Nearly all Americans have experienced at least one power outage, making these occurrences nearly as predictable as death and taxes. Power outages occur for a wide variety of reasons, including bad weather, faulty equipment, and even animal damage.
An emergency generator is one of the best defenses against power outages. You probably never think about your emergency generator until you need it. This is a recipe for disaster because your lack of attention to your generator can render it worthless in the event a power outage strikes your neighborhood.
What is an Emergency Generator?
An emergency generator provides electrical power in case the normal electrical power goes out. They are commonly available in standby and portable models.
Standby emergency generators are actually installed outside of the building, by a company like Meserve Electric, and can either automatically take over when the utility power stops, or require manual start-up. The amount of power that an emergency generator provides depends on the size and model, but emergency generators are able to supply power to entire buildings and many circuits.
On the contrary, portable generators are more commonly used to supply power to smaller appliances and machines, like refrigerators and boats. They are capable of providing power to a house for a short period of time, but portable generators cannot provide the large amounts of power than a standby emergency generator can offer.
Common Generator Issues
Regardless of the type of generator, it will be of no help to you if it is broken. Generators are powerful machines, but like all machines, they are not indestructible.
For example, your generator may not start for a common reason unrelated to the health of the machine itself: battery failure. To prevent this kind of problem from inhibiting the generator during an emergency situation, consider using an automatic battery changer.
Most generators also use coolants. This opens the door for quite a few issues, including coolant leaks and low coolant levels. Emergency generators also need some kind of power source themselves, usually in the form of gasoline, propane, natural gas, or even diesel. If your generator is running and ready to go at all times, it will expend that fuel source and cease to work when it is out of fuel.
If you are uncomfortable with the thought of playing with your emergency generator, have a skilled electrical service-person review your generator’s status and readiness for an emergency. Even if you know the basics of generator maintenance, have a professional perform a routine service check on a regular basis. These professionals can identify and address problems that you might not even notice.