Canada Standards Association C CSA Required Testing CSA guideline states as a minimum all fuel supplied to emergency generator sets shall be clean, clear, bright and tested annually as part of your annual fuel oil inventory maintenance program. If the fuel fails the test, the tank shall be flushed to remove built-up sludge and impurities. Unfortunately, draining the fuel without cleaning the tank leaves behind a layer of microbial growth on the tank walls and bottom. Adding fresh fuel feeds the organisms that flourish their growth.

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Or a decision is made to have a standby power source for lighting in all classrooms of a high school. Or what if a backup power supply is provided for all building exhaust, makeup fans and fans used for smoke control and smoke venting?

And what about the same approach to the elevators or fire pumps? And how about the standby power intended for emergency lighting in exits or in corridors used by the public? What kind of power supply sources should be used to provide a standby power supply to all these loads?

Is a battery allowed to be used for this purpose? What about a UPS, a solar panel, a generator or any available source of alternate power? The NBCC specifically mandates that only certain systems must be equipped with the emergency power supply.

NBCC states that the emergency power supplied by batteries, generators or by a combination of both must be provided for emergency lighting required by the Code, for electrically connected exit signs, and for fire alarm systems. The Building Code also states that the electrical equipment such as elevators in high buildings, fire pumps, fans used for smoke control and smoke venting and the latter includes smoke dampers must be provided with an emergency power supply by a generator.

While use of this material has been authorized, CSA shall not be responsible for the manner in which the information is presented, nor for any interpretations thereof. For more information on CSA or to purchase standards, please visit our website at www. Section 46 of the CEC covers installation requirements for equipment comprising life safety systems, for the emergency power supply mandated by the NBCC for these systems, and for wiring methods between the required power sources and life safety systems.

This section also re-enforces the fact that when a generator is used as a power supply to the life safety systems, it must conform to CSA standard C So far, so good. Now we can re-visit our earlier examples of the loads intended to be provided with a backup power and see what could be used as an alternate power source for these loads.

Thus, if the IT system is to be equipped with the emergency power supply, there is no stringent requirement for use of only batteries or only the C conforming emergency generator. Therefore, any available piece of electrical equipment that is capable to provide an alternate source of power could be allowed in this case. One thing, however, should be always kept in mind: every piece of equipment that is used in electrical installation must be approved.

So, if a generator is used in this case, it does not have to meet provisions of the CSA standard C It simply has to be certified to the CSA safety standard C If we want to use a battery, a solar PV system, a wind turbine or a fuel cell—by all means provided that each of these alternate power sources is approved.

However, if an alternate power supply source is mandated by the NBCC for specific life safety equipment, it is a different story, as was shown above. But what if a decision is made to connect the loads, such as IT, general lighting, heating and air conditioning, to a generator that is required to supply an emergency power to a life safety system?

Is this allowed? The answer could be found in the CSA standard C This standard permits connection of these types of non-emergency loads to an emergency generator,ifsuch loads do not adversely affect the ability of the generator to provide the emergency power supply to the Code-mandated life safety systems.

Section 46 of the CEC further explains this fact by prescribing wiring from the emergency power supply to the life safety system to run separately from the wiring to non-emergency equipment connected to this power supply. Appendix B Note on Rule 5 of the CEC figure 8 on page of the CE Code explains that a separate transfer switch must be used for connection of such life safety systems, and that non-emergency equipment cannot be supplied from a generator via this transfer switch.

Figure 8 also emphasizes the fact that a fire pump must be supplied from an emergency generator via its own, dedicated transfer switch specifically marked for fire pump service. It appears that we have clarified the difference between the alternate power sources for the purpose of supplying various loads.

So, what do we do? Can these loads i. So far, the CEC is silent on this issue. Hopefully, this article will help in clarifying requirements of Codes and Standards on the subject matter. However, as usual, authorities with jurisdictional power for application and installation of emergency power supply sources to various loads must be consulted before the selection and installation of a power supply source.


View CSA Standards Cited in OHSA Regulations

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Complete CSA 282-15 Inspection Guidelines for Generator Maintenance



Canada Standards Association C282-09


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