Solving The Common Misunderstandings Surrounding Backup Generators

30 October 2017
 Categories: , Blog


If you are in the market for a backup generator for your home, you may be very confused about all the choices. As an example, many consumers do not understand why something that creates electricity requires its own fuel source. There are many other confusing things and common misunderstandings about backup generators. Until you can ask an electrician personally, the following should help clear up several misunderstandings and confusing things about backup generators.

Electric Generators Do Not "Create" Electricity

This is one misunderstanding that creates a lot of confusion for consumers. Electric generators do not "create" electricity. It is actually the process of electromagnetic induction that generates electrical charges, which is then channeled into a magnetic field. Differences in voltage within the field between the ends of wires create electrical power, and the current is then sent via wires into the electrical/fuse box in your home. This may be even more confusing than the incorrect assumption that generators create electricity, but if you think of generators as "generating" electricity, you can understand the process much better.

Electrical Generators Generate Their Own Fuel

Just as you cannot create energy in your own body in order to move forward, an electrical generator cannot generate electricity and borrow from that electricity to make itself run. All generators operate on an outside fuel source.

These fuel sources include:

  • Diesel fuel
  • Standard gas
  • Propane
  • Natural gas
  • Solar energy
  • Manual crank

You can select generators that run on any of these fuels, and your friendly electrician will install it for you. It will be ready for use the next time your power goes out, but you will also have to make sure there is fuel in the fuel tank (with the exception of the manual crank and solar types).

Generators Do Not Need a Fuel Source Because They Are Already Energy-Producing Machines

Unfortunately, this is not true either. In order for all of the mechanical components inside a generator to move, and move fast enough to generate electrical current, the engine of the generator needs fuel. Anyone who has ever attempted to find a backup generator that does not need fuel of some sort has felt that pang of embarrassment when he/she was told that such a machine does not exist. Even if you invest in a solar backup generator, the machine is still using a fuel source to operate.

Additionally, if you got a manual-crank generator to avoid using a fuel source, guess what? The "fuel" for your generator is you. You are burning energy while turning the manual crank handle to get the generator going. No matter how you look at it, a generator needs a fuel source, period.

Generators Can Last a Very Long Time

Well, that is mostly true. Generators can last a very long time if they are well-maintained and rarely used. If you use your backup generator like the Apocalypse has hit, the generator will have a much shorter life. You have to remember that these machines are supposed to be temporary solutions to a lack of electrical power. They are not typically supposed to replace your main source of electrical power entirely.

Generators Are Easily Maintained by Their Owners

Backup generators are best maintained by a licensed electrician that provides generator electrical services. Unless you absolutely know what you are doing, you should never DIY generator maintenance. The number of dangers involved with these services are not something the average person should ever take head on. A licensed electrician, on the other hand, knows exactly what he/she is doing and can provide the regular maintenance a home generator or backup generator needs. Contact a company like Hans Electrical Inc to learn more.