Choosing the Right Generator for a Construction Site: 10 FAQs

Two constructions workers looking out at job site - Choosing the Right Generator for a Construction Site: 10 FAQs Having a reliable generator on any construction site is important for a variety of reasons. Not only is it a power source for tools and heavy duty equipment, but it can also serve as emergency backup power and even improve productivity. Choosing the right generator for your construction site will help you take advantage of the benefits even more. Here are 10 frequently asked questions about construction site generators you need to know. 

What Are Generators Used for on Construction Sites? 

On construction sites, generators are used to provide motive power to various types of machinery, tools and equipment. These include various power tools, air compressors, circular saws, electric welders, and even site cranes. Some construction sites also provide temporary accommodation to workers, and a generator can be used to provide power to appliances and lighting.  

What Do You Need to Consider When Sizing a Generator?

When sizing a construction generator, you’ll need to consider a handful of different factors to ensure you get the right size for your needs. Ideally, you want a generator that provides enough power to run at 70% to 90% capacity. First, you’ll need to consider the size of the site and figure out what equipment the generator will be running, including whether it will be providing temporary whole-site services. The voltage capacity and phase of your generator are also factors that need to be considered. 

What Voltage is Used on Construction Sites? 

The voltage that’s used on construction sites can vary depending on the location of the site, the type of construction work that’s being carried out, and the specific equipment that’s being used. For residential purposes, both Canada and the US use 120 volts, 60 Hz power. In industrial settings or for larger equipment, larger voltages like 480 volts or even 600 volts may be used. It’s very important to follow all safety guidelines and regulations relating to the use of generators and electricity on any construction site. 

How Do I Calculate What Size Generator I Need? 

When calculating the size of the generator you’ll need, you should figure out the amount of power in watts that will be used by the largest motor and all remaining loads. If your number is in kilowatts, you should multiply it by 1000 to get the appropriate number in watts. It’s a good idea to add 10% – 25% to your calculated total to account for reserve/surge capacity, just to be safe. This way, you can ensure your equipment will run at full power when you need them.

What Size Generator Do I Need for a Construction Site? 

The size of generator you need for a construction site will vary depending on your total power requirements for the tools and equipment that are being used. if you’re just running some basic power tools, then a 5000-watt generator could work, But if you have greater power for the whole job site, you will need to look into obtaining a large-scale industrial generator (10kW – 2000kW).   Need help choosing the right-sized generator for your project? Contact our team today for expert advice!

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What Is the Best Type of Generator for Construction Job Sites?  

The best type of generator for construction sites is the one that’s going to meet all your power needs without any problems. There are four common types of generators used on construction sites, which are high-powered generators, medium-powered generators, standby generators, and portable generators  High-powered generators provide huge amounts of power and are used on sites that include machinery like earth-moving equipment. Medium power generators work for medium-sized construction sites, such as house or apartment construction. standby generators are useful if there is an issue with the main power supply, and portable generators allow you to draw power to all areas of the job site, making them more convenient than some other types of generators. 

How Long Can You Run a Diesel Generator? 

Diesel generators can usually run for a minimum of 12,000 hours, and up to 20,000 hours before they need an engine overhaul. As long as they are used regularly and well-maintained, you can expect them to continue running smoothly without any issues. Diesel generators are cooled by water and typically run at 1800 RPM, which differs from a standard generator which is cooled by air and runs at 3600 RPM. To put the usage into context, if you run you’re diesel generator 4 hours per day, it would take roughly 14 years before you reach 20,000 hours of use. 

How Do You Start an Industrial Generator? 

The process for starting an industrial generator depends on the make and model and whether you have a diesel or natural gas-powered generator. Common steps include turning the fuel valve to the ON position and disconnecting any loads before you get started. Turn the engine switch to the start position and hold it until the engine starts. If the air temperature is colder, you may have to pull the choke knob out. It’s a good idea to let the engine warm up for 2-3 minutes before applying a load to the generator.

Portable vs. Standby Generators: Which Is Better for Construction?

The most common type used at construction sites is a portable generator. As the name suggests, a portable generator can be moved to different areas of the job site to power different tools and equipment, as needed. A standby generator is a generator that is used as an alternate source of power in case the primary source fails. This type of generator helps you keep the work going if there is a power failure. Portable generators power heavy-duty equipment at all times, and standby generators provide you with power if there is none. 

Is it Worth it to Buy a Generator or Rent One?  

Deciding whether to rent or buy a generator depends on your budget and your ongoing needs. If you are working on a one-off construction project or your projects are spaced out, it is likely better to rent a generator. If you have ongoing projects and anticipate needing a specific type of generator over a longer period of time, then buying may be the better option. If cost is your biggest consideration, figure out the amount of time you anticipate needing the generator, then multiply that by the monthly rental cost. If the cost to purchase is less, you may want to buy your own.  If you’d like to learn more about generators for construction sites or any type of generator, get in touch with us at VCM Solutions today. 

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