Why Understanding How Electric Generators Work is So Critical to Using Them Safely and Effectively

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Electricity is truly a wonderful thing. It’s one convenience of modern day life that’s incredibly easy to take for granted, even though it’s the very thing that essentially makes the world go round! Just think about it — from the time you wake up in the morning to the time you fall asleep at night, you’re interacting with a device that’s powered by electricity.

From your alarm clock or cell phone that wakes you up, to the blow dryer, flat iron, or electric shaver you use to get ready with, to the computer you work, to the internet access that’s powered by a modem, to the lights that illuminate your work space and home, and much, much more. The list goes on and on! But if there’s one thing about electricity, it’s easy to appreciate how valuable it is and convenient it makes everyday life when the power goes out.

Whether it’s because of winter snow and ice storm, a sudden, severe summer thunderstorm, or any other kind natural or man made reason for the power to go out, portable and electric generators are excellent sources of backup power. They’re especially important for homeowners or household members that rely on medical equipment such as oxygen machines to keep them well.

Many businesses and establishments, such as hospitals, police stations, fire stations, prisons, and other industries that provide essential personnel service, rely on generator installation and the use of commercial generators to keep people safe. You can do the same for your home and your family members, however it’s important to be aware of generator preventative maintenance best practices.

Though there are different types of electric generators, they all pretty much work the same to generate electricity and power. And once you know how electric generators work, you’ll be better equipped and ready to use residential generators as back up power sources in the event the power goes out.

How electric generators work to deliver back up power

Don’t worry — understanding how electric generators work isn’t confusing or too complicated. In fact you might even be surprised about how easy it is! And chances are, you probably already know how electric generators work and don’t even realize it. That’s because electric generators rely on magnetism as a means of generating power. Have you ever used a magnet to move paper clips around? Or been so bored you wasted time playing with a Wooly Willy toy by making a beard out of bits of metal shavings? If so, then you already have a basic but firm understanding of how electric generators work.

The reason why magnets are able to move paper clips and arrange bits of metal shaving into a beard is because of the movement and flow of electrons. Moving a magnet towards a paperclip or another piece of metal forces the electrons in the metal object to move. Likewise, a magnetic field will form and surround a metal wire that has electrons flowing through it.

As such, the link between electricity and magnetism is quite clear. In essence, an electric generator simply move a magnet close enough to a metal wire to create a near constant flow of electrons. The mechanical action that creates this movement depends on the kind of generator, but regardless, the basic principle is the same. Some generators require a hand crank, while others are powered by steam, nuclear fission, or gasoline.

Most portable residential generators are powered by the same fuel that powers your vehicle. And just like your vehicle, portable electric generators toxic fumes when in use such as carbon monoxide. Exposure to carbon monoxide can result in faintness, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and even death. That’s why it’s so critically important to only use portable electric generators outside of your home and a safe distance away from it. They should never, ever be used in a garage or basement, even one that’s well ventilated.

When refueling a portable generator, always be sure to wait for it to cool down. Refueling a hot generator is dangerous! Gasoline could spill on hot parts and ignite a deadly fire.

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