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Generator Shed (Aug 2016) (9) – Cropped

Poultry Generator Shed – Gen Shed Install

Poultry Generator Shed Install

We recently installed a poultry generator shed on John Plaugher’s poultry farm in Briery Branch, VA. The primary people at this time who use buildings like this are poultry farmers like John. These farmers are finding that a generator shed offers some significant benefits.

The Power Connection of Harrisonburg, VA, installed this generator. They recommended the use of a generator shed, as it provides excellent weather protection for the generator and the transfer switch.
Generator Shed Service Tech

Checking the voltage at the automatic transfer switch.

Poultry Generator Shed

The Power Connection really likes to have the generator inside in a clean and dry environment, because it extends the life of the generator substantially.

Gen Sheds Offer Superior Protection

With a power generation system, there are a number of vital components that need protection from sun and weather.

Engines in the past were pretty basic. Although the basic function of engines hasn’t changed a lot, the engine controls are far more complex than they used to be. The engines going on gen sets these days have lots more emissions controls, sensors, and electronic controls. These electronics are very susceptible to moisture and dirt. The gen shed keeps these sensitive components dry and clean.
The generator unit itself–the part that actually produces the electricity–is also finicky about being protected. One of the key components in the generator is the copper windings. These have a special coating on them around the copper wire. The lifespan of the generator is directly correlated to the condition of that coating. If the generator is out in the sunlight and the moisture, the protective coating around the windings will break down more quickly.

Generator Install in Gen Shed

Modern engines have far more sensitive electronic controls than in the past. Generator windings and insulation are also susceptible to sun and moisture.

Poultry Generator Shed with service tech

Benjamin Brubaker, co-owner and Residential Sales Consultant with The Power Connection. Gen sheds give plenty of space to work out of the weather. Benjamin noted that the silver LP radiant barrier on the walls keeps the work space substantially cooler in the summer.

This particular generator is an open unit, which means that it does not have a generator enclosure around it. It must be indoors. This poultry generator shed provides weather protection for the unit, but also makes it easy to work on–there is plenty of weatherproof space to service the unit.

They do make the same generator unit with metal enclosures, but those enclosures are a few thousand dollars. Metal enclosures do essentially the same thing as a generator shed, but Benjamin has found that the generator units in buildings will stay cleaner than gen units in enclosures. He says, “Usually when I go to a farm, and a generator is in an enclosure, there is a lot of dirt. We have to wash them up. When I get to a generator in a building, it can stay clean with minimal ongoing cleaning.”

Generator Shed Design

The design of the generator shed is also important. It has to be relatively tight and weatherproof. But it also has to allow the equipment to stay cool. The engine stays cool by directing fresh air over the radiator, and then running the hot air out exhaust louvers in the wall of the gen shed. The generator itself also needs cooling, and brings fresh air in to cool the copper windings and the coating around them. This cool air required by engine and gen unit gets into the building by intake louvers that open up when the generator runs.

The location of the exhaust and intake louvers is important. The louvers need to be placed differently for different generator configurations. Misplaced louvers in the shed will cause the hot air to simply recirculate, instead of consistently drawing in fresh air. Then, generator and engine both can overheat.

This is not just an unhandy turn of events. It can actually become dangerous (though thankfully, it’s rare). Benjamin has seen conduit that has melted because it got so hot in the building. In one event, a generator shed that was improperly designed overheated so that the main breakers refused to reset–all while the extreme heat in the building was growing by the minute.  It took some cool thinking and some hot work to get the generator shut down without killing the birds or destroying the generator.
Generator Shed intake louver

The Power Connection works with Byler Barns to lay out these generator sheds. Gen sheds must be designed properly for adequate ventilation and cooling through intake and exhaust louvers.

John thinks his new generator shed is great. “The building is built exceptionally well,” he says, and adds that the design of the louvers is very good. “There’s plenty of room to get around … I’m real pleased with everything. I just like everything about the building.”

And from Byler Barns, we say — Thank you, John! We’re glad that it’s working out this well for you.

A poultry generator shed is a solid investment. For only a little more money than an enclosure, you get a cleaner, drier environment for the engine, generator, and transfer switch. That gives the equipment a longer service life. And, the generator service techs can work indoors in the worst weather, making it easier and quicker for them to get things running in the event of equipment failure.

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