Generators are used for the generation of electric power. There are basically two types of generators: standby generators and portable generators. Generators ensure that most of the essential appliances can be run whenever there is a power outage. Standby generators provide backup power in homes and offices and are permanently installed outside the house or office building. They are plugged into the electric circuits or home wiring. Standby generators can automatically detect disruption in the usual electric supply and begin supplying power within a few seconds. Portable generators are usually used in places where there is no supply of power or the need for power is less such as on construction sites camps. These generators are sufficient for lighting and to run appliances like televisions, refrigerators, sump pumps and furnaces.
Generators are available in varying size and output power. The choice of buying the right type of generator depends upon a number of factors such as the wattage capacity, voltage ratings, fuel type, fuel efficiency, noise level, portability and price.
Generators for home use most often run on fuels such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas or propane. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Gasoline is inexpensive and easily available. Gasoline generators gives the most power per weight unit but require frequent maintenance. It is also noisy, emits harmful carbon monoxide and the engine wears faster than diesel, propane or natural gas generators.
Diesel is easy to acquire but is comparatively more expensive. Diesel generators require less maintenance and are fuel-efficient. Its disadvantage is that it is noisier, emits more smoke and smells, and harder to start in cold weather.
Propane is expensive and is feasible for homeowners who already have a storage tank to store propane. Propane generators require less maintenance, has no condensation and no problem starting up in cold weather like the gasoline generators. However, propane gas or natural gas generators consume more fuel per kilowatt of power produced than diesel generators. Natural gas generators are the most convenient to use as there is continuous supply of fuel. They can be connected to home gas lines.
A generator should always be used according to the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Care should be taken to see that the generator is not overloaded. A heavy-duty extension cord must be used to connect appliances to the generator. A qualified electrician must be called in to install a transfer switch to plug the generator to the home wiring system. Refueling the generator when in operation should be avoided. Spilling of fuel on the heated components may cause fire.
Smaller generators can meet most of the basic power needs of a homeowner. Buying a larger generator will consume more fuel to power the same appliances that a smaller generator could. A 5-kilowatt portable generator can power main lights, televisions, sump pumps and refrigerators. Generators of higher wattage capacity are also available according to the needs of the individual house owner. Commercial establishments may need standby generators having an output capacity of more than 200 KW and supplying three-phase power, that is, 120, 240, 480 volts.
It is always wise to invest in good quality generators. All brands and models of generators are listed on the -- a very convenient way to find the best deal.
by Eddie Tobey
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