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What Causes a Generator to Explode

What Causes a Generator to Explode

Generators are amazing machines that can provide power to our homes and businesses during a power outage. But what many people don’t know is that generators can also be very dangerous if not used properly.

Did you know that generators can explode? What causes a generator to explode? It’s not something that many people think about, but it’s a real danger. If you’re using a generator, it’s important to know what can cause it to explode to avoid those things.

In this post, we’ll look at the various things that can cause a generator to explode and general tips to prevent it. Read on to learn more about why generators explode.

What Causes a Generator to Explode

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Dual fuel generator

Before we look at why your generator can explode, let’s look at how it operates. When you use your generator, it converts the mechanical power generated by an engine into electrical energy.

This process generates heat which could lead to a possible explosion. The common reasons why generators explode are:

1. Heat

A generator can explode due to overheating in a few different ways. The first is if the motor parts get overheated and contact the generator fuel, causing an explosion. Another way is if the generator itself overheats and ignites the fuel tank.

Finally, faulty wiring can cause a spark that ignites the fuel and causes an explosion. It is clear that excessive heat can be very dangerous for a generator and should be avoided.

2. Refueling a Running Generator

When refueling your generator, always ensure that it has had enough cooling time before switching the power back on. The recommended cooling period for most generators is 10 minutes, but this varies depending on their size and what they’re used for.

It could be a simple mistake, but if you don’t follow the instructions above, you risk spilling gasoline on hot generator parts when refueling it. This can cause an explosion, and the fumes from the gas alone can also pose the same significant danger.

Read: What are the types of automatic voltage regulators?

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Portable generator

3. An Overloaded Generator

The capacity of your generator is important to note. The range in which it can operate, with different types for running watts and starting watts.

Starting watts are required to get the generator’s engine started while running watts are needed to keep it running.

Most generators limit the number of starting watts they can handle, and if you exceed that limit, the engine can overheat and cause an explosion. Always check your generator’s max wattage rating before plugging anything in to ensure safety.

4. Lack of a Circuit Breaker

The circuit breaker is your best friend for keeping the generator safe. If you don’t have one, then there’s a chance that your generator will overheat and cause fire or even an explosion.

5. Back feeding

One of the dangers of operating a generator is back feeding. This happens when the power from the generator is sent back through the utility lines rather than being directed to the devices that are plugged into the generator. If this happens, it can cause an explosion or fire.

Read: How to run a generator without a voltage regulator?

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Champion generator

6. Improper Maintenance

When looking at generator explosions and maintenance, you’ll look at the main and other parts of the generator.

The main parts in your generator are delicate and require care on maintenance. If they’re not maintained properly, the wear from heating or cooling can cause a spark that could start an explosion of gasoline fumes.

Generator parts not maintained properly and regularly can break, which will cause a short circuit in the generator. This could result in your house burning down because of an explosion.

7. An Overfilled Gas Tank

When you use your generator, be sure not to overfill it. The expansion of gasoline, when heated, can lead to an explosion. This is why you must ensure enough room for the liquid without allowing any spillover onto your generator.

8. Substandard Quality Cables

Generator cables are designed to handle the electrical load of a generator safely, but using substandard materials could lead your device up in flames.

The plastic covering on these wires will melt and burn anything connected before setting fire to something else like a gasoline tank, resulting in an explosion if not dealt with quickly enough.

Read: Will a generator work at high altitude?

Tips to Prevent Your Generator from Exploding

While a generator can be a lifesaver during a power outage, it’s important to take precautions to prevent it from exploding.

Don’t place it outside and run it while it’s in the sun, for starters. Keep any gasoline or fuel from the generator while it’s operating, and make sure you have a fire extinguisher close, just in case.

Consult the manufacturer’s manual and service your generator regularly to be extra safe. By following these tips, you can help prevent your generator from exploding – and enjoy a little peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions on Generator Explosions’

Why Would a Generator Explode?

The generator is one of the most dangerous tools in your arsenal. It can start fires with just a spark, and you never know when an explosion might occur- especially if there has been damage to it. The sparks can start due to improper maintenance of generator parts such as commutators and brushes.

What Are the Dangers of a Generator?

Generator use can be hazardous to your health. The most common hazards are carbon monoxide poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock, or electrocution caused by contact with live wires. Other dangers include fires, burns, and explosions.

How Far Away Should a Generator Be from the House?

When running a generator, never do so inside or near any windows. It would be best to place it at least 20 feet away from your house with the exhaust directed out of doors.

Accidents happen, but with a little preparation and knowledge, you can greatly reduce the chances of your generator exploding. While generators are incredibly handy devices, they can also be dangerous.

By understanding what causes them to explode and taking the proper precautions, you can ensure your generator remains in good condition and does not threaten you or your family.

References and Citations:

Queensland Government: Generator fuel explosion in back of truck

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