The word generator covers a multitude of different machines, from the world’s smallest flexible nanogenerator demonstrating piezoelectricity in molybdenum disulfide to the 18,460 MW hydroelectric power plant in Three Gorges, China.
But we’re guessing you want to know about the type of generator you might need for a backup source of household power during an electricity outage of the kind experienced recently in the February 2021 Texas snowstorms.
We’ve put together a few facts about generators that could help you decide what kind of equipment would be best for you. Let’s motor on!
1. Fuel Facts About Generators
Commercial gensets can use any one of a range of fuels types, including:
- NG propane
- natural gas
- lean-burn gas
Check out the Cummins generators for sale ranging from 125 kW output capacity, which are known for the reliability and designed for heavy-duty applications at industrial worksites. This type of generator is useful beyond being a source of backup power. It can be a dedicated generator that is the Holy source of power in rural locations and other places not connected to the national electrical grid.
Smaller, portable generators most often use either petrol or diesel as fuel. Diesel generators are more popular because diesel is less flammable and cheaper than petrol.
2. Choose a Bigger Generator Than You Need
Any engineer will tell you that machines never run at 100% capacity. They would burn out otherwise. This means you need to opt for a generator with a larger rated power output than you think you will need when choosing between the different types of generators.
The more appliances and equipment you’ll be running, the greater the power needed.
3. Store in a Space With Good Airflow
Fun fact: Generators are Hazardous. Hazards include possible carbon monoxide poisoning, fire, and electrocution or electric shock. Read the jolly manual first!
Most generators are housed in an enclosure to keep children, animals, and careless human adults away from them. OSHA says that a generator should have 3–4 feet of clear space on all sides and above it for adequate ventilation.
The enclosure should be ventilated and include air intake and fume extraction to ensure the enclosed space does not overheat. Overheating could damage the generator or cause a fire — in which case, your generator will definitely be damaged. Store fuel for the generator in a separate place.
4. Backfeeding Is a Bad Idea
Backfeeding is when people try to plug a generator into a wall socket to transfer power to the house wiring. You risk electrocuting utility workers and neighbors. Just don’t do it — backfeeding is dangerous.
5. Generators Can Run on Biodiesel
As anyone who has a diesel tractor will tell you, in times of shortage, a blend of diesel and paraffin will still allow your tractor motor to work. Thanks to the simplicity of the diesel engine, it is also amenable to running on biodiesel, and even vegetable oil. Fitting a converter to the generator is quite straightforward, and you’ll soon be operating your generator with the eco-friendly biofuel of your choice.
Design for Life
Whether you’re setting up a self-sufficient homestead in the wilderness, or simply want a source of backup power in bad weather, a privately-owned generator is a good survival tactic.
One of the most surprising facts about generators is that accurate sizing for the demands placed on them will result in a cost-efficient source of power. For more information on equipment, gadgetry, and how to go as green as you can, enjoy reading the other articles here on our site.