What Are Standby Generators?

what are standby generator

A standby generator is an automatic backup electrical system that automatically kicks on during a utility outage. It uses an automatic transfer switch that senses the loss of electricity and commands the generator to start. When this happens, the generator begins supplying power to circuits until utility power returns. This process can take up to several hours, but in most cases, a standby generator can save the day. It can also be very expensive to maintain.

Automatic transfer switch (ATS)

An ATS is a device that makes a permanent connection between your home and your backup generator. During normal operation, the switch is in the utility position, while during an outage, it automatically switches to the generator position. The switch can be set to supply only a few critical circuits, or it can power all of your electrical system. The switch should be selected according to your power requirements and your backup generator’s capacity.

Automatic transfer switches are built around a microprocessor and continuously monitor the voltage and frequency of the primary power source. They can also draw electricity from another source. Most of these switches default to the main source and connect to the backup energy source only when necessary. There are models that can handle up to three power sources.

Standby generators often have redundant backup systems. This is done to ensure continuous service in case of a power failure. In some cases, a backup generator may be used while the first generator is undergoing scheduled maintenance. In these situations, the second generator is a portable roll-up type.

Backup generator that automatically kicks on

A standby generator is a great tool to have in your home, as they provide instant backup power when the power grid fails. They run on liquid propane or natural gas and are typically installed in the backyard of the home. These generators are ideal for providing backup power during a power outage, which can occur at anytime. It can be caused by severe thunderstorms, high temperatures, or damaged equipment.

A standby generator is especially useful for people who are not always home. Power outages can leave people stranded in their homes, letting food spoil or their security systems go offline. A standby generator can keep you and your family safe, and it can save you hundreds of dollars in unexpected expenses.

Another advantage of a standby generator is that it can power your freezer or fridge, preventing wasted food. These appliances can be costly to replace if they run out of power. Standby generators also save you the trouble of purchasing ice and filling coolers. Standby generators also prevent the need for landline phones, which have dropped dramatically in the last two decades.

Cost of O&M

The cost of standby generator O&M can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the unit, the operating profile, and the type of fuel it uses. A survey of reported maintenance costs found significant variation. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides maintenance costs as a function of generator size, as well as fixed and variable costs ($/kW/kWh). A 300 kW standby generator can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $10,500 a year to maintain.

The initial cost of a standby generator is often the largest part of the overall expense. However, other factors will also determine the total cost. The cost of generator installation, for instance, is likely to be higher than other costs. Whether a standby generator uses natural gas or propane is another factor that impacts the cost.

Standby generators typically use diesel fuel, natural gas, or propane. Some units can burn jet fuel or biofuels. In any event, a standby generator’s operation requires regular maintenance, including proper lubrication and fuel changes.

Preventive maintenance

Regular standby generator maintenance is vital to ensure optimal performance and safety. Ignoring these tasks can lead to costly repairs and even replacement of the entire unit. Regular exercising of a standby generator will help prevent engine rust and corrosion. It will also keep the components lubricated and avoid oxidation of electrical contacts.

Preventive maintenance for standby generators should be performed according to manufacturer guidelines and procedures. For best results, it should be performed by trained technicians. Checklists are available for various generator types and components. If the generator is a diesel unit, the checklist for servicing and maintenance can be based on the manufacturer’s specifications.

Regular preventive maintenance will increase the life of the standby generator. It will also enhance its performance and reduce downtime. The service must be performed by qualified personnel and should be documented. It is important to document and log all maintenance activities so you can track their progress and make necessary adjustments.