When is a home generator useful?

Elec­tric gen­er­a­tors are most often used in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions. When the elec­tric­i­ty sup­ply to the site is inter­rupt­ed, it is enough to pull this unit out of the garage and start it in order to restore the pow­er sup­ply for a while.

Many peo­ple con­sid­er such a device an unnec­es­sary lux­u­ry. How­ev­er, in set­tle­ments where pow­er is often inter­rupt­ed or dur­ing an emer­gency, a gen­er­a­tor can help out.


This option is prefer­able if the site is expect­ed to car­ry out weld­ing and con­struc­tion work or oper­a­tion will be car­ried out in the open air. The advan­tages of an asyn­chro­nous gen­er­a­tor include:

• Much low­er price than syn­chro­nous pow­er plants.

• Resis­tant to over­heat­ing.

• Full pro­tec­tion against mois­ture, dirt, small debris and dust.

• Mod­est dimen­sions and weight.

• Resis­tance to short cir­cuits, which is espe­cial­ly impor­tant when using a weld­ing machine.

Not with­out its draw­backs, the neg­a­tive qual­i­ties include:

• Unsta­ble volt­age and poor cur­rent qual­i­ty.

• Sen­si­tiv­i­ty to peak loads, gen­er­a­tor oper­a­tion is dis­turbed when devices with heat­ing ele­ments or elec­tric motors are con­nect­ed.

Principle of operation

A gen­er­a­tor is a device for gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­i­ty. It can be used to pow­er elec­tri­cal devices.

  • A pow­er gen­er­a­tor can pow­er devices in a pri­vate home dur­ing a pow­er out­age.
  • How­ev­er, it can also be suc­cess­ful­ly used where it will be an inde­pen­dent source of elec­tric­i­ty.
  • Such places would be, for exam­ple, a garage, a work­shop, a gar­den or a con­struc­tion site.

Fuel type

Gen­er­at­ing sets avail­able on the mar­ket are most often equipped with an inter­nal com­bus­tion engine. Some mod­els can also run on LPG or nat­ur­al gas.

A gaso­line engine, like in a car, may have slight­ly bet­ter per­for­mance, but with heavy use of the unit, it is the­o­ret­i­cal­ly less durable.

When choos­ing a gen­er­a­tor, you should also pay atten­tion to the capac­i­ty of the fuel tank. It is relat­ed to work­ing hours. It’s also worth check­ing to see if the gen­er­a­tor has a fuel lev­el sen­sor and a cat­alyt­ic con­vert­er to reduce exhaust emis­sions.

ICE generators

The most com­mon­ly used gen­er­a­tors are dri­ven by gaso­line or diesel inter­nal com­bus­tion engines.

The pow­er of the unit depends on the size of the engine. It is bet­ter to choose a place for them where the engine noise will not both­er. It is desir­able that it has a roof.

Single and three phase units

Sin­gle-phase gen­er­a­tors require a volt­age of 1~230V. These are low pow­er devices. First of all, they are suit­able for house­hold appli­ances. In turn, three-phase gen­er­a­tors 3~400V are suit­able for high pow­er equip­ment. These are main­ly elec­tric heat­ing, hydrophore instal­la­tions, water heaters and so on.

  • Before choos­ing a gen­er­a­tor, it is also good to check what type of elec­tric­i­ty the pow­er comes from.
  • There is also a more ver­sa­tile device — a three-phase gen­er­a­tor, which also allows you to con­nect sin­gle-phase devices (it has 2 sets of sock­ets).
  • How­ev­er, such a unit should be used accord­ing to cer­tain rules. The pow­er of the cur­rent con­sumed from sin­gle-phase sock­ets can­not exceed 60% of the pow­er of the entire gen­er­a­tor.
  • It should also be ensured that when sin­gle-phase and three-phase loads are sup­plied at the same time, the phas­es are loaded more or less even­ly.

The more pow­er­ful the gen­er­a­tor, the more appli­ances you can pow­er from it at the same time, but also the more mon­ey and space you have to spend on it. Some mod­els are very large. This is espe­cial­ly notice­able in the pho­to of the gen­er­a­tor for the home.


