Generators are useful household appliances to supply power when there is no grid electricity. Admit it or not, having a power generator at home is of huge relief.
If you are going to shop for a generator, perhaps you should consider an inverter generator. They function almost the same as the conventional ones but offer more advantages thanks to the improvement in the engine.
Scroll down for more information!
Inverter Generator Definition
You probably have come across the common 12-volt battery inverter, which converts 12-volt DC power into 120-volt AC power. But do you know the portable inverter generator?
Introduced by Honda a decade ago, this electrical device makes use of fossil fuels to run an internal combustion engine. Compared to the conventional machine which generates one block wave per rotation, the inverter generator can produce more AC power.
However, you cannot use electrical energy directly. It needs transforming into DC power before becoming the standard 120-volt, 60-Hz AC power again thanks to the electronic inverter module. More importantly, the output power is super clean and suitable for sensitive equipment, for example, medical devices.
Another difference between the common generators and portable inverter generators lies in the engine speed. Speaking of the former, the motor must operate at a fixed rate of 3,600 rpm. Meanwhile, the engine speed of the latter mostly depends on your desired electrical demand.
These characteristics largely contribute to the incredible advantages of the modern inverter generator. Wonder what they are? Check out the next part!
Benefits Of An Inverter Generator
The first and foremost benefit of this portable device is undoubtedly the high fuel efficiency. As mentioned above, the inverter generator runs at an adjustable speed to produce only the needed amount of electricity.
Therefore, it is no surprise that the inverter can consume 40% less fuel than the common electrical equipment. A 2000-watt unit can work for nearly four hours at the rated load with only a gallon of fuel.
The portable generators are considered environmentally friendly as they saves much fuel while operating. Using modern inverters can slow down the depletion process of these natural resources.
On top of that, unlike the noisy regular generators, the inverter generators work in complete silence. You can run the machine even at midnight without worrying about waking up your family or disturbing your neighbors.
Since the inverters require no huge fuel tanks, they are more compact and lightweight. For example, 1,000-watt inverter generators weigh about 30 pounds, which is approximately the weight of a small-sized cooler.
What’s more can you expect from an upgraded inverter?
The inverter device requires no special maintenance at all except for the annual inspection of the batteries. Meanwhile, the old-fashioned generators require replacing the oil for every 200 hours of use; otherwise, the remaining fuel will drain and leave the carburetor completely dry.
Last but not least, as mentioned above, the electricity produced by inverter generators are safer for some particular electronic equipment such as laptops.
Typical Uses Of Inverter Generators
Prepare For Natural Catastrophe
Natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods, will probably lead to a power cut in your area. Therefore, having an inverter generator in such situations is a must with some particular aid agencies such as hospitals, police stations, etc. Only with electricity supply can these institutions function normally and organize emergency aid programs for the residents.
With normal households, a backup inverter generator will be of great help in many aspects. First and foremost, it will keep your whole family cozy during the catastrophe. Second, you can set your heart at rest as you still have connection with the outside world thanks to the electricity.
Assist At The Workplace
Power tools require a great amount of electricity to function, but the electricity supply line at your working site cannot guarantee to provide enough Amps for all of the equipment. Fortunately, you can count on a portable inverter in such cases. The machine can deliver enough power for 30Amp or 50Amp tools to operate.
Power Equipment In Outdoor Events
A portable generator with enough capacity is extremely useful in organizing concerts and parties outdoors, whether you intend to hold the events in the park or at your backyard. In sporting events, you can see people use inverter generators to power electronic sign boards or floodlights.
The inverter is not only great in terms of convenience but also safety. The essential electronic equipment requires loads of electricity to function, which will lead to a dangerous overload if you source all the power from one supply line. Therefore, you should prepare a handful of inverter generators to prevent a power surge or overloading happening in the middle of the events.
Have Modern Conveniences In A Trip
Are you the type of person who loves traveling on a road trip? Are you planning for a picnic in the woods?
If yes, you should definitely get yourself a portable generator, which allows you to power electronic essentials such as lights, television, radio, or even small freezers. Also, feel free to leave the backup battery at home once you have the electricity at your disposal thanks to the inverter.
Back Up In Emergency Cases
Sometimes the power cut takes place suddenly without any notice because of unexpected accidents. With a generator at home, you will never have to worry about losing power abruptly again. Your life will continue as normal. Incredible, isn’t it?
Inverter Generator Detailed Buying Guide
Power And Outlets
The very first aspect you need to consider is undoubtedly your electricity demand.
There is a wide array of generators with different capacity on the market, ranging from 1800 watts to 20,000 watts. Typically, the 2000-watt devices are the smallest and cheapest units. They are capable of powering some appliances, including lights, fans, etc. therefore, I recommend this kind of inverters for tailgating and camping purposes only.
If you are finding one for the job site, the 5000-watt model is probably the ideal option. It can deal with multiple 15-amp power tools, for example, table saws. On top of that, you can have other conveniences running along with your equipment.
Last but not least, you have the 10,000-watt units for huge electricity demands. This class of inverters can power a residential workplace or even a small home.
In terms of the outlet, it depends on your inverter generators. A handful of small devices will have 120V AC outlets and sometimes USB port. Meanwhile, the 4000-watt models are typically designed with 240V plugs along with 120V outlets.
My advice is you should look for a model with GFCI protected outlets, which comes in handy when you use the generator outside.
Electronic Fuel Injection
I have to admit this is a brilliant feature! Want to know why?
