How does a Backup/standby generator work?

A generator is a lifesaver during power outages. If you live in an area where outages are more frequent due to natural reasons or infrastructure problems, you will need a standby/backup generator to power up your home instantly within a few seconds of a blackout.

A standby generator can run on any fuel type, such as propane, diesel, or gasoline. It produces electricity in the same way as any other generator. Backup generators come in different shapes and sizes and can power up your entire homes, businesses, or a selected few things. Places such as hospitals, malls, banks, police stations, and prisons more commonly use backup generators for uninterrupted supply of electric power. The main difference is that a standby generator turns on automatically as compared to other generators.

How Does a Standby/Backup Generator Work?

Apart from the normal working of a generator to produce power, a backup generator consists of a transfer switch to function correctly and efficiently at times of blackout.

Transfer Switch: As the name suggests, the transfer switch is a device that converts electric power from the mains supply lines to the generator. Whenever there is a stoppage of electrical power from your mainline, the transfer switch senses it. It automatically starts up your generator, provided it has fuel and is working fine. Once the generator starts producing electric current, electricity comes back to your system. All this process takes up to 2-3 seconds, and you won’t even know that there was a power outage. The transfer switch does not only start the generator, but it also turns it off automatically once the primary electric power is restored.

More details in this video:

Wiring Backup Generators: A backup generator is wired directly to your home. You have the option to select which appliances you want to run on it, or you want it to power your entire home. A backup generator comes in different sizes so that you can select the best one according to your needs.

Battery Reliance: Since a backup generator starts automatically, it is heavily relied on the battery to start it up. You need to ensure that your unit has a properly working battery to ensure easy startup.

Taking Care of your Backup Generator

Just like other generators, a backup generator also demands a certain level of care and handling. It would be best if you changed oil and oil filters, check the spark plug and ignition coil on the recommended time. Get your generator serviced from a professional at least once a year. Make sure that you install your generator under a shade and do not let dust accumulate on it.

Do check out this awesome video explanation by Steve:

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