Did you know that exercising or testing your generator on a bad air quality day could result in a huge fine from the state DEP?
Here’s what you need to know to check for the air quality in your region BEFORE running your generator for testing.
For operators of emergency power systems, go to www.airnow.gov to verify if the AQI, or Air Quality Index, is acceptable to exercise or test your generator on any particular day.
A best practice is to view the FORECAST at www.airnow.gov after 4 pm on the day before your scheduled test. Then, print a copy of the Forecast and keep it with your testing records for future use.
Green and Yellow reports are good, and there are no restrictions on generator testing. However, if the station in your local region is reporting Orange, Red, Purple, or Brown, the AQI is unacceptable to exercise or test your generator. Do not run it that day; check again after 4 pm on the next day.
HOW TO REVIEW THE AQI FORCAST
New Jersey Operators – AQI and generator testing restrictions are statewide. Therefore, if any location in New Jersey is reporting bad air quality for the next day, it is NOT safe to test run your generator. For example, you could be in Parsippany with good air quality. Still, if there is level Orange or worse in Millville, no generator throughout the state can run on that forecasted day. Testing your generator on such a day could net a $10,000 fine.
There are many ways to access this information on the website. Here is one of them.
- Go to: www.airnow.gov after 4 pm on the day BEFORE testing
- Type New Jersey into the search field. Or you can save this address in your favorites: https://www.airnow.gov/state/?name=new-jersey
- The generated list (image below) shows all monitors for the state of New Jersey. Scrolling down, if ANY monitoring station is forecasting an Orange, Red, Purple, or Brown AQI in the Tomorrow’s Forecast column, then you cannot exercise or test your generator that day. Instead, wait until after 4 pm on the next day to view the next forecast.
Pennsylvania Operators – AQI and generator testing restrictions are determined at the county boundary level.
- Go to airnow.gov after 5 pm on the day before testing and type in your zip code.
- Scroll down to find the forecast for tomorrow. If Green or yellow, then testing can be done; any other color signifies a poor AQI rating. Do not exercise or test your generator. Check back again on the following day after 5 pm.
- Information on City of Philadelphia requirements – Control-of-emissions-from-emergency-generators-and-fire-pumps-Reg15.pdf (phila.gov)
EMERGENCY GENERATORS CAN BE USED WHENEVER NEEDED FOR TRUE EMERGENCIES, REGARDLESS OF THE AIR QUALITY. The procedures here apply only to normal testing and maintenance usage. They do not apply to emergency usage. (As per NJDEP Website)
HOW TO ACCESS HISTORICAL AIR QUALITY REPORTS
New Jersey operators go to: www.airnow.gov and type New Jersey into the search field. This will return a current report of all the NJ reporting stations.
- For historical data, select the Historical Air Quality Tab, and in the Pick another date field, select a past date that you would like the report.
Pennsylvania operators go to: www.airnow.gov and type your location zip code into the search field.
- Next, scroll down to the Explore section and click on Archived Dates.
- Finally, type in the date to reference.
If you have questions about looking up both forecast and historical AQI data, please call our team. We will be happy to help you navigate through it.
P3 Generator Services
Read: Good Air, Bad Air, and What it All Means. – Is the Air Clean Enough to Test Run my Emergency Generator?
Read: TECH-UPDATE: Avoid Auto-Exercising your Generator – Important information on auto-exercising of emergency generators.