A Brief Guide to Gas Generators

Generators, to keep thing simple, are machines that can safely and reliably convert mechanical energy into a form of useable electrical energy. They are found in many sizes and formats, and must have energy of their own to operate. For example, they can be powered by propane, diesel, or gas. This article will focus on the gas powered generators.

Reasons for Various Fuels

Why are generators made in those three "makes"? In other words, why offer a gas-powered generator when you can cut costs by using other fuels? The reasoning is simple - not all generators are set in one place permanently. There are many types of "portable" generators, and it is often most convenient to have them run on gas or diesel fuels.

Convenience, however, can come at a price. This is because, among the most frequent complaints from portable and gas-powered generator owners is the fact that you have to store and pour a lot of the fuel to keep the machine running.

Is that enough of a "con" to outweigh the other, positive "pros" of gas generator ownership? Let's look at other topics relating to gas generators to find out.

The Power

Because all generators are meant to provide electrical power, it is helpful to understand if the gas generators can deliver enough power to warrant any of their "downside" issues. The common expectation in terms of output for gas generators is somewhere in the area of 3000 to 8500 watts of electricity.

A 5000 watt machine is considered a "survival" machine that will run some lighting, a furnace fan, a refrigerator, and a sump pump. Up to 8500 watts, the machines are considered survival devices that can optimally power all of the household appliances plus a few other electronics.

The thing to remember about this choice in gas generator is that it will usually run for eight hours without the need to refuel, but it will need to eventually have more gas supplies added.

Additionally, one of the things that many forget about a portable generator is that it will need extension cords to deliver energy to the various appliances too. This means that the owner has to run lines to the devices, and to be sure that the cords are rated at the appropriate levels or gauges for the demands put upon them.

The Pros and Cons Considered

Does this mean that gas generators are not well-suited for use in the home? Actually, it is just the opposite. They are the type of generator most often chosen by homeowners because they are affordable, easy to install, and fairly flexible in terms of how they are used.

When a homeowner or property owner decides to purchase a gas generator, they should just understand that they will need to acquire one or two large gas canisters to allow themselves at least 16 hours of uninterrupted operation (it requires between eight and 22 gallons of gas each day to run a gas generator). They should also understand that the devices cannot be installed inside of a home because they are burning gas and must exhaust away from any inhabited areas.

If the owner wants to make the use of their gas generator a bit easier, they can also purchase a transfer switch. This is something that an electrician can install on their circuit box and which allows the generator to plug directly into the system rather than requiring extension cords.

This is a wise investment because it prevents damage to the generator or the appliances should the power be restored while in use. 
There should also be a few "smart" features to prevent damage to the system too. For example, the gas generator should have an automatic shut off for times when it accidentally runs out of fuel or motor oil.

Making the Choice

If you have decided that a gas generator is the right option for your home or building, also keep in mind that you need to invest in the heavy-duty wheels that allow it to be easily transported, and you want to avoid electric starting models if you are not able to maintain a fully charged battery on hand.

Consider too that you need to really assess the amount of power that the gas generator will be expected to produce. If you are thinking of running air conditioning and a clothes dryer while on the system, a gas generator is not for you. If, however, you want to keep the fridge running, the heating system working, and the house illuminated during a power outage, this is an ideal solution.