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Ask Cam

Generating a weekly workout

January 29, 2009


There’s a diesel-powered generator on the west side of Palmer Center that starts up every Saturday around 10:30 a.m. or so and runs for awhile. What is the purpose of this and is it truly necessary? The fumes are quite obnoxious while it’s running.


Cam’s answer:

To find out more about the gregarious generator, I rambled over to visit with Lew Sutphin, director of Operations Management at Housing and Dining Services. He told me:

Cam, the generator in question is an emergency backup generator. The manufacturer's operating manual for this generator recommends weekly testing under load. In addition to ensuring the generator will operate when needed, the test prevents fuel from going stale and ensures lubrication of all the moving parts. We run the test for 30 minutes each Saturday.

As a result of this question, we’re checking with the manufacturer to see if we can safely change the frequency from weekly to monthly and still ensure emergency power when needed.