We should always be prepared for a disaster. Power outages are one of the major inconveniences homeowners have to face.
You have to shift into an emergency mode when trying to walk around the house in the dark, making sure food is not spoiling in the refrigerator and struggling to meet work deadlines without being able to use the computer.
If you are considering getting a backup power generator for your home, you are making a good decision. Natural disasters can bring about a lot of stress when the power goes out. So, having backup power is crucial.
You should research generators before getting one for your home, so here is some info to get you started.
Types of Generator for Home
Primarily, there are three types of generators that you can use to supply power to your home. They are portable, standby, and inverter generators.
This link will give you more info about what options you have when it comes to buying a generator for your home.
A portable generator is powered by gas or diesel. It can run big household appliances, such as the oven, television, refrigerator, etc.
It costs about $400 to $2,000, but it can’t supply power for too long. It also can’t run the air conditioner without a manual transfer switch. Generally, it can provide 3,000 to 8,500 watts of energy to your household.
This manual transfer switch must be installed separately. So, you will need the help of a professional technician for that.
A portable generator is ideal for short getaways. It can charge your RV or boat. This generator, however, uses up a lot of fuel if you want to run it for hours.
You must place this generator 20 feet from the devices that it will be connected to. You also have to make sure it is connected further away from your neighbor’s homes.
A standby generator operates with liquid propane and natural gas. It is more powerful than a portable generator. It can switch itself on and off when the power cuts off and then returns.
This type of generator is highly recommended for emergency power outage situations. It can supply power to all appliances in the house for more than a few hours. Roughly, this generator costs $3,000.
A home standby generator can provide 5,000 to 20,000 watts to your household. Roughly, this type of generator costs between $3,000 and $6,000.
This type of generator uses an alternator and an engine to produce alternating current (AC). Then you have to use a rectifier to change alternating current to direct current (DC).
An inverter generator is the smallest generator out there, and it can fit inside your car. Although it is not the best generator to power big home appliances, an inverter generator can supply temporary power to a laptop or a car battery. It costs around $300 to $4,000.
The main benefit of the inverter generator is that it is not as noisy as other types of generators. Its sophisticated exhaust system helps tone down the noise.
The Correct Generator Size for Your Home
The size of the generator that you pick for your home is important. The consequence of picking the wrong size has devastating effects.
A generator that is too small won’t be able to supply enough power to support the entire household. It may also break the generator and the devices connected to it since it is unable to take the load requirement.
If you buy a generator that is too big, you will only be wasting money and fuel. So, be careful which size of generator you are choosing for your household.
To find the right generator for your home, you have to calculate the total energy needs of the appliances you want to connect to the generator.
For example, according to general energy requirements, you can calculate the total energy needs of your house like this :
Television (80W) + Living room lights (60W) + Refrigerator (780W) = 920W.
In this case, you’d need a generator that can supply 920W of energy to those appliances when there is a power outage. A small chart has been provided below so that you can calculate other appliances in the house.
- Garage Door 1,000W
- Gas Dryer 3,400W
- Gas Washer 850W
- Refrigerator 780W
- Freezer 65W
- Microwave 1,800W
- Coffee Maker 600W
- AC Central 3,500W
General Safety Tips
A backup power generator is a device that needs to be handled with care. Aside from learning how to operate it, you should also keep a few general safety tips in mind.
Don’t Run It in the Rain
You can buy tents to cover up your generator when it is raining. Portable generators must not be used in the rain.
Don’t let gasoline spill on the hot engine. You have to let the engine cool, then fill up the fuel.
Extra usage of the generator requires you to fill it up with extra fuel. Moreover, keep gasoline away from sources of heat or fire.
When it comes to storing natural gas, only store it in an ANSI-approved container, which should be located in a cool, well-ventilated place. You can also use a stabilizer to make the gas last longer.
Don’t Backfeed Your House
Some people try to plug the generator into a wall outlet, which is known as “backfeeding.” This is dangerous as it can electrocute utility workers and also the neighbors if they are using the same utility transformer. Furthermore, it can fry your appliances and burn down the house.
Don’t Run a Generator Indoors
Using a generator indoors may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. So, avoid keeping your generator in the garage, tool shed, or basement.
The engine exhaust of the generator must always be facing away from doors and windows. Some new portable generators include an automatic shutoff when there is a build-up of carbon monoxide in the area. Some include engines that emit less carbon dioxide as well.
There are a number of options to choose from when it comes to getting the right generator for your home. The size and type play important roles, but so does functionality and safety.
Don’t settle for a generator without proper functionality and warranty. Always buy a generator from a reliable source.
Moreover, the company you buy from must also be able to provide proper customer service and maintenance schedule. Since it is a big investment, you must ensure that you are aware of all the usage and maintenance requirements of the generator.