes. Ideally, you’ll want to do this at least every six months.
  • In addition to testing, you should also occasionally add stabilizers and biocides to your fuel, stalling breakdown and killing off potentially harmful microbes.
  • Document your maintenance procedures, processes, and problems. Extensively.

Your data center’s backup generators are essential to the success of your facility. Power outages happen, and you can’t control when. You need to keep everything related to your backup systems properly maintained – and that includes the fuel, which many often forget.

Of course, if you’d rather not deal with the headaches involved in this maintenance, you could always colocate – Liberty Center One’s an excellent choice to that end!


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