Generators are one of the most critical appliances in the present-day world. Electric failures can happen due to a variety of reasons such as natural disasters, load shedding (blackouts or brownouts), system failures, and infrastructure breakdown. Without generators, your world will go dark in such situations. Commercial activities will come to a halt; your personal and professional lives will be disrupted.
There are many different types of generators available on the market for you to buy. Without knowing the details and uses of these generators, you can end up spending your hard-earned money on the wrong machine. In this article, we will explore some of the types of generators and their uses. We have done considerable research on this topic, so you don’t have to, and you can save your precious time.
Types of Generators and their Usage
Generators are classified as per two standards. These standards are mentioned below
- Energy Source
Based on the energy source, generators are usually divided into the following categories
Diesel Generators: These generators use diesel as fuel. Diesel is one of the least flammable sources of fuel, and its availability is the same as gasoline. Generators that run on diesel use a heavy engine mostly and therefore are not portable. Diesel generators are perfect for urban use as moisture affects their working. Diesel storage is recommended for a couple of years. These generators require periodic maintenance from a professional. Diesel generators are very easy to start in winters.
Gasoline Generators: Gasoline generators are portable, less costly, and easy to maintain generators. Gasoline is readily available other than the times of electrical outage. This is not a big problem as you can story gasoline very easily in your home or place of use. Please keep in mind that gasoline generators are very noisy, and it gets difficult to start them in cold seasons. They are also not environmentally friendly.
Bio-diesel Generators: Bio-diesel generators are almost the same as the conventional diesel generators. Bio-diesel is made from diesel mixed with an organic source of energy such as animal fat or vegetable oil. It makes them environmentally friendly. You have to add diesel and natural fuel yourself with a ratio of 80 to 20; this makes it a complicated machine to operate.
Propane Gas Generators: Propane generators produce less emission and have less operating noise. Propane is readily available in case of an electrical outage, can be stored more easily and safely as compared to gasoline and diesel. Propane also has a longer shelf life as compared to other energy sources. On the other hand, propane generators require professionals for installation and maintenance. They are also costly as compared to diesel and gasoline generators. Propane is very flammable, and propane generators consume a double amount of fuel for the relatively same amount of electricity production.
Solar Generators: Solar generators use the power from the sun to produce electricity. They are like the super-hero generators and very costly to buy. The solar panels absorb energy from the sun and the batteries, inverter, and charger; all work together to produce electrical power from the sun. Solar generators require a specific time for charging, and it can vary from size to size. Solar generators are soundless, and once installed, they require annual or biannual maintenance.
Natural Gas Generators: These generators make use of natural gas for running. Natural gas is available in almost all places. These generators are not portable and have a hefty installation cost. Their lifespan is also less as compared to diesel or gasoline generators.
Based on the applications of the generator and their usage, they are divided into the following main categories
Portable Generators: Portable generators are usually run on gasoline. There are some models in the category of portable generators that operate on diesel fuel. Portable generators are small in size, use a less complicated engine (combustion engine), are easy to maintain. The uses of the portable generator are listed below
- Instant backup for electric appliances like TV, refrigerator, security systems, lights, and washing machines
- Power up tools at construction sites and maintenance works
- Devices can be plugged directly into the sockets on the generator
- Easy to carry around with your RV or camper vehicles
- Suitable for small retail outlets and shops
Standby Generators: Standby generators are automatic generators that start running in case of a power outage. They have a very sophisticated and state of the art engines. These generators require dedicated care and protection from rain, sandstorms, and other environmental problems. They operate on diesel or gasoline. Standby generators have the following uses
- Emergency backup for hospitals, banks, government offices, shopping malls, and other sensitive buildings
- Backups for big machines in industries
- Backup for security systems, elevator systems, and fire protection systems
Inverter Generators: Inverter generators are very lightweight, highly portable, and are the best source of mobile power generation. Inverter generators convert direct current into alternate current. The conversion process results in a stable source of electricity for all the sensitive appliances. It is a new technology; therefore, the cost of the inverter generator is high. They have the following uses
- Car batteries
- RVs, boats and camper vehicles which need a constant and stable supply of electricity
Industrial Generators: Industrial generators are heavy-duty generators that can power small and large industries. They are very helpful in times of load shedding or electrical outages. They come in different shapes and sizes (from 25 kW to 3000 kW). Large generators mostly run on diesel and gasoline and require proper maintenance and weekly testing. They are best used in the following situations
- Blackout or brownout in industrial areas
- Power outage due to natural disasters
- Industrial blackout to meet the residential demands
General Maintenance of your Generator
Generators demand proper care and maintenance. If you keep your generator well-maintained, it will not only be fuel-efficient, its lifespan will also increase. You can act on the following tips to ensure your generator unit is properly maintained
- Keep the dust and water away. Make sure your generator is covered while not in use. Try to have a shaded area for your generator.
- Change filters, oil, and plugs on the recommended time. Overusing causes more fuel consumption, and engine life is also reduced.
- Ensure that the cooling system is properly working, and the coolant level is not below the safe level.
- The battery is working properly.
- Testing your generator weekly for around 30 minutes with its stated load capacity.