Types of Home Generators
Jun 2, 2021
Electrical generators are standalone devices that offer electricity when the local grid cuts power due to any reason.
Read our comprehensive guide to home generators so that you can choose a suitable machine for your home and prepare yourself for power outages.
Benefits of home generators
Home generators offer many benefits. How can a home generator help improve your life at home?
Provides electricity in case of power failure
Accidents and emergencies can happen to anyone. This includes power failure. Power can also be cut down for maintenance, repairs, or other activities we have no control over. Generators provide us with electricity in the blink of an eye when power from the local grid is unavailable. A generator saves you time, keeps your activities uninterrupted, and prevents the food in your fridge from spoiling.
Helps protect against natural disasters
You never know when your area will suffer from strong, unpredictable weather like hurricanes. Natural disasters can physically disturb your local power source and cause a power outage. Many Florida residents are buying home generators to protect themselves against natural disasters and sudden emergencies.
Keeps your indoor air healthy
When homeowners are unable to use their air conditioners because of power failure, they usually open doors and windows. This exposes their loved ones to dust, pollen, and dirt. High humidity promotes the growth of mold in your ductwork and the entire home. Mold can cause allergy symptoms and several other health conditions similar to soot, including asthma attacks. Since your HVAC system contributes to dehumidifying the atmosphere in your home as well as heating or cooling it, keeping it running is essential as it prevents allergy symptoms. It’s especially a necessity in Florida’s notorious humidity.
Prevents water and other damages
The biggest advantage of whole-home generators is that they start automatically in case of a power outage. It also prevents mold growth by keeping your HVAC system operating.
Generators also keep all the appliances running. Electricity outages often damage your appliances but with a small investment in a generator, you can save more money in the long run, as you won’t need to repair or purchase new equipment.
Increases the worth of your property
Generators are a useful upgrade that attracts buyers and helps you sell your home faster for your desired rates. This one-time large investment can be very advantageous, as it increases the value of your home.
How do home generators work?
Most of us are mistaken with the idea that generators create electricity. In actuality, generators don’t really ‘create’ electricity. Instead they ‘convert’ chemical or mechanical energy into electrical energy. This is done by obtaining the power of motion and converting it into electrical energy. Generators do this by compelling electrons from the external source with an electrical circuit. To sum up, a generator is an electric motor running in reverse.
Operating like automobiles
Generators operate similarly to your car, and the mechanical components function in quite the same fashion. Like your vehicles, generators also use heavy-duty, recharging batteries to start and maintain the basic level of energy.
Generators also consist of fuel tanks that supply their engines with the resources required to produce mechanical power. Many generators use fuels similar to that of automobiles, though other options are also available. Home generators mostly operate on gasoline, propane, or diesel, however, industrial generators typically run on diesel or natural gas.
Irrespective of fuel types, the engine of the generator functions in concert with an alternator. This alternator houses electrical conductors which respond to the mechanical energy of the engine and turn it into useful electrical power.
Once the electrical current is established, it runs through copper wires to provide electricity.
Types of home generators
Today, several types of generators are available for industrial as well as the home. Each generator has its own functions, advantages, disadvantages, and qualities.
The most common generators include:
- Diesel generators
- Natural gas generators
- Gasoline generators
- Standby generators
- Solar generators
- Portable generators
Diesel generators operate with diesel fuel which is the most combustible compared to other fuel sources. These generators use a mixture of a diesel engine with an electric generator for producing electrical energy. Most diesel-compression ignition engines are designed so they run best on diesel fuel, however, a few diesel generators can also work well with natural gas or other liquids.
Diesel generators are famous for their high durability, amazing lifespan, and lower maintenance levels. As diesel fuel burns pretty cooler than gasoline, it heavily reduces the heat and extreme burden on the engine. Another great quality of these generators is that they are amazingly efficient and consist of higher energy density in terms of generating budget-friendly power.
- Highly durable
- Easy to start even in cold places
- Release harmful emissions
- Inappropriate for wet environments as moisture in the fuel may ruin the engine
Natural gas generators
Natural gas generators are the most common and efficient means of producing power and electricity. They run either on propane or liquified petroleum gas. One thing that builds up the value of these generators is that you can easily store them in above or below-ground tanks, which makes them very durable.
- Doesn’t produce much noise
- Runs cleanly without creating a lot of waste
- Operation in inexpensive
- Doesn’t have a long life
Gasoline generators are the most common type of generators. They are popular because they run on gas, which is readily available. They are usually small in size, which makes them greatly compact. In addition, they are easy to move around, depending on their power output.
Gasoline generators are your top choice if you don’t need much power. If you plan to install one in your home, it is best to opt for a standby gasoline generator because it can provide you with high output and produce less pollution and noise.
- Highly portable due to their small size
- Doesn’t work well in a cold environment
- Produces a lot of noise and pollution
Standby generators are electrical systems that run automatically when the power is cut off. They require diesel or gas to operate. You don’t need to refuel them frequently as they consist of a large external tank that keeps them running for at least 48 hours.
