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Last Updated on January 9, 2022
Generators are common household appliances these days. Many people have them on hand to help power the essentials in case the power ever goes out unexpectedly. In many cases, however, these generators were purchased a long time ago and are no longer up to date with the newest technology.
This new technology is pretty cool, and one of the main functions that it promises users is the steady supply of clean power to their homes and appliances. “But wait, what’s clean power? And does that mean some power isn’t clean?” You may be asking yourself these questions, but don’t worry— we’ve got all the answers you need!
In short, clean power keeps your appliances running smoothly and without interruption or flickering. These flickers are caused by— you guessed it!— dirty power. Therefore, if your home is constantly having trouble with flickering lights or tripping breakers when using your generator, you may be getting a steady supply of dirty power.
Why Do You Need To Clean Power?
It may not seem like a big deal to endure the occasional flickering light or tripped breaker, but constantly running your appliances and electronics on dirty power can have lasting consequences and even cause permanent damage to certain devices.
The constant interruption that occurs with dirty power can be extremely detrimental to the battery life of expensive electronics like laptops, tablets, and cell phones.
Dirty power occurs when generators don’t provide the expected power output that they were designed for. If a different power level is required it can cause disruptions from your generator.
What Are The Causes Of Dirty Power
There could be many different reasons that you’re experiencing an output of dirty power from your generator. Luckily, despite the diversity of causes you should breathe easy knowing that there are several solutions available to help you solve this problem.
Before we equip you with the info you need to solve your problem, however, we would be remiss if we didn’t explain exactly what can cause dirty power to occur.
Understanding this will enable you to select the correct solution for your specific scenario. Here are a few reasons why you might be dealing with dirty power:
- Your load is unbalanced
- Faulty parts in your generator
- The voltage is dropping below the normal level
- The voltage is spiking above the normal level
- Harmonic distortion — when you continuously turn appliances on and off over and over again
All of these reasons can be divided into two categories: frequency variations and voltage variations.
One of the main reasons why it’s so important to figure out the cause of your problem is because a solution designed for a frequency variation is unlikely to work to fix a problem with a voltage variation.
Please note that you should also always set up a power regulation system for your generator.
How Should You Clean Up Your Generator Power?
Now that you know all the problems that dirty power can cause and many of the reasons why dirty power occurs in the first place, it’s time to move onto the possible solutions for cleaning up the dirty power being supplied by your generator.
There are several different solutions you can try, and each one is best suited for a specific situation. As soon as you start to experience dirty power (or as soon as you become aware that dirty power even exists) you should try to implement one of these solutions.
How to Clean Up Generator Power Using a UPS
A UPS in the electricity world stands for Uninterruptible Power System. These devices are incredibly simple and very effective, and are the correct solution if your dirty power is caused by voltage variations. UPS’s can provide power themselves by connecting to multiple large batteries.
These systems are connected to generators and, in turn, are able to make the power output from the generator a lot smoother, converting the dirty power into clean power.
Not all UPS’s will be able to connect to or fit with your particular generator, but don’t worry. These are very common and popular devices that growing even more popular by the day.
Therefore there’s a lot of variety and a ton of different options to choose from, which will help you find exactly the right fit for your device.
In fact, it’s pretty crucial that you take the time to research which UPS will pair with your generator, because failing to do so and opting instead for the first UPS you can find can actually be dangerous for your safety.
You can also purchase a smart UPS for your home. These have built-in automatic voltage regulators that will monitor and control the power output, making sure it’s constant and clean.
This is a popular choice for many people who want to safely power their sensitive and expensive electronics like laptops and smart phones.
How to Clean Up Generator Power Using a Separate Voltage Regulator
Although the name is confusing, this is a solution if your dirty power problem is caused by frequency variations.
Separate voltage regulators, also known as automatic voltage regulators or AVRs will help your generator supply only clean power to your appliances. These are even used in most cars to control the power output!
AVRs are pretty simple. They work because they monitor and detect any minute change in the incoming and outgoing power and making the necessary adjustments based on their readings.
These are great because they’re able to fix dirty power and turn it into clean power without disrupting the power supply at all.
As with the UPS’s, you’ll need to make sure that whatever AVR you buy is suited for your specific generator. A good trick for finding the right fit is to make a note of the details of your generator and bring it with you when shopping for your AVR.
That way, if you ever get confused during the shopping process you’ll have all of the necessary information to show a sales representative.
See Also: Generac Generators
How to Clean Up Generator Power Using a Power Line Conditioner
A further option to try is by using a power line conditioner. This option is relatively inexpensive and can easily be added to your generator.
These devices work by controlling the voltage output, which in turn protects your valuable appliances and electronics from unexpected power surges.
This is a pretty great solution if it works for you because these devices are not only extremely affordable but also pretty foolproof to install. This is likely the simplest solution available, which is great if it’s the right one for you.
As with the other two devices, however, it’s imperative that you do the correct research and find out exactly what type of power line conditioner is most compatible with your specific device.
If All Else Fails… Buy An Inverter Generator
If none of these solutions help you solve your dirty power problem, it may be time to invest in a new generator altogether. If this is the case, you should consider purchasing an inverter generator.
These generators are also called “smart generators” because they only generate the exact amount of power required by the appliances plugged in.
These babies can also identify and remove harmonic distortion, which is pretty helpful!
These are super great for several reasons, not the least of which is that they only supply clean power to your electronics. The other benefits to inverter generators is that they can help you save energy and fuel.
Or Call A Technician
If you aren’t prepared to splurge on a totally new generator and the other solutions listed above don’t work for you, you might consider calling in a professional to take a look at the generator in question.
Sometimes dirty power is caused by a faulty generator part that can easily be replaced.
While you can certainly attempt to do this on your own, it is recommended that you seek the assistance or supervision of a trained professional to avoid any unnecessary injuries or accidents.
Be sure that you are also changing the oil in your generator as frequently as is recommended by the manufacturer. Failing to do so can also result in your generator running poorly and causing dirty power problems.
Now that you know all about dirty power and its causes and solutions, you should be well equipped to face any dirty power problems you may be experiencing from your generator.
All of the solutions listed are viable options for eliminating an unwanted supply of dirty power, but make sure that you’re being as safe and as thorough as you can be during the installation process for any of these solutions.