How Does a Standby Generator Work?

How a Standby Generator Works
November 20, 2018

Get familiar with how your generator functions

We’ve already covered many of the benefits associated with acquiring a standby generator. This time, let’s talk about how standby generators work. Because even if you're not the type of person who takes an interest in all the technical details about your equipment, it is smart to have general idea of the way it functions. That way, if it starts acting in a way that it shouldn't, you have a heads-up that something is wrong.

The Components of a Standby Generator

The typical standby generator has two parts: the generator engine and the automatic transfer switch. The generator engine sits outside, in an enclosure that reduces the sound and also protects it from the elements. The automatic transfer switch is the part that goes between the electrical system and the generator.

The engine uses a fuel source, such as the natural gas line, to generate the electricity that you need to power your appliances. The automatic transfer switch monitors the electrical system of your property. When the power goes out, the switch activates and instructs the generator to start up. The electricity that the engine creates is fed into the property’s electrical system.

When the power comes back on, the switch stops the generator and protects any utility workers that may be interacting with the lines.

How Does the Engine Generate Electricity?

The generator engine is quite similar to the engine that you have in your car. It's a type of internal combustion engine. You've even got oil filters and spark plugs in it. Instead of powering the rotation of the car's wheels, the generator's internal combustion engine spins the alternator. It goes at an incredibly fast speed of 3,600 RPM. This movement creates the electricity used by the system.

The engine generates heat during this process, and the cooling method depends on your generator's capacity. Larger generators employ water cooling systems that keep the temperature down. Small generators typically rely on fan cooling systems instead.

Maintaining Your Engine

You pay close attention to how many miles you put on your car, getting your tires rotated, and your oil changed at just the right times. You need to do this for your generator as well, so you know that it's ready to go whenever a storm strikes. The typical maintenance process is not very different from a car. You need to keep an eye on your liquids, such as the oil and antifreeze. Air and oil filters need replacing frequently, with a check every few hundred hours or so.

A standby generator is a fascinating piece of machinery. Once you understand how it functions and the way it protects your property, it's hard not to feel even more peace of mind when you get it setup.

It's time to take on storms and brownouts without worry… and a standby generator has got you and your investments covered!

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