How to Define End of Serviceable Life
End of Serviceable Life can be defined using three criteria:
- Due to age, the generator is no longer supported by the OEM
- Cost to repair exceeds more than 50% of the cost to replace the generator
- System is not compatible with modern building electrical systems and demands
The generator is no longer supported by the OEM means parts are obsolete which makes repairs expensive and lengthy. Both the major components and the supporting parts i.e. engine, controls and generator are obsolete. The age of the equipment will create continued failures with major components of the generator such as the cooling system, alternator, and engine. A combination of obsolete parts and continued failures deems the equipment at the “end of serviceable life”.
With old age and lack of support by the OEM, the cost to repair the generator will likely exceed 50% of the cost to replace the equipment. There are also situations in which equipment is still new and supported by the OEM, but the cost of repair stills exceeds 50% of the cost to replace it. In this case, we would carefully evaluate what makes sense based on the use of the generator, the length of the lifespan after repairs, and the budget for repairs or replacement.
Up until the 1980’s, electrical demands on a building electrical system were primarily linear loads, free of harmonics. Reactive loads have been introduced though the retrofitting of energy efficient lighting systems, computers and use of frequency drives in Elevators or HVAC systems. Reactive Power in a distribution system is dissipated as heat. When your building goes off grid during an outage, the generator which must absorb these reactive loads. Generators built before the mid-90’s were not designed to dissipate modern reactive loads, resulting in engine overheating, voltage/frequency instability and failure. In addition, changes in building electrical systems over the years have also created opportunities to support critical loads with a smaller, more efficient generator systems.
There should always be discretion in reviewing each unit, even if it meets any of the above conditions. FM Generator’s mission is to provide reliability and expert solutions to our customers. This is why we provide education on the pros and cons of repairs versus replacement. We also communicate what the risks are of continuing to maintain an older unit as well as help create a budget for replacing equipment, incorporating these costs into capital improvement plans.