How Does a Generator Work?

Kohler generator in foreground, with image of large colonial-style home at night with lights on inside, in background.Electricity is essential to our everyday lives. You need a standby generator when your primary power goes out. Generators keep homes and businesses running even during bad weather or rolling blackouts.

Andreas Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, a trusted name in eastern Pennsylvania, understands the importance of having a dependable generator.

Read on to learn more about how generators work, why they’re so important, and how Team Andreas can help you choose and maintain the right generator for your needs.

How Generators Generate Electricity

Generators are essential devices that convert mechanical energy into electrical power, providing a backup when the main power grid fails. When you lose power, the generator’s automatic transfer switch (ATS) immediately toggles from the main power grid to your generator, allowing you to maintain power.

They can run on gasoline or propane and contain these parts:

  • Engine: The power-producing component of the generator. The size and type of engine determine the capacity of the generator.
  • Alternator: The alternator converts the mechanical energy produced by the engine into electrical energy.
  • Fuel system: Stores and supplies the fuel to the engine. Includes a fuel tank, pump, pipe, and filter.
  • Voltage regulator: Regulates the voltage of the electricity produced.
  • Cooling & exhaust systems: Keep the generator from overheating and safely vent exhaust gases.
  • Lubrication system: Ensures smooth operation of the generator’s moving parts.
  • Battery charger: Keeps the generator’s starter battery charged.
  • Control panel: The user interface of the generator, with controls and meters for operation.

Choosing the Correct Generator Size

Your electrician will help you determine the size that will work best for your family’s current needs while considering your home’s future energy usage. The size of your generator depends on your energy usage, not the size of your home.

Here’s how we calculate what size generator you need:

  • We list all the devices and appliances in your home that require electricity. This might include fridges, HVAC units, lighting, and computers.
  • We determine the power usage of each item. We calculate the total power needs of each device or appliance by adding their starting wattage to their running wattage.
  • To determine how much power you’ll need in a given moment, we make sure there’s a 10% to 20% difference between your home’s highest surge wattage and the generator’s capacity.
  • Now, we choose a standby generator whose wattage rating exceeds your home’s total needs.

For example, if your appliances require 3,000 watts to run continuously, and the appliance with the highest surge wattage needs an additional 2,000 watts to start, a generator with at least 5,000 watts is necessary.

With a safety buffer, a generator with a capacity of around 5,500 to 6,000 watts might be more suitable.

Do Generators Need Maintenance?

Like any mechanical device, generators require regular maintenance to remain in prime condition. Routine checks and upkeep ensure that the generator will function reliably when you need it.

Backup generator maintenance includes:

  • Regular oil and filter changes
  • Inspection and replacement of worn parts
  • Ensuring the battery is charged and in good condition
  • Fuel system checks for leaks or degradation
  • Testing and inspecting the ATS switch

Schedule Generator Installation With Andreas Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning

When it comes to generator installation, Andreas Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning stands out with our commitment to honesty, integrity, and hard work. Our family-owned business, backed by four generations of expertise, offers:

  • 24/7 emergency service for uninterrupted comfort and safety
  • Licensed and insured professionals for peace of mind
  • A range of financing options to suit your budget
  • Service for all brands, ensuring versatility and quality
  • Background-checked technicians to guarantee your safety and trust

Team Andreas treats every customer like family as part of the Carbon, Lehigh, and Monroe County communities, ensuring outstanding service every time.

Call (610) 377-5261 today to schedule a whole-home generator installation.