What is a Load Bank Used For?
Generators are essential items in times of emergency, and it is vital that these generators are regularly tested to ensure proper function and adequate power.
When these generators fail to perform when needed, it can be costly in terms of finances and also in lives. In order to avoid this issue, generator load bank testing has become a standard step in emergency planning.
Load bank testing ensures that these extra power sources are in optimal shape and that they can meet the needs of those who plan to use them, no matter the situation.
What Are Load Banks?
Load banks are pieces of electrical testing equipment. Their purpose is to simulate an electrical load without connecting the power source (i.e. generator) to its standard operating load.
The bank verifies that all components of a generator are in working condition by testing their capabilities under several different loads.
If a generator is performing less than optimally, the testing will catch the issues early and give advance warning so that any of these issues can be resolved as soon as possible.
Four Types of Load Banks
There are four types of generator load banks that are used for testing the power capabilities of various types and sizes of these backup power sources.
The first type, resistive, is the most common. These are most often used for testing smaller generators. Personal, portable, or low-capacity generators have to be tested just as commercial generators do. Resistive load banks are best suited for the job.
Reactive banks are primarily used for testing motor-driven generators or transformers in telecommunications industries. These are also commonly used in UPS industries.
Combined resistive/reactive banks are used for larger generators, typically with a power capacity greater than 200kVA.
The most precise type of load bank is the electronic bank. It can be used to test generators of any size for any industry. These banks can be programmed to whichever specific generator needs testing.
Why Load Banks are Essential
Generator load banks are, first and foremost, essential because they allow personal users and businesses to check the capabilities of their own device before disaster strikes. They ensure that you are given enough time to resolve any generator issues that you may have so that you will be prepared to use it when you need it.
More than that, some industries require generators to be load tested. Commercial buildings have especially rigid guidelines about load bank testing. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires emergency generators to be tested monthly under most circumstances. Without these regulations in place, generators may be left untested and will fail, endangering lives.
Ultimately, load banks are used for ensuring the safety of both the public and private. Generators are some of the most crucial items to have in working order during an emergency. Finding yourself or your business without one can have devastating consequences. Natural disasters and manmade tragedies alike are unpredictable. The last thing that you need is for your generator to be, too.