Home Generators are becoming more and more popular because of grid failures, extreme weather conditions or even in emergencies. While standby generators are not economical for everyone, portable generators are the preferred choice due to their relatively low cost, portability and low-maintenance. Most home generators run on diesel, gasoline, natural gas or propane. Irrespective of the type of fuel, every generator produces some sort of exhaust gases, which are an unavoidable by-product of internal combustion engines (as a generator is essentially an internal combustion engine). You can divert these gases using a generator exhaust extension.
There are generator exhaust extension kits readily available in the market or you can make one yourself using simple components. In this guide, we will learn more about generator exhaust extension, what is the need for one and how to make a generator exhaust extension as a DIY project.
Anatomy of a Generator
Before learning what is a generator exhaust extension and its use, let us quickly take a look at the internals of a typical home generator. A Generator is a mechanical device that converts chemical energy stored in the fuel (diesel, gasoline, natural gas, propane) into electrical energy.
The anatomy of a generator is very simple. It consists of an internal combustion engine (usually a four-stroke engine), an alternator (AC Electricity Generator), a fuel tank, starter, battery, radiator, control panel and a few other parts. Working of a generator is also simple.
Supply the fuel and start the engine (most modern generators come with self-starters and if not, you have to manually crank it). Once the engine is up and running, it will spin the alternator, which in turn produces electricity.
Like any other internal combustion engine that we have in our cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses etc., the engine in a generator also works in the same way. It takes the mixture of fuel and air through an intake, combusts the fuel inside the cylinder, produce power to rotate the crankshaft, transfer this rotational energy to spin the alternator.
In this process, the engine of the generator produces harmful exhaust gases during the exhaust stroke of the engine. The main compounds of exhaust gases of most internal combustion engines are nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which is extremely dangerous if you inhale it.
What is a Generator Exhaust Extension?
Placement of your home generator is very important with respect to ease of access, noise and importantly exhaust gases. Most manufacturers do not recommend placing portable generators indoors or closed areas.
While people with garages and sheds are at a benefit as they use some space there to place the generator. But again, we have to be extremely careful and make sure that there is enough air flow in shed/garage so that you can work there without feeling suffocated or to push away harmful exhaust gases.
A simple but very useful solution is to use a generator exhaust extension. But what exactly is a Generator Exhaust Extension? It is a simple set of connectors and tubes that connects to the exhaust of the generator and diverts the exhaust gases away from you.
There are readymade kits available in the market (both online as well as stores) that you use to extend the exhaust pipe of your generator. You can also make one yourself very easily, provided you have the tools and accessories.
What is the need for Generator Exhaust Extension?
Consider this scenario. You are using your generator, which is inside a shed/garage, to power your home/shop and you want to work at the same time. An exhaust extension for your generator comes very handy in this case as you can easily divert the exhaust gases to a different location and you can carryon working without worrying about inhaling harmful fumes.
Even if you are not in the same room as the generator, make sure that the area is properly ventilated as carbon dioxide, which is odorless, cannot be trapped in a closed space. Connecting an extension pipe/tube to the generator’s exhaust will make sure that there are no harmful gases in the surrounding area.
Generator Exhaust Extension Kits
If you are planning to use an extension for your generator’s exhaust, then there are several kits available online. These kits are compatible with most of the popular generator manufacturers such as Honda, Champion, Westinghouse, DuroMax etc.
Some kits come with just the hardware to extend the exhaust and some kits come with all the things you need including the hose as well as a muffler. These are very easy to install and it saves a lot of time as you can fit them right away.
DIY Generator Exhaust Extension
If you are a maker and are familiar with the tools, you can make a generator exhaust extension by yourself as a DIY project. The process is also very simple: have the right set of tools, take a few and accurate measurements, attaching some parts and et voila, you have created an extension for the generator.
Here is a list of the tools you might need to make the exhaust extension.
- Ruler, Tape Measure
- Vernier Caliper (for accurate measurements)
- Pipe Clamp or Hose Clamp
Take Accurate Measurements
Next step is to take measurements. Use a vernier caliper to measure the diameter of the generator’s exhaust output. Each manufacturer has their own exhaust size and hence it is usually not a standard value. Make sure that you take the measurements very accurately for the extension to work properly.
You should also take a measurement of the length of the extension tube/pipe you need. Speaking of extension, you have two options: a pipe or tube. With pipe, you don’t have the comfort of bending/flexing it the way you want (unless you have pipe bending tools).
With a metallic tube, you have the luxury of bending, curving it the way you want. It is flexible and as it is made up of metal, it is also durable.
Install the Exhaust Pipe
Before installing anything, properly clean the exhaust of the generator. Now, you can use either a hose clamp or a pipe clamp to secure the extension to the exhaust. We recommend a pipe clamp as it works with pipe as well as hose.
Loosen the screws of the clamp, slide it on to the exhaust and leave some room to insert the pipe/hose. Now, slide the pipe/hose onto the exhaust (pipe/hose must be slightly bigger than the diameter of the exhaust) and slide back the clamp onto the pipe/hose.
Tighten the clamp using the screws. Wiggle it slightly and make sure that the hose doesn’t come off. You can now route the hose where ever you need, preferably outside the shed/garage with decent air flow and also it shouldn’t come in your way.
Once you secure all the necessary things, it is now time to test the extension. Turn on the generator and allow it to run for some time. Check for any leaks and also if the hose is installed properly or not.
While generators are becoming common now-a-days, using them properly and safely is also important. A Generator Exhaust Extension is a very useful modification you can make to your generator to divert the exhaust fumes away from you. We saw about readily available kits, that you buy and install them instantly or you can DIY with simple parts and tools.