How Do Generators Work?

"How do generators work" with a portable generator

Just because your power has stopped working, you shouldn’t have to. Generators can be lifesavers in the event of a power outage. They provide a supply of electricity so that you can resume life as if a power outage never occurred.

If a prolonged power outage would cause a significant inconvenience or worse, consider investing in a generator.

You may ultimately be confused about how generators work. Are they magical machines that somehow produce electricity at the snap of a finger? Not quite, although the efficiency of generators makes it easy to believe such a thing.

How Do Generators Produce Electricity?

A generator runs on fuel, similar to your car. But unlike your car, the muscle that makes the power is housed in a permanently anchored box.

When a generator runs, magnets coupled with mechanical energy move electrons, producing electricity. When electrons are pushed through a generator, they are referred to as amps, while the pressure by which they’re pushed is measured in volts.

What Parts Make Up an Electrical Generator?

The parts that determine how a generator works are pretty cut-and-dry, as generators are not complex to operate. Check out the moving parts that contribute to making such a convenient machine:

  • Housing or frame: This is the cover that encompasses all the parts, neatly holding them together.
  • Control panel: This is how you control your generator – similar to how you’d control a thermostat in your home.
  • Battery and charger: Like a cell phone, your generator has a battery and a charger to ensure that the battery is charged and ready to go.
  • Lubrication components: Generators have many intricate pieces that keep a generator operating smoothy. These pieces or parts need to be lubricated regularly to preserve the generator’s lifespan.
  • Cooling and exhaust system: As you can imagine, generators produce a good amount of heat. The cooling system helps prevent it from overheating.
  • Voltage regulator: As the name suggests, the voltage regulator balances the generator’s voltage. It can convert electricity from AC to DC whenever necessary.
  • Fuel supply: The fuel tank, filter, pump, and piping all contribute the fuel needed to produce electricity.
  • Engine: The engine gives energy to your generator.
  • Alternator or “genhead”: This piece is one of the most important components when it comes to converting mechanical energy to electrical. It is responsible for facilitating the electron movement that produces electricity.

Do Different Types of Generators Work Differently?

There are portable generators and standby generators. Standby generators are usually the most appealing option since they power an entire home. Portable generators are more for small emergencies or camping tips. Both function in similar ways, making your choice in generators varied and useful.

With the hefty weight of most portable generators, lugging one around can feel like a weight lifting session at the gym. Not only do portable generators have the potential to weigh over 200 pounds — making set up difficult during emergencies — but they can also be incredibly noisy. Assuming that you don’t like hearing the noise of a roaring truck (or lifting said roaring truck), a standby generator can be a more attractive and convenient option.

Standby generators don’t require any dragging, lifting, or unwanted noise. In fact, standby generators offer convenient backup power that is always at-the-ready, and capable of kicking in within seconds of power loss with little to no attention from you.

What Makes Standby Generators So Convenient?

Simply put: The setup and operation of a standby generator involve little to no work from you.

Standby generators are professionally installed with an automatic transfer switch that senses when power stops flowing to your home. Power is then transferred to your standby system, which automatically ensures minimal power interruption. When power from the electrical grid is restored, your home is then automatically transferred back to utility power, returning the generator to standby mode until its next use.

Do I Really Need One?

Every household should be prepared in the instance of a prolonged power outage. Generators provide both security and convenience during an unforeseen loss of electricity.

The type of generator that you choose depends on what it’s being used for. If you’re simply looking to provide enough electricity to go on a light camping trip or keep your refrigerator running during a long power outage, you might consider using a portable generator.

However, if you’re looking for enough manpower to power a whole home, business, healthcare facility, or another larger entity, you’ll need a standby generator. A standby generator ensures that your efforts during your next power outage are virtually nonexistent.

While a generator won’t erase the fact that your neighborhood, home, or facility has a power outage, it will provide you with what you need to go on living your life without the hassle of lost power. Instead of waiting on someone else to restore your electricity, let your generator do the work.

Return on Investment

The cost of generators can vary depending on the model. Standby generators run an estimated $5,000–$10,000 on average. If you choose to go with a smaller, portable generator model, you’ll pay a fraction of the standby generator’s cost but for less coverage.

When compared to the inconvenience of sitting in a dark home with spoiled refrigerated food, generators are well worth the investment. You may not be dealing with power outages daily, but if you do have to deal with this headache, you’ll know that you and your family can be safe and comfortable regardless of when power is restored in your area.

You have the power to ensure the safety and security of those who count on you. Learn more about commercial and home generator installation at your home or business today by contacting your local Mr. Electric at (844) 866-1367 or by scheduling an appointment online.