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​The Basics of Air-Cooled Generators

18th May 2018

Though all generators have a basic function in common—providing backup electricity—they don’t all do so in the same way. There are liquid-cooled models and air-cooled models. Air-cooled generators are among the most durable, reliable, and affordable generators available. They have a long history of doing their jobs, like powering your home and appliances, and doing them well. 

The Basics

When generators run, they generate heat, as well as electricity. Their engines must cool to avoid overheating, which can cause engine failure. Air-cooled generators do this with air; they use ambient air and fans to cool the engine. Those fans draw air from outside the unit to pass over the engine and cool it. The fans used to be somewhat noisy, but many manufacturers have improved noise reduction in recent models to make them more suitable for neighborhoods with noise ordinances.

Air-cooled generators often come with automated transfer switches (ATS), which improve the efficiency of the units (take a look at the Kohler 20RESAL-200SELS with a 200 Amp, SE Rated Whole House, Nema 3R ATS). At its most basic, the ATS senses when the power grid goes down and immediately triggers the generator’s start-up. The ATS also has the ability to monitor your electrical system, including power fluctuations and power quality changes that signal an oncoming outage. Overall, the switch’s start and stop processes are more gentle on the generator than a sudden, manual startup, and helpful in preventing problems like overheating.

The Advantages

A primary benefit to air-cooled generators is that they make for more compact, simpler units overall. The components required for an air-cooled generator take up less space than those of a larger, liquid-cooled model. When the unit is diesel-fueled, it is even more efficient because it needs less fuel to power up and can run at a higher temperature.

Because air-cooled generators have simpler designs, they have fewer parts at risk of failure. That makes them more reliable (like the Generac PowerPact 7.5kW Home Standby Generator with a 50-Amp, 8-Circuit ATS 6998). That’s why they are so popular as long-term sources of backup power. Smaller generator models are often air-cooled, as are those large enough to support homes and their appliances during an outage.

All this also means air-cooled generators are generally low-maintenance. Fewer components and strong reliability means fewer parts to maintain, or to give out without a certain amount of maintenance, and that basic maintenance will be easier. With basic check-ups, your generator could serve you well for many, many years.

Find out more about air-cooled models and how they could be right for your backup electricity needs. Take a look at our options online, or contact Nationwide Generators today.