In today’s world electrical energy is more important than ever. Most of us utilize electrical energy every day in almost all aspects of our lives, including heating and cooling our homes, powering our laptops and televisions, charging our phones, and keeping the lights on at night. Without electrical energy, it seems as if we are traveling back in time a century or more. It can be easy to take this energy for granted, but when there’s a power outage, suddenly we notice just how integral electricity is to our daily lives.
This is why having a backup generator is so important, especially during times of extreme temperatures like the winter and summer when it’s crucial to control the climate indoors. Backup electric generators are always good to have, and taking good care of them is equally as important. Understanding how electric generators work is also important, as it can help you choose the right kind of generator and help you take better care of it.
What are Electric Generators?
Electric generators convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Mechanical energy is provided by what’s knows as a prime or primary mover, the method by which mechanical energy is supplied to the machine. This energy can be provided by means such as steam, water, combustion, gasoline, or even physical human motion (typically for portable generators).
Essentially, the rotor within the machine is moved by the source of mechanical energy. This rotor contains a conductor which moves alongside a magnetic field, creating electromotive force. This force produces a voltage which can in turn power electrical devices.
Types of Electric Generators
There are 5 types of electric generators, which include separately excited generators, shunt generators, series generators, commutatively compound generators, and differentially compound generators. Each of these types differ in their output characteristics and each falls into one of two categories: those that produce alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).
To put it simply, DC refers to voltage that flows in one direction, while AC deals with current that changes directions at certain points. On a graph, the voltage produced by DC looks like a straight line while that of AC looks like a wave. DC is typically present in batteries while AC often is used for things plugged into a wall at a distance, such as a lamp. AC can also be converted to DC via transformer.
How Electric Generators Work
As previously mentioned, electric generators produce electricity by first being powered by some form of mechanical energy. This mechanical energy can be converted into electrical energy via the rotation of a conductor inside a magnetic field.This electrical energy can then be used to temporarily power your home. It takes a decent education in electrical engineering to understand how electric generators work at a deeper and more technical level, but this is why it’s important to hire a professional for generator services and installation if you’re looking to have a backup power source for your home.
The Importance of Generator Preventative Maintenance
A professional who installs your electric generator can also give you advice on how to properly maintain it. Taking good care of your generator is important, as replacing it can be an expensive hassle, and you also don’t want it to fail when you need it most. The first thing to do is have your generator serviced by a professional twice each year. You should also periodically check the voltage of the generator’s battery to make sure the output is correct. Spark plugs should also be changed out about once a year. If the generator is gas powered, it’s important to check on the fuel every month or two. Sitting gasoline becomes less effective after just six months.
By knowing a little bit about how electric generators work and how to properly take care of them, you can rest assured that your home will stay properly powered even during a major outage. And remember, it’s always good to have a trusted professional on call to direct any questions and contact if anything goes wrong.