Power outages have become a rather serious problem over the years. The Department of Energy estimates that power outages cost businesses about $150 billion annually. Besides companies, also homeowners suffer since lack of electricity spoils food in the refrigerator and prevents heating and cooling systems from working.
Luckily, backup generators can help homeowners avoid the adverse effects of a power outage. And with so many models on the market, most homeowners do not know where to start.
While most people look at the price and the size of the generator, there are also other essential things to look at. Cooling systems are one of the factors that a generator installation company wants you to consider. Following is a brief outline of the different systems and the pros and cons of each.
Why Cooling Systems Matter
A generator’s engine produces a lot of heat when generating electricity. If the engine is not cooled, it would overheat, causing it to fail and possibly start a fire. A cooling system ensures the engine never gets too hot and can continue to operate safely.
Air-Cooled Generators: How They Work
Air-cooled generators use the surrounding air to cool the engine. That can occur either passively or through a fan that blows cool air around the engine. There are two main types; open-ventilated and enclosed systems.
Liquid-Cooled Generators: How They Work
Liquid cooling systems are also called water-cooled systems. They utilize either oil, coolant, or water and coolant to cool the engine.
They work similarly to a car’s engine. A pump circulates the coolant around the engine. The heat from the engine is transferred to the coolant, which then travels to the radiator to be cooled.
What You Should Know About Air-Cooled vs Liquid-Cooled Generators
Air-cooled generators are generally much cheaper than liquid-cooled ones. Water-cooled generators are much more complicated and have more components than air-cooled units. They are also more durable and can generate more power, making them more expensive and usually not a preferred option for residential use.
Mounting costs for air-cooled generators are also considerably low. It will take a generator installation company only a few hours and a few electricians to install the unit. But liquid-cooled generators are usually larger and heavier and must be placed on a properly built pedestal. This whole process could take several days.
Most portable generators have an air cooling system. These units are relatively small and can be carried by two people.
Liquid-cooled generators are usually big and are not made for portability but rather durability and need to be moved by power equipment.
Usually, a generator installation company sets up the generator in one place from which it most likely won’t be moved anymore.
Because air-cooled generators tend to overheat, they do not generate as much power and are often used for residential purposes.
Air-cooled models usually do not exceed 20 kilowatts. On the other hand, liquid-cooled generators are usually used in commercial and industrial settings. They can range from units that power a retail store to units that supply energy to a large industrial plant.
Any generator above 22 kilowatts usually has a liquid-cooling system, as air-cooled ones tend to overheat at that rate. A generator installation company may recommend a liquid-cooled unit if you have a large home that needs a lot of power.
If you live in a sweltering place during summer, a generator installation company may recommend a liquid-cooled generator. Air-cooling systems will not be as effective during hot weather and may fail to cool the engine, causing it to shut down.
Air-cooled generators are a good option in mild to cool climates. The coolant in a liquid-cooled system can freeze or fog when the weather gets too cold, and you might need an engine block warmer to ensure the coolant is always in working condition.
To protect your generator from the heat or cold, you might be tempted to run it indoors. You must know that you should never use a generator in an enclosed space. The exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide. Each year, around 50,000 people visit the emergency department because of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
While all generators need to be serviced and maintained regularly, the maintenance of a liquid-cooled generator takes more time and resources. Taking care of an air-cooled generator can be as simple as checking oil and fuel levels and ensuring everything runs properly.
Because of the complexity of a liquid-cooled system, the maintenance of these units takes more time and might require the help of a professional.
As the repairs for liquid-cooled generators can be very costly, it is vital to take care of any issues as soon as possible. A generator installation company usually offers to maintain the unit for you, especially if it is a commercial generator.
If noise is a significant deciding factor for you, then air-cooled generators might not be the best idea. The fan that blows air over the engine produces a considerable amount of noise and can be very annoying.
Liquid-cooled generators make less noise and have the added advantage that you can add different mufflers for further noise reduction. Trying to reduce the noise of an air-cooled generator with a sound-reducing device will obstruct the airflow and cause the engine to overheat.
You might need to ask your generator installation company about noise regulations in Dillon, SC.
How to Choose
Choosing between an air-cooled and liquid-cooled generator depends on how much you want to spend and your power needs. An air-cooled generator is usually sufficient for an average home in a moderate climate. It’s cheap, low-maintenance, and consumes less fuel than liquid-cooled units.
A liquid-cooled generator might serve you better if you are in a hot climate or have a large business. To make sure you choose the suitable model, you should enlist the help of a good generator installation company in Dillon, SC.
A licensed company can further advise you on what’s best suited for your needs, as cooling systems are not the only things to consider.
Need Backup Power? Call Mister Sparky Generators!
In Dillon, SC, Mister Sparky Generators is your one-stop shop for all things related to generators. Our generator installation company is an approved installer of some of the best generator brands. If you are looking for a new generator or your unit needs repairs, our licensed electricians will be happy to help. Don’t hesitate to call us today.