As autumn begins, the United States is dealing with devastating natural disasters. Meteorologists and other scientists predict we’ll have more extreme weather every year if climate change continues rising at a rapid rate.
It’s essential to be ready for emergencies, and maximizing generator efficiency is a great way to get started. Utility companies shut power off to prevent wildfires, which is frustrating, but important for prevention.
Some households and other groups can’t survive without electricity, such as people with electric medical equipment. Generators provide the power they need to make it through. For everyone else, they make surviving disasters easier and more comfortable.
Getting ready for situations like natural disasters is intimidating, but don’t worry. Learn how to improve your generator system with these helpful tips.
- Don’t Start Your Own Disaster
Buying a generator is a smart move that makes all the difference during a natural disaster or power outage with another cause. Yet, don’t let preparedness make you lazy about safety measures. You don’t need a generator accident adding to a dangerous situation.
There are many ways to start fires, be electrocuted, and cause other electrical hazards with a generator. Even when it’s off and out of fuel, keep your generator away from flammable things and out of reach from kids and pets.
You also need to keep any fuel sources safe, so consider whether you have somewhere secure to store these things. Storage makes a big difference in situations such as when you have room to store gasoline cans but not for propane tanks.
When you bring these two things together and refuel, you have to turn the generator off. If the electricity to your building can’t be interrupted ever, have a backup plan for your backup plan. There’s no excuse for leaving a generator on, and it’s not worth the risk.
Running generators might give off sparks, and the probability rises if you’re running a generator with little to no fuel. If a spark hits the fuel, you could cause an explosion and/or fire. Your entire building could burn, and it could even start a wildfire.
Unsafe generator practices often reduce efficiency, too…and your generator won’t be efficient at all if it breaks.
While generators can save you in an emergency, they’re still dangerous machinery. Treat your generator as such.
- Generator Efficiency Starts With the Right Machine
Generator efficiency has everything to do with conserving energy and getting the most out of machinery. Something you might not consider doing for generator efficiency is starting with the right machine.
Without proper research, it’s easy to get a model not suited for your needs. You could also make a generator purchase and realize you’re not prepared to use it.
For example, most households shouldn’t get a maintenance-heavy, expensive, and hard to move standby generator. If you’re not careful, you could also do something like grabbing a gasoline generator when you want natural gas.
Most individuals look to purchase a portable generator, but there’s no point if you can’t transport it. Make sure to check its weight and know whether you can lift and carry it, or buy one with strong wheels.
- Don’t Run It to Death
Portable generators are the most popular variety of generators for personal use. Yet, it’s important to know they’re not designed to run forever.
Some portable generators last as long as 72 hours, but others can’t run for more than 24 hours. Other generators have even shorter running times.
If you ignore these guidelines, you could damage or break the generator. If you keep running a damaged generator, you’ll never achieve generator efficiency. The most efficient generators are intact and well-maintained.
A portable generator running with no breaks will exhaust its fuel source. Your generator isn’t designed to run on fumes or without fuel.
Make sure to shut it off before the generator is completely out of fuel. Always read the instructions and shut it off for refueling and any other maintenance when it needs it.
- Feed It When It Needs It
Now that you know you can’t start a generator and let it run forever, you need to know when and how to fuel a generator.
There are many common kinds of generators, but the only ones you don’t need to store fuel for are solar and inverter generators.
Solar generators work by charging them before you need to run them, so they hold their own fuel. You have to make sure to let them collect enough sunlight before running them. You may be able to run them until they shut off, but check the instructions.
In every other case, a running generator needs to be turned off and fed every so often per the manufacturer’s instructions. This could look like refilling a gas tank using a gas can, replacing an empty propane tank. In rare cases, you would fill alternate fuel sources not common with homeowners, like hydrogen.
In all cases, you must shut your generator off when feeding it. It might damage the generator, ruining its efficiency. What’s more important to remember is that feeding a running generator is an enormous fire risk.
- Have Fuel at the Ready
Owning a generator means committing to having fuel on hand unless you go solar.
As you read, storage space can be a big concern when choosing the kind of fuel source you want.
Also, consider whether you’re comfortable having a given kind of fuel in your house. For example, some people have concerns about natural gas cans exploding. They might do better with a gas or solar unit.
On the other hand, you might already have fuel you can use with a generator at your home or other building. Plenty of drivers have gasoline on hand for their cars and motorbikes. Grillmasters often have natural gas around.
If you’re looking for convenience, go with a model that you’re prepared to feed before you buy. Another great benefit is that if you have natural gas and/or gasoline for another purpose, you know how to handle it. That eliminates a lot of hassle and worry over learning to work with new and risky substances.
The Facts You Need and the Lifestyle Tips You Want
These tips about improving generator efficiency will help you keep the lights on throughout the year, even in emergencies. This knowledge should provide some peace of mind about disaster preparedness.
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