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Testing and Certification

Curtis Engine offers a wide range of predictive and preventative maintenance services to assist you in identifying problems before they shut you down. As part of our predictive maintenance services, we provide testing programs designed to keep our client’s emergency power supply systems ready when they are needed most. In general, we follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for testing but we also consider NETA, NFPA, and NEMA testing guidelines. With each testing program, test results are provided, along with any recommendations for repairs, and added to the service history for your equipment.

We can develop a regular testing program using our proven test procedures, performed by a qualified technician, to give you confidence in the whole system – from the fuel tank through the transfer switch – and keep your facility in compliance with NFPA and JCAHO regulations.

Load Bank Testing

Load bank testing confirms the emergency power supply system’s ability to run up to its rated kW output and stay there without overheating and possibly shutting down during an emergency. During a load test, critical engine and generator parameters such as oil and fuel pressure, operating temperatures, voltage, frequency, amperage, and kW output are measured and recorded throughout the duration of the test. Typical load bank tests range between two and six hours.

Periodic load bank testing is an essential part of any good maintenance program. Load bank testing is not intrusive and during the test there is no interruption to the facility’s power supply.

Generator load bank testing serves two purposes:

  • It ensures that the generator will reliably operate at its maximum capacity for an extended period of time.
  • Running a diesel engine at full capacity using a load bank prevents and corrects “wet stacking” – a condition where unburned fuel deposits accumulate in the engine and exhaust system reducing the generator set’s efficiency.

Load bank testing reduces long-term costs by extending the life of engine components such as turbo-chargers and exhaust valves, as well as, increasing engine performance and efficiency while reducing pollution. It also provides peace of mind and insures compliance with NFPA 110* and JCAHO** standards for hospitals, nursing homes, computer data centers, and other critical facilities.

*NFPA 110 Section states: “Diesel-powered EPS installations that do not meet the requirements of 8.4.2 shall be exercised monthly with the available EPSS load and exercised annually with supplemental loads at 25 percent of the nameplate rating for 30 minutes, followed by 50 percent of the nameplate rating for 30 minutes, followed by 75 percent of the nameplate rating for 60 minutes, for a total of 2 continuous hours”.

**In addition to NFPA 110, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) added an additional requirement in 2007 that health care organizations test emergency generators at least once every 36 months for a minimum of 4 continuous hours (JCAHO EC.7.40).

Curtis Engine has portable resistive load banks in multiple size ranges from 100kW up to 2MW and totaling over 3MW of load bank capacity. Our qualified technicians set up the equipment, perform the test procedures for the appropriate length of time, and provide a written report detailing the performance of the equipment being tested when complete.

Load bank testing is the only way to safely test your generator set’s ability to perform without risking a total loss of power or power quality by interrupting utility service. To schedule a load bank test or for more information, please call (800) 573-9200 or send an e-mail to service.

Lube Oil and Fluid Analysis

Curtis Engine’s fluid analysis program is a thorough, reliable and efficient way to see what is going on inside your engine. We use independent labs to analyze and test used fluid samples from your equipment for metal wear rate, contamination, and chemical breakdown. Our technical staff is trained to interpret the test results to detect potential problems before they become major failures.

Periodic oil and fluid analysis will allow you to develop a complete history of your engine and detect many problems before they cause major damage to your equipment. To learn more about our fluid analysis program, please call (800) 573-9200 or send an e-mail to service.

Thermographic Infrared Surveys

An infrared survey is a testing technique for monitoring the condition of electrical systems, as well as, the mechanical components on a generator set. It can safely and quickly detect a failing motor bearing, a loose electrical condition, and other “hot spots” before they fail or cause major equipment damage. Our trained technicians use an infrared camera to see infrared heat waves inside your equipment and measure their temperature. This data is then analyzed and the report along with our recommendations for any repairs is provided to you and added to the permanent service file for your equipment.

Equipment failure is almost always preceded with an increase in temperature. Regular surveys of the switchgear and electrical connections can identify sources of heat and resistance and potential points of failure. To schedule an infrared survey, please call (800) 573-9200 or send an e-mail to service.