This type of gen­er­a­tor shows high effi­cien­cy in a sum­mer cot­tage, where the main con­sumers are devices that are sen­si­tive to volt­age drops, includ­ing a com­put­er, TV, refrig­er­a­tor. The main advan­tages of a syn­chro­nous gen­er­a­tor include:

• Volt­age with­out drops and surges, and the cur­rent is of high qual­i­ty.

• Resis­tant to three times short-term over­loads at start­up.

• Reli­a­bil­i­ty.

Among the short­com­ings can be iden­ti­fied:

• The con­tact of the brush­es with the rotor caus­es a sig­nif­i­cant increase in tem­per­a­ture and, con­se­quent­ly, over­heat­ing.

• Air-type cool­ing caus­es dust and fine debris to be drawn in.

• Dur­ing oper­a­tion, the brush­es wear out.

• Mod­els from the low price seg­ment do not have mod­ern pro­tec­tion sys­tems.

• Is a source of radio inter­fer­ence.

A syn­chro­nous gen­er­a­tor for giv­ing with active use requires sys­tem­at­ic main­te­nance, which leads to addi­tion­al finan­cial costs.

Generator types

A home gen­er­a­tor pro­duces pow­er in a sin­gle-phase sys­tem, but three-phase gen­er­a­tors can also be found.

Anoth­er cri­te­ri­on is the type of fuel used and the pow­er gen­er­at­ed by the device. The cheap­est are units with a two-stroke engine run­ning on a mix­ture of gaso­line and oil in cer­tain pro­por­tions. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, they are not very eco­nom­i­cal and quite loud.

The most opti­mal choice is a gen­er­a­tor with a four-stroke inter­nal com­bus­tion engine.

The least com­mon devices on the mar­ket are nat­ur­al gas pow­ered gen­er­a­tors.

  • Their main advan­tage is that they can be pow­ered by gas cylin­ders, which is why they are often used as an emer­gency source of pow­er in the field.
  • Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the gas itself is inef­fec­tive and burns strong­ly dur­ing the oper­a­tion of the device.
  • How­ev­er, if you need a very effi­cient gen­er­a­tor that will be used fre­quent­ly, con­sid­er a diesel gen­er­a­tor.

Additional functions

Among the addi­tion­al func­tions and capa­bil­i­ties of the gen­er­a­tor, pro­tec­tion of the device and meth­ods of start­ing should be high­light­ed.

Generator protection

A high-qual­i­ty device should be equipped with an over­heat­ing pro­tec­tion sys­tem. When the engine reach­es a crit­i­cal tem­per­a­ture, such a gen­er­a­tor will be turned off, which will ensure the safe­ty of the engine. In the absence of such a sys­tem, it is pos­si­ble to acci­den­tal­ly dis­able the gen­er­a­tor.

Ways to start the generator

Launch meth­ods include:

  • man­u­al starter;
  • elec­tric starter;
  • autorun.

When using man­u­al start, pull the starter cable. This can cause com­pli­ca­tions when using a diesel gen­er­a­tor in cold con­di­tions and also requires phys­i­cal effort. How­ev­er, mod­ern mod­els start with a half turn.

Starting an electric generator

With elec­tric start­ing, the process is great­ly sim­pli­fied, since the gen­er­a­tor will start with the help of a cur­rent dis­charge. Such a mod­el will cost more.

Autorun mod­els are the most expen­sive. They are used where it is nec­es­sary to auto­mat­i­cal­ly turn on the back­up pow­er sup­ply in the event of a fail­ure in the fixed net­work. This ensures con­tin­u­ous oper­a­tion of the equip­ment. Such func­tion­al­i­ty will be very use­ful in retail, office space and in pro­duc­tion.

Number of connected devices

In order for the ener­gy gen­er­a­tor to ful­fill its task, its pow­er must be greater than the total pow­er of the devices that will be con­nect­ed to it.

Rat­ed (not max­i­mum) pow­er is impor­tant, espe­cial­ly when it is nec­es­sary to pow­er devices with asyn­chro­nous motors that require a lot of cur­rent, such as pumps or hydrophores.

