What Is The Difference Between Standby And Emergency Generator?


Emergency and Standby Power Systems for Buildings


Public and/or large buildings have installed emergency power systems to allow the operation of some electrical equipment during a power outage. Homeowners often install smaller backup generators on their properties, especially if they are in rural areas where power restoration may take days or weeks after a storm. Emergency and standby power systems may be relatively easy (for homes) or very complex (for big institutional buildings such as hospitals).


Emergency vs Standby Power


The discrepancy between the 3 Backup Power types is always confusing. We’ll explain the systems here, but it’s important to remember that code officials and other competent authorities can allow those elements and devices to be on a system other than what we’re calling for here. Backup power systems in the United States are governed by NFPA 110, Emergency Standard, and Standby Power Systems.


Emergency Power Systems provide automatic backup when a usual power failure occurs. They are required by code and shall provide all life safety systems, such as egress lighting, smoke evacuation, fire alarm systems, elevators, etc., with power within 10 seconds. Simply put, there should be something on Emergency Power that can secure the lives of the building occupants. The important thing to note is that emergency power systems need to be entirely separate; this means having their own duct loops, their own doors, their own transfer stations, etc.


Legally Required Standby Power Systems also provide automatic backup power in the event of normal power loss, but they have 60 seconds to engage. They are required by code so they can share components of the network-they are not needed to be fully different systems such as emergency power systems. These may be considered as systems that enhance the egress act and improve firefighter operations, but are not critical to life safety. The Legally Required Standby Program can include systems such as heating, ventilation, communications, building automation, and hospital equipment.


Optional Standby Power Systems are not needed by law, but provide backup power to operations deemed necessary by the building owner to keep electrified during normal power outages. Such systems can be operated manually or automatically and can share the same components and cables as standard power or standby power allowed by law. Optional Standby Systems are usually used to avoid financial or data loss but may also be expanded to provide human comfort during regular power outages.


What Should be on Backup Power?


A backup power system should be built to provide only the most critical pieces of equipment inside a building with electricity. Having backup power available for every electrical component in a building is not cost-effective. Some systems can be ramped down during an outage, even the most important ones, so that fuel or battery power can be maintained.


As mentioned earlier, it is often important to have life protection systems on an Emergency Power System. It includes egress route lighting, the power to sprinkler pumps, and power to fire alarm systems. Hospitals are going to place life-saving equipment on standby control, including respirators. Fire and police stations must ensure that their radio networks are on standby power so they can handle emergency operations.

Homeowners are free to customize their backup generators according to their needs. Refrigerators, freezers, and sump pumps are usually on circuits connected to the backup network, as are lights all over the house. The device also features a few convenience outlets to allow phones to be charged and to keep a television or radio operational during major outages. Fuel storage capacity appears to be the limiting factor for a home generator ‘s size-you want enough fuel to keep the machine going during the outage; thus, many of the conveniences of life are switched off to conserve power.

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