Vibration Analysis

We can provide an in-depth vibration analysis on all types of engines and generator sets. Our trained technicians take detailed measurements at specific points and evaluate the data to determine if there is any abnormal vibration due to mechanical problems.

We can also perform noise tests, exhaust gas emissions tests, leak tests, and insulation tests to make sure that your equipment is operating in the manner it was intended. For more information or to customize a testing program for your facility, please call (800) 573-9200 or send an e-mail to service.

NFPA Testing

NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Supply Systems (EPSS) covers performance requirements for power systems providing an alternate source of electrical power in the event the primary power source fails. The standard addresses installation, maintenance, operation, and testing requirements for generators and automatic transfer switches (ATS).

NFPA 110 stipulates several different site tests for compliance. The following are some highlights from NFPA 110 for the maintenance and testing of emergency and standby power systems:

  • Emergency power sources (i.e. the generator set) are to be tested every month with available system loads.
  • Diesel generator sets shall be tested monthly at not less than 30 percent of the rating. If 30 percent of the nameplate rating cannot be achieved with the available system loads, a load bank test shall be performed annually at 25 percent of the nameplate rating for 30 minutes, followed by 50 percent load for 30 minutes, followed by 75 percent load for 60 minutes for a total of two hours of continuous operation.
  • Transfer switches and paralleling switchgear shall be subject to inspection, testing, and a maintenance program. Maintenance programs for transfer switches include checking of connections, inspection or testing for evidence of overheating and excessive contact erosion, removal of dust and dirt, and replacement of contacts when required. An annual maintenance program including one major maintenance and three quarterly inspections is recommended. The major maintenance includes a thermographic infrared scan or temperature scan of the ATS.
  • For Level 1 generator sets (i.e. where the failure could result in the loss of human life or serious injury), the main and feeder circuit breakers between the generator set and the transfer switch loads are to be exercised annually with the generator in the “off” position. Additionally, the main and feeder breakers in excess of 600 volts are to be exercised every six months and are to be tested under simulated overload conditions every two years. Further, a Level 1 EPSS shall be tested for at least four-hours, at least once every 36 months.
  • Main feeder insulation resistance tests shall be performed during acceptance and repeated whenever damage is suspected.
  • Lead acid batteries in the system shall be tested monthly for specific gravity and defective batteries shall be replaced immediately.
  • Written records of all inspections and testing are to be maintained and available for inspection in the on-site maintenance log.

In addition to NFPA 110, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) recommends that all automatic transfer switches are tested 12 times per year at 20 and 40 day intervals. The monthly test consists of electrically operating the transfer switch from the standard position to the alternate position and then a return to the standard position. Additionally, JCAHO requires that a written emergency plan be in place with clearly defined responsibilities and assignation of adequate staff, including multiple backup personnel. All such persons must be trained and their attendance should be taken into account by the EPSS supplier (i.e. Curtis Engine) when arranging such courses. The JCAHO maintenance requirements must conform to NFPA 110 for testing purposes, but in addition calls for monthly testing of generator and automatic transfer switches, as well as, the a four-hour test of the EPSS at least once every 36 months.

A current copy of NFPA 110 may be obtained from NFPA at:

Information about JCAHO can be found at:

Whether your facility is legally required to comply with NFPA 110 or you just want adopt the best practices in the industry for maintaining, operating and testing your emergency and standby power systems, Curtis Engine can help you meet these requirements by providing:

  • Assistance with establishing and refining your emergency contingency plans
  • Maintenance contracts for your emergency power supply system equipment,
  • EPSS testing programs that include load bank testing, ATS and electrical system testing, and fuel system testing and cleaning with certified records and reports.
  • Competency training and testing for your maintenance personnel and operators
  • Infrastructure planning recommendations to incorporate mobile generator sets during extended outages or for additional redundancy.
  • New equipment or equipment replacement

For more information, please call (800) 573-9200 or send an e-mail to service.

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