How do Portable Generators Work?

A portable generator can be used for multiple purposes, whether you are preparing for a loss of power or powering up a booth at a trade mart or a food truck, or keeping the lights on during a tailgate. It’s no secret that Arkansas experiences its fair share of power outages, and we want to be sure you are prepared for any emergency. 

Portable generators create electricity from a gas powered motor. They are easy to transport from one location to another and can be turned on by simply tugging on the recoil rope or powering on the electric switch. Whenever your portable generator is running, it can power anything that plugs into a power strip. The number of outlets will be dependent on how powerful a model you purchased.

How Does It Work

According to one of our most trusted brands, Briggs and Stratton, “Portable generators provide electricity by running a gas-powered engine that turns an on-board alternator to generate electrical power. Power outlets on the unit allow you to plug extension cords, electric-powered tools, and appliances into it. In general, the more powerful the generator, the more outlet combinations are available.”

If this were a science lesson, we would tell you that they basically convert chemical energy into mechanical energy and then into electrical energy. Does that sound familiar? As the gas burns, the alternator rotates and produces an electric current. This supplies the power to the outlets.

Safety First

Portable Generators, while convenient, can also be dangerous if they are not handled properly. As any small engine would, they produce carbon monoxide fumes which can be deadly if inhaled. They should never be used in a confined space. Opening a window or a door will not be enough to keep the fumes from filling a space. They need to be powered on outside in the open air. While outside, be sure that the fumes being emitted from your generator are not facing a door or a window. 

Ask us about carbon monoxide detectors that come on certain models to shut down your generator before the carbon monoxide levels get out of control.

Be sure to never add gas to your portable generator while it is turned on or hot. Make sure that it is turned off and completely cooled off before refueling.

For more safety tips, check out our blog entries on portable generators.

Storing and Maintaining your Generator

While you need to maintain your generator regularly, you also need to store your generator in a safe, dry space. You want it to stay clean and free from dust and dirt. If it is covered in dirt, grease, snow, oil, etc, make sure to clean it up before you use it or before you store it. Be sure to remove the towels that you cleaned the generator with before switching it on as well. These can be a potential fire hazard. 

Generators are typically needed quickly and without preparation, because they are typically used for emergency backup power supply. You want to be sure you can access your portable generator in a quick and safe manner by storing it in a dry place that is easy to get to. A food place would be a garage or shed. 

If you are going to be storing your portable generator for a long period of time, even longer than 7 days, empty out your fuel. Or if you want to keep it fueled up and ready for an emergency, fill it with a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel from going bad. 

Portable generators are a lifesaver in case of an emergency, but they can be dangerous if they are not taken care of and used properly. Be sure to follow these tips to ensure the safety of your home and your family, as well as to prolong the life of your generator. 

We love talking shop and answering any and all power-related questions! Give us a call today to discuss your portable generator options at (501) 315-7213