how much gas does a generator use

How Much Gas Does a Generator Use

Generators are an important piece of equipment in establishments, businesses, and even homes which need a steady supply of electricity. It helps during power outages, calamities, or emergencies. Power generators run on gas, which can be very expensive. This is why using generators is not recommended for extended periods of time.

Read on to understand more about generators and how much fuel they consume.

What is a generator?

A portable generator set is a transportable machine that generates electricity. It can range in size from one as large as an icebox up to the size of a moving van. Typically it has an internal combustion engine connected to a dynamo. The engine turns the dynamo at high speed and this makes the electricity flow. After connecting the plug to the generator, appliances, lights, and even a whole house can be powered up.

What are the types of generators?

There are generally two types of generators: backup generator and a portable electric generator.

The backup generator is connected to the home or office and automatically turns on when there is a power failure. It is already connected to the house’s or the building’s mains. It has a switch which starts up the engine when the electricity shuts down. In offices, backup generators are also connected to a battery which serves as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). This ensures that electricity continues to flow even if there’s a power interruption.

A portable generator can also be used to power a house or an office in case of power interruption. However, it has to be manually started and setup before it can provide electricity. It is typically smaller than a standby generator. However, there are portable units which are used by events companies and studios, as well as construction companies, and for rescue operations. These are larger generators which rest on a flatbed truck while in use. These large units connect directly to lights or other equipment which needs the electrical power.

To use a portable generator to power a home, it needs to be connected to the electrical mains. Alternatively, individual appliances are connected via the generators sockets.

Standby generators are usually powered by liquid propane, natural gas or diesel, while portable generators are powered by gasoline.

Why do you need a generator set?

Standby generators provide power during a service interruption. These generators are typically setup to start up the moment that electricity fails. Companies which require continuous operations require a standby generator. Most office buildings have standby generators. Server farms and backup network service providers have standby generators to ensure that their computer networks, servers and other computers continue to provide service to their customers. Other businesses which provide a critical service, like hospitals, banks and credit card companies also make use of standby generators. Construction sites also require multiple generator sets.

Those who live in disaster prone areas also need electrical power. However, these residences would usually opt to have portable generators. Campers, RV and caravans can also bring their own portable generators. It is not uncommon for a glamping site to have their own portable electric generator to provide electricity to the guest tents.

How much power does your generator set need to be?

Before buying a generator set, the owner has to determine the electrical requirements. This is done by adding up the building or home power requirements in terms of kilowatts (kW). Prudent home planning would limit the expected usage to only the necessary lights and appliances. When in actual use, it is up to the homeowner to determine what needs electricity and what does not.

A small standby generator can power between 7 to 12 kW of electricity. This is equivalent to around 15 critical loads, and enough for a couple of lighting circuits, an oven and refrigerator, although not all of those would be powered up at the same time.

A midsize standby generator can provide from 12kW to 20kW. This is enough to power up to 4 lighting circuits, a desktop computer, a laptop, a refrigerator, an oven, and central air conditioning. To power up an entire house, a large generator with a capacity of 48kW may be needed.

Portable generators about the size of a foot stool, have a capacity of 3kW to 10 kw. Larger truck-sized units can provide as much as 50 kW. A 3kW generator can provide enough power for campers in a couple of tents. A large scale outdoor event may require several 50kW generators. Companies provide off-site or event electrical service using these large generators.

How many gallons of gasoline does a generator use per hour?

Like a car, a generator’s fuel usage depends on the load and length of use. For portable generators, it is easier to determine how long it can run on a full tank of gas. Typically, 2kW units have a tank capacity of slightly more than a gallon of gas. These units can run up to 8 hours of operations on a quarter load, or up to 6 hours on half load. A 3kW generator has a larger fuel tank than a 2kW unit. It usually has a 1.75 to 2 gallon tank, and can run between 7 to 8 hours on half load.

A 5kW portable generator may require up to 18 gallons over 24 hours of continuous operation. For large energy requirements, a diesel powered generator is more efficient. A 20kW unit will consume 1.6 gallons per hour on full load, while a 30kW unit can use up 2.9 gallons per hour also on full load. Diesel powered generators are usually used in construction sites and emergency circumstances. For long-term use, a gas-powered generator would have prohibitive operating costs.

Popular 2kW Models

One of the most popular portable gas generators is the Yamaha EF2000iSv2. It is rated at 1600 watt AC output, with a 2kW maximum output, and capable of 13.3/16.7 amps at 120 volts. It has a proprietary Smart Throttle which adjusts engine speed based on the electrical load. It reaches noise levels of 51.5dB at a quarter load. It can run up to 10.5 hours on a quarter load without refueling.

Another popular model is the Honda EU2000i Pros. It is rated at 2kW/16.7 amps at 120 volts of maximum power. With its 1.1 gallon tank, it can run up to 9.6 hours at a quarter load. It is also considered the most rugged for its class.

The Generac 6866 iQ2000 is considered as one of the quietest portable generators in the market. It has a capacity of 1.06 gallons, which can last up to 5.7 hours on half load. This can be extended to 7.7 hours on a quarter load. It has an AC rated output of 1600 watts. It has settings for Economy, Standard and Turbo modes to save on fuel, and for noise reduction. It can be used in parallel with another unit to deliver twice the power.

The WEN 56200i is a super quiet generator capable of 2 kW output. It is rated at 1600 watts. It has two 3-prong 120V AC output, a 12V DC output, and a 5V USB port. It can run up to 6 hours on half load on a full 1 gallon tank. It can also be connected to another unit to deliver twice the output.


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