It will relieve your stress about keeping up with the periodical maintenance for the carburetor when your hands are tied. Also, it will be a whole easier to start the generator in freezing conditions.
Frequency Of Use
If your goal of buying the generator is for emergency or recreational purposes, any well-known brand is fine. However, if you intend to use the inverter daily, you need to find a legitimate commercial model to make sure the device lives up to your consistent demand.
The most common fuel type is gasoline. It is widely available and easy to use, which explains the immense popularity. However, do not be surprised to know that generators running on diesel are more fuel efficient as long as you upgrade it periodically. If you are looking for a whole-house generator, diesel models are the better choices.
A more environmentally friendly source of fuel is propane. You can either seek for a propane generator or a gas-powered model that can convert the fuel into propane.
If you are not interested in using fuel, do not worry! There are battery-powered inverters widely available on the market. They have plenty of advantages over the fuel-operated ones, including silent operation, and emission-free.
However, these solar inverter generators are mainly expensive and only meet low electricity demands. It is challenging to find battery-powered devices which offer more than 1800 watts.
In case you decide to go for the fuel-powered types, the tank is the next factor to consider. It is clear that the bigger the tank is, the longer the device can operate before refueling. Most inverters can run from 7 to 9 hours at a 50% load. The runtime can reduce or extend depending on the percentage of power in use.
On the whole, smaller generators will produce less noise during operation. Once you reach the 4000-watt model, there are not many “silent” options, unfortunately.
With bulky inverter generators, having a wheel kit to move them around is beneficial. Note that some manufacturers may ask you to purchase the wheels separately.
Lift Hook Bar
This is a useful additional feature for lifting the device onto the higher position.
How To Maintain The Portable Inverter Generator
Maintenance is a must if you want your portable inverter always readily available whenever in need. Follow these guides to ensure that your device will stay in the best conditions possible.
Give Your Machine Break Time
Most manufacturers advise that users should run the inverter at regular intervals to ensure they can work properly. The suggested time is at least half an hour.
Change The Oil
Remember that most generators need changing their first oil after 30 hours of use. Then, you can wait until after 100 hours of use to change the oil again.
It is recommended to stock oil and filters at hand to prepare for unexpected power outages.
Keep The Tank Empty
Make sure to drain the tank and get rid of any remaining fuel if you are planning to leave the generator in the store for a while. Otherwise, the fuel may cause damages to the tank and the whole device.
How to drain the tank correctly?
The process is simple enough. First thing first, add quality gas stabilizer to the fuel and run the inverter generator for about 15 minutes. Let the engine cool down before running the engine again. Wait until the device runs out of gas, then shut it down.
In case there is a lot of gas left in the tank, a non-conductive siphon is highly recommended.
Change The Plug And Filters
Spark plugs and air filters can function normally for about 200 hours before you need to replace them. If you do not use them frequently to that extend, you are advised to change them out once a year to keep the device in the best condition.
Charge The Battery
With the battery-powered models, make sure you charge the battery to full mode before keeping it in the storage. If possible, it is best to plug the battery into a trickle charger.
Purchase A Cover
A cover will protect your inverter generator from environmental impacts such as rain, wind, bugs, or dust particles. You may not know, these factors are detrimental to the performance of an inverter generator, especially the dust as it can get inside the components.
Portable Inverter Generators Safety Tips
The portable generators give off carbon monoxide emissions, a deadly poisonous gas. Therefore, never run the device indoors or in poorly ventilated areas. Note that even opening doors and windows still do not provide enough ventilation to keep you safe from the exhaust.
It is best to use the machine outdoors only or at the location which is far from windows, doors or crawlspaces.
Electric Shock Threats
It is deadly to plug the inverter generator directly into your household wiring system as it can result in a back-feed, which will injure your neighbors or utility workers.
Prioritize your electrical demands and use the generator for essential purposes only. Do not overload the invert as it can damage the household appliances and electronic equipment in your home.
Make sure you use the correct power cords as overloaded ones can cause fires unexpectedly. Leave the exposed or worn wires alone, also.
Is it possible to start the generator anytime you want?
Of course, no. You can only start and stop the device when there are no electrical loads connected.
The gasoline will expand in suitable conditions, so do not overfill the tank at any cost. If the fuel overflows onto the hot engine, it will lead to a fire or even an explosion.
Wait until the device cools down before adding fuel. Do not smoke near a gas-powered generator. You know, gasoline is an extremely flammable source of fuel.
Place the device in a clear area without the presence of children and protect them from environmental elements such as dust and dirt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use the inverter during a power outage?
Yes, of course. Simply plug the household appliances into the generator, and they can function just as when connected to the grid electricity. However, you cannot connect them all at a time.Be warned that you should never plug your inverter directly into an outlet at home or your job site on your own. It is best to get a certified electrician do it for you.
What is exactly a back-feed?
Can I mount the portable generator on the wall?
Can I use the generator during all weather conditions?
Where can I purchase additional parts?
Is there any difference between rated watts and maximum watts?
Wrapping It Up
The inverter generator is an extremely helpful device when it comes to holding an outdoor event or running appliances in a power cut. I have just presented you with anything you need to know about this incredible inverter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.
If you find this article useful, do not hesitate to like and share with your friends. Stay tuned for more posts! Thank you.
I am a licensed architect who is passionate about all things home improvement industries, I have been doing DIY painting projects and have developed lots of experience around home improvement over the 10 years.