Generators

If you’ve ever moved paper clips around with a magnet or killed time arranging metal shavings into a beard on a “Wooly Willy” toy, then you’ve dabbled in the basic principles behind even the most complicated electric generators. The magnetic field responsible for lining up all those little bits of metal into a proper Mohawk haircut is due to the movement of electrons. Move a magnet toward a paper clip and you’ll force the electrons in the clip to move. Similarly, if you allow electrons to move through a metal wire, a magnetic field will form around the wire.

Thanks to Wooly Willy, we can see that there’s a definite link between the phenomena of electricity and magnetism. A generator is simply a device that moves a magnet near a wire to create a steady flow of electrons. The action that forces this movement varies greatly, ranging from hand cranks and steam engines to nuclear fission, but the principle remains the same.

One simple way to think about a generator is to imagine it acting like a pump pushing water through a pipe. Only instead of pushing water, a generator uses a magnet to push electrons along. This is a slight oversimplification, but it paints a helpful picture of the properties at work in a generator. A water pump moves a certain number of water molecules and applies a certain amount of pressure to them. In the same way, the magnet in a generator pushes a certain number of electrons along and applies a certain amount of “pressure” to the electrons.

In an electrical circuit, the number of electrons in motion is called the amperage or current, and it’s measured in amps. The “pressure” pushing the electrons along is called the voltage and is measured in volts. For instance, a generator spinning at 1,000 rotations per minute might produce 1 amp at 6 volts. The 1 amp is the number of electrons moving (1 amp physically means that 6.24 x 1018 electrons move through a wire every second), and the voltage is the amount of pressure behind those electrons.

Generators form the heart of a modern power station. In the next section, we’ll take a look at how one of these stations works.

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5 Tips for Portable Generator Maintenance

By  | Portable Generator Product Expert

You’re probably already familiar with the handiness and versatility of a portable generator.

But are you making sure its versatility and power will be readily available when you need it?

Maintenance is a very important part of owning a portable generator. Not properly maintaining your portable generator could lead to hard starting and inefficiency.

So follow these 5 portable generator maintenance tips to ensure that your backup power source stays reliable.

1.) Fresh Oil Helps
As with any small-engine power equipment, changing the oil is a major factor in maintaining reliability.Change the Oil The majority of new generators need their first oil change to be done after just 30 hours of use.

After the first oil change is completed, future oil changes only need to be done every 100 hours of use, or every season at the very least.

To be prepared for unexpected extended power outages, stock up on oil, oil filters, and even gas.

2.) Plugs & Filters
Plugs and FiltersWithout a way to breathe and a way to ignite the gas in the cylinders of the engine, your generator would be useless.

Change your spark plug and air filter every 200 hours of use, or at least once at the start of each season.

Having a new spark plug paired with a clean air filter will assure proper fuel-air mixture, helping the engine to run more efficiently and extending the lifespan of your generator.

3.) Store It on an Empty Tank
Fuel StabilizerIf you’re planning on putting your generator away in storage for longer than a month, be sure to drain the fuel from the tank.

Start by adding quality gas stabilizer to the fuel in your tank, then run the unit for about 15 minutes.

Let the engine cool down, then start and run the engine until it runs out of gas and shuts down. If there’s a lot of gas left in the tank, you can use a siphon. Just be sure the siphon is non-conductive, to avoid generating static electricity in the tank.

4.) Charge the Battery
Battery ChargeNot all portable generators will have a battery, but those that feature electric start should be fully charged before storing.

If you can, plug the battery into a trickle charger to keep it fresh and ready when you need it.

5.) Train in the Off-Season
While these storage tips make a world of difference, it’s always best to start your generator every 30 days and allow it to run for a few minutes.

Doing so will help keep components lubricated by circulating the oil throughout the engine.

 

https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/1205-How-to-Maintain-a-Portable-Generator-in-5-Easy-Steps.html

Energy Savings at Home

Maintenance Checklist

Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.

A typical maintenance check-up should include the following.

  • Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
  • Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.

Cooling Specific

  • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.

Heating Specific

  • Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.

Actions To Do Yourself

  • Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.

https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_maintenance