May 13, 2020

How Do Standby Generators Work?

Each year, power outages caused by technical problems, storms, and other factors leave homeowners in the dark. A standby generator will automatically provide backup power for air conditioners, refrigerators, and more. Most people already know what standby generators do, but here’s more information on how they work.

How Does a Standby Generator Operate?

A standby generator is an automated power system that’s installed outside of a home and connected to a source of fuel. These systems run on either liquid petroleum or natural gas. A standby generator has a switch that connects to the building and controls if the home uses the power grid or the generator as its power source. The generator’s engine can detect if there is an outage in the home’s main supply. When this happens, the power generating unit, also known as an alternator, kicks on. The alternator converts the mechanical energy produced in the generator’s combustion engine into electricity.

Automatic Transfer Switches

Standby generators have automatic transfer switches (ATS) to provide users with uninterrupted power. Some models have an ATS that controls the building’s main circuit breaker, while other generators have a circuit breaker installed in their automatic transfer switches. During an outage, the transfer switch detaches the power grid’s supply and connects to the generator. The switchover process usually takes less than a minute once the generator’s engine starts.

Power Management

smaller standby generator may lack the power needed to keep every electric device running for hours on end. However, power management options ensure that portable generators can run high voltage loads. The system selects the loads to power based on the user’s preset priorities. Critical high load systems, like the AC, stove, and refrigerator, will receive the electricity they need to operate until the restoration of power. Priority-based power management allows a smaller generator to run a home’s most essential appliances efficiently by regulating the system’s output.

Investing in a standby generator offers homeowners peace of mind and keeps the lights on during a blackout. At Seidel Electric Inc., we know that power outages happen. For decades, we’ve provided homes and businesses in New Jersey with reliable backup generators that suit their needs. If you’d like a free quote on a generator, call (908) 760-6941 or reach out online.