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Air-cooled Generators vs. Liquid-cooled Generators

Standby Generator Installation:
Air Cooled vs. Liquid Cooled Standby Generators

Standby generators are powered by engines that are vulnerable to overheating. There are two main systems to prevent this from happening. Some standby generators are cooled by forced air, others are cooled by an enclosed pipe system that circulates a refrigerant solution.

Air-cooled Generators


- More affordable
- Easier to maintain


- Generators tend to smaller, less powerful
- Less efficient
- Noisy
- Must be installed in a well-ventilated area

The Whole Story:

Air-cooled generators tend to be smaller and less powerful. Fans force external air through the generator to prevent it from overheating. The air enters the unit, passes over the engine, and then the hot air is exhausted to remove any excess heat. For this reason, these generators should only be placed in a very well-ventilated area (rather than under a deck or in any another tight space). These generators come in a variety of sizes, ranging from about 5 kW to 20 kW. They are typically used to power a few dedicated circuits, rather than an entire home, in the case of a power outage.

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Liquid-cooled Generators


- More efficient
- Generators are typically larger and more powerful
- Very durable


- More expensive
- Maintenance can be costly

The Whole Story:

Liquid cooled generators are typically larger and more powerful. They are capable of providing electrical power to an entire home or commercial property. With a liquid cooled generator, a coolant circulates through enclosed pipes to prevent the engine from overheating. These generators tend to be more expensive to purchase and install, but they are generally safer and quieter. The smallest liquid-cooled generator typically has around 22 kW of power, although some can handle up to 150 kW.

Related: Cost of Standby Generator Installation

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About the Author

ProMatcher Staff, ProMatcher
Orlando, FL 32803

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