8 Commonly Asked Questions & Answers About Generators

Do You Need A Generator, Transformer, Or Distribution Panels

As a leading provider of generators, we get asked all kinds of questions about generators. Allow us to answer some of the most commonly asked questions below.

We offer a large selection of portable diesel powered generators available for sale or rent; contact us today to learn more!

#1. What size generator do I need for my small business or home?

The best size generator for your home or business depends on the type of appliances it needs to fuel, such as equipment, pumps, air conditioners and other electronic devices. The typical home uses around 140 to 160 amps of 240 volts of power to simultaneously operate everything. Larger appliances typically utilize 240 volts power, while lights and smaller appliances account for 120 volt power. You will need to determine the number of amps and watts you need in order to find the best generator for you.

Since every business and residence is different, we are happy to help you configure the best option.

#2. Should I buy or rent a generator?

The answer to this question depends on how often you plan to use your generator. If power outages and blackouts are a common occurrence, it’ll pay off rather quickly to purchase a generator. Just because you don’t plan to use a generator that often doesn’t mean it’ll be a waste of an investment to buy one. Standby generators can survive decades, slowly but surely paying for themselves.

We offer generators for rent and for sale. We can help you decide on the most cost-effective option for you.

#3. What is the power factor?

The power factor (pf) is the ratio between kilowatts (kW) and kilovolt amps (kVa) taken from an electrical load. The connected load determines the power factor. The higher a generator’s pf, the more efficiently it can transfer energy to a connected load. Generators without the same power factor are not as efficient and tend to cost more money to operate.

#4. What is the service factor?

The service factor defines the overload capacity of a generator. For instance, if you have a 10-hp motor with a 1.15 service factor, it can handle up to 11.5 hp for short-term usage. You cannot overuse the service factor or you’ll compromise the longevity of the generator.

#5. Standby vs. continuous vs. prime power ratings: What’s the difference?

Standby power generators are typically used in emergency situations when the power goes out. This type of generator is ideal for applications in which there is another reliable continuous power source. It is recommended to only use this type of generator throughout the duration of the power outage and during maintenance and testing.

Prime power ratings have an “unlimited” run time, which means they can be used as a main source of power and not just as a backup. This type of generator is often used on job sites where there is no traditional power source, such as in mining or oil operations, or in remote locations with no power grid.

Continuous power is comparable to prime power in a number of ways but stands apart because it has a base load rating. While it can offer a consistent and regular power supply, it cannot handle overload conditions and doesn’t work well with variable loads.

#6. What is an automatic transfer switch?

The ATS (automatic transfer switch) is responsible for transferring power from a standard source to emergency power. It recognizes when the usual power system fails and automatically jumpstarts the generator into backup action. When the normal energy source regains power, the ATS automatically transfers power back to the original source and turns off the generator. Automatic transfer switches are commonly utilized in data centers, telecommunication networks and manufacturing plants.

#7. Do AC generators operate vars, power and voltage?

The controls on a generator do interact. The power output is operated by the prime mover and voltage, or var contribution, is operated by exciter current level. For instance, if an additional load is hooked up to the output of a generator, the added flow will improve armature’s magnetic field strength and slow down the generator. In order for the generator to keep up, the governor increases power input to the prime mover. As a result, additional generator power is operated by the prime mover input.

#8. Will a portable generator work with an automatic starting system?

No, in almost all cases portable generators do not have the power capacity to auto start. In order to utilize auto start, the generator should have an electric starter or electric choke (for gasoline units) and auto stop and start controls. Auto-start and safety equipment greatly increases the cost of portable generators, to the point that no one wants to buy them. This is why you will not find them for sale.

Learn more about buying or renting a generator:  https://coolingpowercorp.com/our-services/power-services/generators/