What’s A Power Generator?
A power generator provides an independent source of electrical power to operate your electrical systems when normal power supplies fail. Standby power may come from a motorised electricity generator, an uninterruptible battery power supply or from solar battery equipment.
The period of the outage can vary depending on the cause of the failure. Mains grid power can fail when power lines are damaged in vehicle accidents or from bushfires. Power lines may collapse during inclement weather. A substation malfunction can cause a failure of the local power grid. A portable fuel driven (propane, LNG, diesel or petrol) engine back-up generator could provide emergency power after a natural disaster.
Power generators can be used in homes, offices, factories, commercial centers and recreational vehicles in a variety of circumstances. Back-up power generation systems reduce the financial and health consequences during an emergency situation with loss of electric power.
The emergency backup generators for major commercial and medical centers are usually driven by natural gas or diesel engine. The smaller portable home backup power system may use a petrol engine to operate an electric generator. To operate the back-up generator safely on the home circuits, the failed electrical grid must be isolated from the home.
More recently UPS style battery systems and solar backed with batteries are being used for standby power. These battery style backup systems are automatically switched and do not produce noise or polluting exhaust gases. That means the backup electrical generator can be placed within the security of the main building.
Power Generator - When Is One Used?
A standby generator may feature in the fixed infrastructure of homes with an irregular power supply. It could be a feature of a solar photovoltaic panel array and battery off-grid power system, where a standby supply is needed. Regular engine driven generators are installed away from the main household in a sound insulated building with good exhaust ventilation.
A sensor on grid side of the building’s electrical system detects the power dropout. When mains power is lost a transfer switch activates the battery to start the generator when the generator is needed.
This automatic transfer switch simultaneously disconnects the mains grid, starts the generator and connects emergency power to designated circuits. One side of the transfer switch is connected to both the normal power feed and the emergency power feed. The other side of the transfer switch is connected to the load designated as emergency.
While the generator or battery backup is operating electricity is live, so all circuits are isolated from the network’s grid. After the generator starts, only the designated emergency circuits in the building are powered up.
Power Generator For Home Standby Use
More householders are keeping a portable backup generator around just in case they are needed. It might be helpful for rare occasions where some backup generator power is needed for keeping fridges and lights operating.
Household standby generators are larger fixed power units that are often tied directly into the natural gas lines. In areas without reticulated natural gas they can be made to work using bottled propane gas. Standby generators are designed to trip on immediately when the main grid power trips out. They fire up within seconds, so power outages will not mean food spoils, or remove cooking and security lighting options. The standby generator needs to be wired into the house and grid adhering to strict safety regulations.
Standby generators have become popular in US communities where people live with a strong likelihood of damaging storms. A consequence of power outage might be using candles for few nights with the food spoiling in your fridge.
Losing power will normally mean the loss of home air conditioning or heating. Consequently, the environment in severe climates might become uncomfortable through to life threatening for very young children and older people.
Appropriate standby generators represent a significant investment for those who need one to survive regular power outages.
What Generator Wattage Do I Need?
Before making this purchase write down which appliances and devices you consider essential to be using in your home. Work out the amount of energy those powered items need to keep them operating. Your standby power system will need to generate at least that amount of power to run.
Electric motors in appliances like washing machines and fridges would normally use more power than static appliances like televisions. Remember also that when electric motors start they require a larger short burst of power. Without mains power, the generator or batteries will need to provide that surge of starting power. Your room heating or air-cooling systems, your refrigerator and freezer will probably need a chunk of that power allocation.
Not everything will need to be operated on standby power. For a lot of people it’s unnecessary to power every appliance in the home with a standby generator. Some things can be left switched off until mains power is reconnected.
You’ll want to compare that wattage needed for running the household appliances with the wattage measurement given with the generator. You shouldn’t simply match the maximum household wattage needed with the maximum for the generator. The generator could feasibly operate at that maximum level for short periods. However, the standby generator is likely to fail if it’s run continuously at the maximum listed kilowatt capacity.
What Fuel Source For Your Power Generator?
There are options available for fuelling a generator fixed at a location. Natural gas is a good option for locations where reticulated supplies are available because supplies are rarely interrupted.
Natural gas is an appropriate fuel for a power generator. Connecting the generator to natural gas is initially more expensive but you won’t run out of fuel when work’s completed.
A gas plumber will safely connect your gas line to the generator. An electrician must connect the grid, the emergency power circuits, your generator and it’s transfer switching into the house electrical.
Transporting fuel (gas, diesel, petrol) to a standby generator when a storm is passing through your area is inappropriate. Fuel station pumps may not operate and roads may be impassible at the time you need that generator fuel.
Propane is a good off-grid generator fuel solution when natural gas is not available. Bottled propane fuel is more expensive than natural gas and bottled gas could become a fire hazard in some situations.
Propane needs to be appropriately stored and accommodated. When a power shut off occurs you need sufficient bottled propane supplies for the duration of the standby generator operation.
Power Generator Features For A Home System
How do you get the best return and value from your power generator purchase? Keep in mind that there are a number of different factors when it comes time to pick your power generator. Do enough research to save spending money on something that looks practical but doesn’t work as required in emergencies.
Power Generator And Electronic Equipment
Computers, communication equipment and some other sensitive electronic devices are vulnerable during blackouts and power fades. These bits of equipment need a steady flow of electrical power to operate. When voltage drops appreciably, or drops out totally, these sensitive electronic devices fail to operate or switch off. That occurs even if a backup generator uses a minuscule time interval to start-up. The small gap of time without power continuity means power surge protection strategies are needed. To prevent your sensitive equipment’s damage, connect them to the grid and emergency power through an uninterruptible power supply circuit. (The UPS is connected to the emergency circuit.)
The UPS will directly feed the sensitive electronic equipment by being connected to the designated emergency circuit’s outlets. Select a UPS that can feed and can power the required number of circuits and household devices.