Buying Gas Generators
Buying gas generators can be fairly straightforward: gas generators are among the smallest and lightest electrical generators available. They're designed to be used for camping, hunting, construction, and in other places where there is no regular electrical service. If you're going to depend on the generator for any significant period of time, it's worth going through a reputable generator dealer.
Gas generator basics
All electric generators have two main components. A motor burns fuel to supply power. And a generator head turns that power into electricity. It's important to note that generator manufacturers don't actually build their own motors. They use engines from well-known names like Ford, GM, and Honda to power their generator heads. When choosing a gas generator, look for one that comes with a brand name motor: it will be much easier to find parts and service for a well-established brand than for some no-name model.
Like any motor, a gas generator motor creates quite a bit of heat and needs a cooling system to prevent overheating. Gas generators are typically air-cooled, which makes them lighter and easy to maintain, but also means they run louder and not quite as cool as larger liquid-cooled generators. Gas generators also run at 3,600 RPM, which makes them smaller and lighter than larger 1,800 RPM models.
The result is that gas generators pack a lot of power into a small package but they sacrifice the ability to run for long periods of time. The air-cooled, high-RPM motors aren't suited for supplying power continuously for days. That's why gas generators are not typically used as backup power systems. It's more common to see natural gas or propane used as fuel in standby generators.
|Popular industrial models include:|
|Size||100 kW||100 kW||150 kW||300 kW|
|Fuel Source||Natural Gas||Diesel||Natural Gas||Diesel|
|Estimated Cost||$20,000 - $24,000||$23,000||$25,000 plus||$90,000 - $130,000|
Choosing a generator dealer
If your gasoline generator will be used for longer stretches of time, or in critical situations, choosing the right dealer is an important part of the purchasing decision. Make sure you meet with leading dealers like:
- Diesel Service and Supply - In business for more than 30 years; specializes in large engines and diesel powered generators from 50kW to 3 Megawatts, with a primary focus on Caterpillar, Cummins, and Detroit.
- Jasper Generators - Family owned and operated, they’ve been in business for more than 13 years and specialize in manual and automatic transfer switches and accessories manufactured by Gen-Tran Corporation and Reliance Controls.
- StandBy Power USA - Established in 2004, they provide a wide range of leading generators and transfer switches to customers throughout the United States and overseas.
- Briggs and Stratton - As the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor equipment, they are also “North America’s number one manufacturer of portable generators and pressure washers, and a leading designer, manufacturer, and marketer of standby generators,” according to information available through their website.
When you speak with a representative from one or more of the above companies, ask what type of generator they recommend, what their service and maintenance policies are like, and how they can help make sure the generator meets your needs.
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