Putting Power in Your Food Truck

Putting Power in Your Food Truck

How to Pick a Generator for Your Food Truck

Jared, the Generator Expert
Generator Expert

Food trucks are becoming a very lucrative business, and the industry is booming.

Many people are finding the advantages of making their restaurants mobile, but one thing every food truck needs is a properly sized generator.

You may think you can get by with a portable inverter generator, but consider the power your business needs before picking out a source for that power.

Commercial food truck generators are designed to perfectly meet the needs of your restaurant on wheels. When sized properly, you can power your refrigerator, freezer, fryer, oven, drink fountains, and lights with the push of a button.

Advantages Over Using a Portable/Inverter GeneratorInverter Generator
As you may know, you can get generators in smaller sizes. Sure they're more affordable and don't require installation, but they have their shortcomings in regards to powering a food truck.

The first obvious shortcoming is a lack of power. Can a small, portable generator power everything in your food truck? If you've got a refrigerator, freezer, stove, fryer, lights, air conditioner, and exhaust system running at once, a small inverter generator just isn't going to cut it.

And aside from having enough power, food truck generators don't require extension cords. Having a portable generator running your truck means there will be power cords for people to trip over.

The first and most important step is to determine how many watts your food truck will require, then you can size your generator accordingly.

Professional Install RecommendedProfessional Installation
Due to safety concerns, we recommend you have the generator installed in your food truck by a professional.

There is mechanical and electrical work that requires a bit of experience.

Do not install your generator in the interior of your food truck. Generators produce carbon monoxide, so be sure it's installed in a well ventilated location.

Some generators have a tendency to get hot as well, so be sure anything in the installation area is heat resistant and non-flammable.

Guidelines for Selecting a Food Truck Generator
Obeying New Emissions Standards If you're planning to install a generator in your food truck that will pull fuel from the on-board fuel tank, you can use a standard gas-fueled generator.

However, if you're installing a generator that will have it's own dedicated fuel tank (such as a trailer or diesel vehicle utilizing a gasoline generator), you must install an EVAP generator to meet new standards.

Don't Get Fined!
This is no joking matter. According to new emissions standards, if an EVAP generator is required, and an audit reveals a standard generator is installed, the fines can begin as high as $39,000.

The new emissions (EVAP) standards apply not only to the generator, but to all fuel system components, including the fuel tank, fuel lines, clamps, vapor canister, and so on. Even if you have an old trailer that requires a new generator with a dedicated fuel tank, it must be converted (along with all of its components) to meet the EVAP standards.

Make Sure It'll Fit
The generator you choose must be the appropriate size for installation. Whether you're installing the generator in the external storage compartment of your food truck, or you're modifying your food truck to provide additional space for a larger generator, make sure it'll fit before you place the order.

While you're at it, be sure that the voltage meets your food truck's voltage requirements. The voltages you'll typically see are 120V or 240V.

Don't Forget Exhaust
In addition to being careful to provide ample air flow to and from the generator, it's also important to install a proper exhaust system for the generator. Ventilation and exhaust are important for two major reasons.

The first reason is safety. You don't want exhaust seeping into the food truck through the windows and subjecting occupants to carbon monoxide poisoning, but you also don't want the generator to overheat. Proper air flow will keep the generator cool enough to operate safely, so don't close the storage compartment to hide the generator while it's in operation. Leave it open and let it vent.

NEXT: Browse All Food Truck Generators

Jared, the Generator Expert
Generator Expert
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