These generators have a robust commercial engine that is joined to the skid. The skid consists of a radiator, an onboard fuel tank, and a large alternator. There is an automatic transfer switch that allows standby generators to power the equipment immediately in case of electricity failure, so the duration of power loss is extremely brief.
- Offers a seamless switching between systems
- Guarantees a continuous flow of power
- Runs automatically
- More expensive
- The engine can malfunction without thorough and regular maintenance
Portable generators mostly run on gas or diesel and are a great option for temporary electricity. They use a combustion engine that produces and conducts electricity. Useful at remote sites, portable generators possess enough power to run refrigerators, televisions, and freezers.
The engine of portable generators turns a small turbine, which then produces a significant amount of electricity. The generator can professionally be wired into the sub-panel of your house or plugged into your appliances directly, using the generator’s power sockets.
- Functions well when there is little or no access to other power sources
- Needs protection from weather changes
- Can’t be operated in a garage or home
Solar generators use sunlight to provide us with electricity. Solar power is undoubtedly the most common energy source available. These generators typically work by using solar panels for capturing the sunlight, which is used to charge the battery of the generator. Today, since most appliances require alternating current, the inverter in the solar generator helps to change the power into this type of current before being extracted.
The main thing to consider about these generators is the amount of time they require to recharge. They require almost eight hours of direct sunlight.
- Does not produce a disturbing noise
- Ideal for people with minimal energy requirements
- Needs a great amount of time to get fully charged.
- Expensive compared to other fuel-powered generators
Inverter generators consist of an engine that is joined to an alternator, due to which it generates AC (alternating current). With the help of a rectifier, this AC power is then converted into a direct current.
The foremost feature of inverter generators is that the speed of their engine adjusts itself according to the amount of power you required at the moment, which makes them incredibly energy efficient.
- Produces no noise
- Runs for a long amount of time
- Displays maximum performance
- Releases low emissions
- Doesn’t require frequent refilling
- 20% more fuel-efficient
- Quite expensive
- Cannot power heavy appliances or the entire home
What type of generator is best for your home?
If you’re looking for a reliable generator that works well in Florida’s unpredictable hurricane season, it’s crucial to understand your options and needs.
If you can tolerate Florida’s heat and wait until your electricity is back, a small portable generator is your best option. With a portable generator, you can run a few lights and fans, as well as your fridge.
When planning to buy this type of generator, consider the type of fuel used to run them. If there is a natural disaster, you need to think about obtaining gas or diesel to operate it. Moreover, the generator’s loud noise may bother neighbors if they live close by.
If portable generators can’t fulfill your basic needs and requirements, a standby generator is your best choice. A standby generator runs automatically and can power your entire home. Since it uses propane or natural gas, there is no need to worry about refueling. Furthermore, it has a quite low neighborhood-friendly sound.
Maintenance of a home generator
Generators are simple machines that require little maintenance. However, they do need certain types of maintenance for better functioning and outlasting. We recommend that generator owners hire a professional to get proper inspection and repairs.
Preventative maintenance involves looking for worn parts and proper operation before your generator malfunctions.
- Ensuring that the fuel hoses are clear from debris and are supplying the proper amount of fuel.
- Lubricating the moving parts in the generator
- Ensuring that electrical components are not damaged or corroded
Inspection and repairs
When your generator starts malfunctioning or stops generating any power, it’s time to get it repaired or inspected.
Common items that should be replaced or repaired include:
- Fuel hoses
- Control panel
- Voltage regulator
- Battery charging system
How much does a home generator cost?
The cost of a generator varies greatly. At a bare minimum, it will cost $400 for a generator that can power your lights and charge your phones and laptops. It’s crucial to check upon the number of watts a house generator has to determine what appliances it can run without being overloaded. An overloaded generator cannot function and fails, so it’s important to estimate the number of watts you use.
A whole-home generator costs around $1,000 to $6,000. Prices can be as high as $10,000 for good whole-home generators, but we don’t recommend buying a machine this expensive.
How to choose a generator that fits your requirements
To choose a generator that powers all the appliances you find important during a power failure, make a list of all the items you will be using during a power outage. Don’t forget to make a separate list of items that you’ll be using simultaneously. Then calculate the number of watts you’ll need your generator to operate.
The most critical appliances to run during a power failure are:
- Sewage pumps
- Heating and cooling systems
You should also consider how some devices have higher starting watts than their running watts. For example, if your refrigerator runs at 700 watts, but starting it up may require 2,100 watts. Therefore, make sure your generator has at least 2,100 peak watts to handle the starting of the refrigerator.
Considering all these crucial aspects, it’s important to hire an expert to help you with a safe and easy installation of a home generator, so you don’t end up buying the wrong generator.
Contact us now for a convenient, safe, and budget-friendly generator installation that benefits you and your family in the long run.