How To Choose An Emergency Power Generator

Emergency Power Generator – portable or stationary

One downed power pole is enough to interrupt the chain of electricity that connects your house to the power station. In such a situation a home power generator can keep all of your important and favorite electronic devices working.
When it comes to selecting a generator that will suit your needs best, you’ll need to consider buying one of the two basic types: portable or stationary. Read our article and find out how to choose an emergency power generator.

When you experience severe weather conditions which result in a power outage, with a home generator you can be sure that your essential items such as your refrigerator or lights as well as other additional items will be running.

And after a storm, it will allow you to use tools and other power equipment. Owning such a generator can make a huge difference in your ability to comfortably face a power cut, and quickly recover from a storm. But how to choose an emergency power generator?

Here are a few things to consider.

Portable Generators

Portable power generators are often used to provide emergency power during and after a storm. They run off a small gasoline engine, and can supply power to a limited number of lights and devices via extension cords.

Their biggest advantage is the fact that they can be stored out of the way and moved to any place. A portable generator for the aforementioned use use can typically run for 8 up to 12 hours on a tank of gas and provide 2 to 8 kilowatts or more.
Prices of this type of generators start at $500.

Stationary Generators

When it comes to stationary systems, the generator is connected indirectly to a home’s wiring system.
This is the best choice for people who regularly experience long power cuts or those with special requirements for continuous power. Typically, stationary systems run off of natural or propane gas.

Also, they have a “transfer switch” which allows you to choose the devices you want to suppy with power and prevents the generator from feeding power back into the utility supply system, which may endanger utility line workers. The prices of the entire system start at $3,000. These systems can provide 10 to 30 kilowatts or more.

In most locations, in order to instal a back-up system you’ll need to get a permit and have the installation inspected by an electrical inspector. The system should be installed by a licensed electrician.

What Size Generator Should You Select?

Emergency Power Generator First, you should figure out the generator capacity you need. Decide which devices you’d like to run, and add up their electrical requirements .

For instance, if you want to use a small microwave (750 watts), radio (200 watts), and four lights (300 watts), you’ll need a minimum of 1,250 watts. Bear in mind that appliances with motors can require more power to start them than they use running (a refrigerator that needs 1,200 watts to run may require up to 3,000 watts to start).

What can you expect from three typical sizes of generators? Here are a few examples.

  • A 3,550-WATT generator can power:
    • Refrigerator
    • 4 Lights (75 WATT)
    • Air conditioner (10,000 BTU)
    • TV
  • A 5,000-WATT generator can power:
    • Refrigerator
    • 4 lights (75 WATT)
    • Air conditioner (10,000 BTU)
    • TV
    • Microwave (1,000 WATT)
    • Deep freezer
  • An 8,000-WATT generator can power:
    • Refrigerator
    • 8 Lights (75 watt)
    • Air conditioner (10,000 BTU)
    • TV
    • Deep freezer
    • 1/2-hp well pump
    • Microwave (1,000 watt)
    • Electric stove
    • Garage door opener
    • Security system

Safety First

The first thing you need to remember about is safety, regardless of the kind of generator you choose. Generators produce carbon monoxide.
It’s a deadly colorless and odorless gas. Consumer Products Safety Commission reported that 28 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning connected with portable generators after Hurricane Katrina.

Make sure you use your generator safely and follow our advice:

  • Keep the generator dry. Dry your hands before you touch the generator.
  • When you use the generator, start your high-wattage equipment first, one at a time. Next, proceed to lower-wattage devices.
  • Always use generators outdoors, away from your doors, windows and vents; DON’T use them in homes, garages, basements or other enclosed areas.
  • If you have a portable generator, use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated, 3-prong extension cords that are in good condition.
  • Before you refuel the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Remember to store fuel outside in properly labeled, approved containers away from any fuel-burning appliances.
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