Modern Generators and Your Sensitive Electronics

Something that concerns many individuals when they are considering a permanent standby generator is whether or not the generator will damage their sensitive electronics. In fact, this can be a reason why some don’t invest in a generator, but this concern can be somewhat unfounded.

But what is a sensitive electronic?

Plasma TVs, LCD TVs, and computers are examples of sensitive electronics. Even the complicated controls that are now found in modern HVAC systems can be considered sensitive to the power that runs them, which can be surviving to some because of the “tough nature” of an HVAC system.

When these devices are powered by utility electricity, there is not usually an issue. However, generator power can produce something called “harmonic distortion,” which can confuse or damage electronic devices that are considered sensitive. The Total Harmonic Distortion, or THD, of a generator determines the potential for problems with high-end electronics or those considered sensitive when the power goes out. The higher the THD, the higher the potential for damage.

The fact is that generator power is not the same grade as utility power. A high THD can mean that the controller for a high-end electronic device may not recognize the power.

The THD matter has been a hot issue in the generator industry, leading to the development of new generator models that minimize the THD to levels that won’t necessarily damage sensitive electronic devices and systems.

For homeowners with sensitive electronics that are considering a standby generator, a THD of five or six percent or below is ideal. You can speak to your generator professionals about what generator is going to be best for the devices that you want to power. That way you can choose one that accommodates your specific needs rather than you having to accommodate the generator.