  • When deter­min­ing the pow­er of an elec­tric gen­er­a­tor for a house, add the pow­er of all appli­ances that you plan to pow­er.
  • It should be 70–80% of the gen­er­a­tor pow­er. How­ev­er, this fig­ure may vary depend­ing on the gen­er­a­tor itself and the con­nect­ed devices.
  • Before buy­ing, you should study this top­ic in more detail.
  • Typ­i­cal­ly, 1.2 kW is added to the pow­er con­sump­tion of each device. The pow­er reserve should be 20–30%.
  • Oth­er­wise, the pow­er con­sump­tion may be too high, so you will have to turn off sev­er­al devices.

It is bet­ter not to con­nect sin­gle-phase and three-phase devices to a three-phase gen­er­a­tor at the same time.

Also, if nec­es­sary, you can buy a gen­er­a­tor for the house with auto start.

Starting current

To deter­mine the required pow­er of the gen­er­a­tor, it is nec­es­sary to know what start­ing cur­rent cor­re­sponds to each device. This con­cept refers to the cur­rent that occurs for a frac­tion of a sec­ond when start­ing equip­ment with an elec­tric motor. It can be sev­er­al times high­er than the rat­ed pow­er of the unit itself. Usu­al­ly, the val­ue of the start­ing cur­rent is indi­cat­ed in the instru­men­t’s pass­port.

This table shows the approx­i­mate pow­er val­ues ​​and inrush cur­rent fac­tors of indi­vid­ual house­hold and pro­fes­sion­al appli­ances:

device Pow­er, W) Start­ing cur­rent
incan­des­cent lamp 20–250 1.0
A vac­u­um clean­er 700‑1790 1.1
Elec­tric drill 500‑1100 1.1
TV or lap­top 100–350 1.1
Fridge 150–600 3
Dryer/washing machine 2100–2500 1.5
Heater 1000–2000 1.1
Microwave 1500–2000 2
Elec­tric con­crete mix­er 500–850 3.0
elec­tric hob 1800–3000 1.1
Cir­cu­lar (saw) 1000–1600 1.5
Weld­ing machine 2000–2200 4.0

The quieter the better

Which gen­er­a­tor is best for home? There is no def­i­nite answer to this ques­tion. But anoth­er impor­tant para­me­ter when choos­ing a device is the lev­el of noise it cre­ates, which is indi­cat­ed in the spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

If the gen­er­a­tor is placed out­side the build­ing, then you can still put up with the vol­ume.

  • The sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent, for exam­ple, in the garage. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, most gen­er­a­tors avail­able on the mar­ket make a lot of noise, reach­ing lev­els of 90–98 dB dur­ing oper­a­tion.
  • For com­par­i­son, a pass­ing motor­cy­cle gives 95 dB.
  • How­ev­er, there are mod­els of built-in units (unfor­tu­nate­ly, cor­re­spond­ing­ly more expen­sive), in which the noise lev­el is reduced to 65–75 dB (vac­u­um clean­er — 70 dB).

Four stroke station

For a sub­ur­ban area where the gen­er­a­tor will be used for a long time peri­od (from 5 hours or more), it is rec­om­mend­ed to buy a four-stroke pow­er plant. Such an inter­nal com­bus­tion engine is mount­ed in equip­ment with a total pow­er of more than 1 kW. The pos­i­tive qual­i­ties of the instal­la­tion include:

• Increased resis­tance to stress.

• Low noise lev­el.

• Large pow­er rat­ing.

• Sys­tem reli­a­bil­i­ty.

• Fuel con­sump­tion is 25% less than two-stroke.

Also, the advan­tages include the pres­ence of a sep­a­rate con­tain­er for the lubri­cant. This reduces start-up and main­te­nance time as there is no need to pre­pare an oil-fuel mix­ture. Among the short­com­ings can be iden­ti­fied:

• Com­plex­i­ty of ser­vice.

• The design has addi­tion­al nodes and details.

• In the win­ter sea­son, start­ing is com­pli­cat­ed due to the neg­a­tive ambi­ent tem­per­a­ture.

Photo generator for home

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