Portable generators continue to gain much popularity in the home improvement markets worldwide. These generators come in handy if you experience frequent blackouts in your home for one reason or the other. This prompts the need to have an alternative option that would help maintain normal operations like heating or cooling, cooking, lighting, as well as other primary functions that require a stable source of power. However, before you resolve to acquire one of these appliances for your home, you need to familiarize yourself with the fundamental principles involved in the installation and maintenance of portable generators. Therefore, this guide is set to offer a sense of direction as well as some must-know facts before purchasing a portable generator for your home.
How Does A Portable Generator Work?
A portable generator works by switching an onboard alternator to enhance the generation of electric energy. The electric power produced is then transferred the necessary electric powered appliances that require electricity to run. The transfer of electrical energy is initiated by just plugging in extension cords to various power outlets on the generator. For a typical portable generator to function normally, it needs the coordination of different components including:
- An Internal combustion engine. This is where the burning of fuels take place in the presence of air. It is often located in the combustion chamber, which happens to be an integral section of a working fluid flow circuit.
- This part functions as the intermediary between mechanical energy and electrical energy. Its primary purpose is to convert mechanical energy into a rotating magnetic field in a stationary armature.
- The starter functions as a switch for turning on your power generator.
- Fuel Tank. Every generator needs a particular source of power, often made of a compartment that can contain flammable fluids.
- This is the gateway of electric energy from the portable generator to various tools and appliances.
Fuel Sources for Your Portable Generator
Different generators apply the use of varied sources of power to generate electricity. For this reason, you need to critically evaluate and reference to your particular generator’s manual. There are many pros and cons associated with the use of different sources of fuels for your generators. Some of the commonly used fuels with their advantages and setbacks include:
- Gasoline; this is a preferred fuel source for smaller generators as it increases portability, while at the same time easily accessible. On the other hand, it is highly flammable, thus demands extra care and attention.
- Diesel; this is the most preferred source of fuel as it is least flammable and easily accessible. However, it tends to be expensive when long-term storage is deemed necessary.
- Bio-diesel; appears to be the cheapest option amongst all the available fuel sources with an onsite supply of energy. Nonetheless, the installation of big storage tanks encourages extra costs.
- Propane; has the longest shelf life. Conversely, the fuel system is more complicated and needs professional expertise for installation and maintenance.
- Natural gas; tends to be more convenient for many homeowners. It may, however, be inaccessible in the event of a natural disaster.
Proper Maintenance Practices of a Portable Generator
Every homeowner desires that his portable home generator would last and live to serve its intended purpose. However, this is only possible if you make it a priority to care for it, and maintain your generator from time to time. In the event of uncertainties about one or two things, consult with a certified technician before you engage in any maintenance activities. Some of the common maintenance practices include:
- Storing up a sufficient amount of engine oil and filters that would take you through an extended power shortage.
- Always ensure you empty the fuel tank using a hand pump before you run the carburetor dry.
- Avoid the use of double-ended cords to back feed Alternatively, you can apply different cables or simply install a transfer switch.
- Always ensure your generator is located in a safe environment to avert any possible vandalism.
Signs That It Is Time to Replace Your Home Generator
Portable home generators need extra care and attention for them to function normally. However, other conditions may prompt the need to replace your generator. Some of these include:
- The generator may have completed its life cycle, thus the need to replace it, as it would have lost its efficiency.
- Constant repairs and replacements. The regular replacement of different generator elements for a long time is more expensive as opposed to purchasing a brand new unit. It would be superlative to consider your options before you resolve to the constant replacements of breaking down parts.