In today’s day and age, people have come to expect unreliable power. More and more homes are experiencing power outages that are both annoying and disruptive to home life. Investing in a good power backup is gaining popularity.
On the topic of power backup, the first thing that comes to mind is a generator. A generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical power for use in an external circuit. While the common generators in the market are internal combustion engine running on fuel, others like steam turbines, gas turbines, water turbines, and even hand cranks have been known to provide backup power.
These generators come very handy during a snowstorm or a hurricane. Times like these when you would need a reliable power source to keep things going while waiting for power to come back on. But before running to the nearest retailer and purchasing one, or going online and getting one delivered, it’s important to take into consideration several crucial factors that are essential in selecting the best generators for home use.
- Power Requirement
No two homes are the same, which goes without saying that no two homes have the same power consumption. Generators are not a substitute for the normal power you get from your provider. It can’t run your entire house 100% during a blackout. Knowing the crucial appliances you want running when the power goes out is imperative. Things like lights, heat/AC, and a couple of fans are the usual items we want to keep operational during power outages. Adding a TV also helps to keep up to date with news, while some homes opt to allocate power for charging phones and laptops.
- Portable vs. Standby
Generators typically come in two types: portable and standby. Portable generators are usually gas-powered that you manually have to start during a power outage. While standby generators are powered by natural gas or propane and start automatically during power outages.
Portable generators are the simplest way of supplying backup power to your home. It is usually advised to run these outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. The downside to portable generators is you have to run extension cords around your home to power the appliances you want to keep running. You are also limited to how many things you can plug in at once.
Standby generators automatically turn on when the power goes out. This is an ideal option if you live in a place where power outages are frequent. Best standby generators are powerful enough to run multiple appliances at the same time. One advantage standby generators have over portable ones is it is quieter. You also don’t need to store gasoline for power.
- Determining the size
Having figured out your home’s power consumption, and the type of generator well suited for your needs next is choosing the size of the generator. They come in all sizes from generators small enough to run a few appliances to generators big enough to run an entire office building. Two factors are important to consider in choosing the size of the generator: running watts and starting watts. Running watts are the continuous watts needed to keep appliances running while starting watts are extra watts needed for two to three seconds to start a motor-driven product like a refrigerator or an air conditioning unit. Selecting the essential appliances you wish to power at the same time, and listing their running and starting watt requirement will help you in determining the proper size generator you’ll need.
- Run Time
Choose a generator with a long run-time at half-load. The longer the generator can run, the less often you will have to refuel it. A generator with a run-time of at least 10 hours at half-load will allow you to get a full night’s sleep without having to get up to refuel.
Select a generator with enough outlets to plug in all your essential appliances, including the right type of outlets. If you plan to run a higher wattage item, like a window air conditioner, look for a generator with a 30amp locking-type outlet.
With our power grids becoming more and more unreliable every year, power outages are bound to occur more frequently. If you want to avoid sitting in the dark, sweating profusely, with your usual form of entertainment unavailable and