Generators – Some Things You Need to Know
Be ready for any power situation, whether it be a full outage or you just plan on running a few extra devices that would drain your RV`s power. Our selection of generators ranging from just enough power to more than you`ll need along with all the parts and accessories to deck it out the way you want, will have something for every demand and budget.
One of the more endearing qualities of a recreation vehicle (RV, to many) is that among our possessions (apart from our homes), it is quite fully self-contained. The one thing that makes an RV self-contained is the work of a little-known but very important device, the generator.
With its push-button feature, we would take a liking to the fact that we can produce instant electricity (or power) at the touch of a button. At home, electricity is relegated to the sides because we don’t really work to get it, only pay the bill from the electric company that provides it.
For owners of RVs, there is always the expectation that we can produce electricity just like at home. The problem is that this source of energy, the generator, needs a certain amount of care and maintenance.
Think about this every time: with generators, there is also carbon monoxide. The work is to inspect the exhaust system on the generator set before ever use. Never operate a generator with a damaged exhaust system.
When you are using a portable generator, keep the exhaust pointed away from the camp area, away from people. Test your generator for carbon monoxide prior to using it.
If a generator comes with the RV, it usually gets its fuel supply from the same fuel tank as the engine. When the fuel tank has only a quarter tank of fuel, the generator will shut down. This will keep you from using all the fuel without knowing
The generator will either have some automatic transfer switch if it senses you are using shore power or the generator. It also will decide if you need to plug the RV power cord into a generator receptacle for use.
Generators are usually rated in kilowatts (KW or a thousand watts), so a 4-KW generator is worth 4,000 watts. RV has either a 30-ampere or a 50-ampere electrical system. If you are plugged into a 30-ampere and 120-volt electrical source, you are using 3,600 watts of power. (30 amps X 120 volts + 3,600 watts)
Usually, RV systems are equipped with 4,000-watts generators. Those with 50 amperes usually are equipped with larger generators.
Generator maintenance is simple and straight-forward and with them, it can outlast the lifespan of an RV, given the care it needs. The first requirement is to exercise the gen set regularly. Gas and diesel generators need a monthly exercise where they are run for two hours at least, and with a load.
This regular exercise clears out moisture build up, prevents carbon build up and lubricates the engine.
Other scheduled maintenance
You also need to change the oil and the filters regularly and for some seasonal changes, just like a car. The important thing is to use your generator with a load on it (for instance, turning on the roof air conditioner or putting some heaters on if it’s cold outside).
Generators are designed to be used with a load on it. The exercise and preventive maintenance will keep the motor in tip top condition and adds years to its usefulness.