What Generator Size Do I Need for My South Florida Home?

What Generator Size Do I Need for My South Florida Home?When you decide it’s time to install backup power for your South Florida home, the first decision you need to make is to determine the home standby generator size you need. Now, we all know there’s no such thing as an “average” home size, because every family is different and you might not have quite the same unique way of doing things as your neighbor does. So we generally find it more accurate to estimate according to your specific requirements, but here’s some basic info to help you get an idea. The wattages shown are averages, so allow for some leeway in your calculations:

Critical Items

These are the first appliances that you want to ensure have power, that you can’t afford to have out of action:

  • Refrigerator – 900 running watts
  • Lamp – 70 to 100 (multiply by the number used)
  • Sump pump – 2100
  • Fan – 200
  • Radio/television 50 to 300
  • Well pump – 1000
  • Essential medical equipment such as oxygen tanks – 400

For most appliances that use more than 1000 watts to operate, allow double that number to start up the appliance.

Home Cooling

Given the temperatures in South Florida and depending on your state of health, you might consider air conditioning a critical item, while other homes might not. Central AC has the highest power consumption, with a 24,000 BTU installation using close to 5000 running watts. A 10,000 BTU installation, however, uses around 1500 watts, while a 12,000 BTU window unit uses 3250.

Indoor Equipment

Other non-critical indoor items are the ones that you want, rather than need, to keep running for the sake of living comfortably while you wait for the power to come back. These include:

  • Electric stove – 2100 to 4500
  • Coffee machine – 1000
  • 1000-watt microwave – 1500
  • 27-inch color TV – 500
  • Home security system – 500
  • Computer with a 17-inch monitor – 800
  • Garage door – ½ horse power – 875
  • Garbage disposal – 445
  • Internet, phone charger
  • Freezer – 1200
  • Dishwasher – 1800

Outdoor Equipment

Ok, we know it’s unlikely you’ll be gardening during rough weather, but there’s no way to know what could cause a power outage and if the weather is good, you’ll want to be outdoors rather than indoors. Here’s the running wattage of the various outdoor equipment types:

A lawn mower and chain saw both come in with the highest number at 1200. Weed trimmer, edge trimmer and hedge trimmers all use around 500 watts each, so remember to make allowances for these when you’re calculating the generator size you need.

If the power outage happens to coincide with a Memorial Day BBQ or other event, you’ll need to be sure your home standby generator can handle the electric outdoor grill, too. Most grills draw around 1250 watts, although if you have a particularly large one it might need more power to operate. A pool pump, while hardly a critical item, will draw between 1500 and 2500 watts.

If you’re in the market for a home standby generator, figure out what you’ll want to keep running if you lose power for an extended period of time. Make a list and see what sort of running wattage it uses, then you’ll get an idea of the generator size that will work for you, then request a professional quote to find out what it will cost to install.

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5 Alternative Ways to Prepare Food During a Power Outage

5 Alternative Ways to Prepare Food During a Power OutageDuring a power outage that lasts several days, the one thing you can’t do without is food. You might be okay with limited lighting and hot water, but much of the food in your refrigerator and freezer is likely to be raw and without cooking facilities, it’s useless. While your neighbors are struggling to produce meals using their outdoor gas grills, your home standby generator will ensure you can continue as normal. Here’s an indication of the power needs of various cooking appliances:

Microwave Ovens

Microwaves are great for warming up left-over food or doing something creative with frozen or canned items. The average microwave uses around 40% more than its advertised cooking power, however, so you need to take this into account before using it extensively. This means that a 1200 watt microwave needs around 1500 watts to operate, which is quite a heavy draw on your home standby generator. The advantage of microwaves is that they cook really fast, so if necessary you can turn off something else while you cook and then turn it back on afterwards.

Grills and Toaster Ovens

These smaller appliances offer really good ways to cook during a power outage:

  • Toaster ovens are ideal for using up old bread when you can’t get to the store to buy fresh, and typically use between 1200 and 1700 watts.
  • Indoor electric grills use between 1200 (sandwich grills) and 1400 (barbecue grills) and you have the added advantage of cooking without using fat.
  • Waffle irons use only 1100 watts, so if nothing else you can keep the kids happy with some yummy snacks.

Slow Cookers and Fryers

A slow cooker is a great option for making hearty stews and soups, which are always welcome during the type of weather that causes a power outage. These also have exceptionally low energy requirements, with the average slow cooker using only 200 watts to operate. A deep fryer draws down a higher 1400 watts from your home standby generator because of the intense heat needed to fry foods, but you use it for a much shorter period.

Hot Plates

If you live in hurricane country, having a hot plate stashed away somewhere is an excellent alternative to using your full range when you have a power outage. They’re cheap to buy and easy to store, and operate the same way as your stove top does. A single burner uses an average of around 650 watts, so if you have a double burner hot plate operating at full capacity the draw-down from your home standby generator is less than a typical toaster oven. Hot plates are perfect for reheating food, cooking a whole meal in a frying pan or boiling a pot full of water.

Coffee Makers

Right, we know coffee is the one thing you can’t live without, and here’s the good news: you don’t have to – not even during a power outage. You probably don’t want to leave your coffee maker on all day, because at around 900 watts it pulls almost the same energy as a toaster oven and will be an unnecessary drain on your generator power. Your best bet for getting your caffeine fix is to make a full pot of coffee, then turn the coffee maker off and reheat a cupful at a time in the microwave as you need it.

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4 Reasons to Install a Residential Standby Generator for Your South Florida Home

4 Reasons to Install a Residential Standby Generator for Your South Florida HomeLiving in South Florida has its pros and cons. Hand-in-hand with our wonderful balmy weather comes the hurricane season, which officially begins on 1 June. Once again, we can expect an active season in 2013 according to the forecast from Weather.com, which predicts around 9 hurricanes with 5 reaching category 3 or higher. If ever there was a good time to consider adding a residential standby generator in your home, this is it.

Here are 4 reasons why a backup generator installation can be a benefit during hurricane season:

Reason #1: It Kicks in Automatically

The last thing you want when the weather has gone crazy is to have to go outside and struggle to get your generator going. This is the critical difference between having a portable model for emergency use only and having a fully-installed residential standby generator. Whole-house generator models are wired to your electrical panel, so as soon as the power goes out your generator kicks in automatically. As long as your system is maintained and you ensure that it is kept fully fueled with liquid propane or connected to your natural gas delivery line, you’ll have a brief, few-second delay and then your power will be on.

Reason #2: Powers Refrigerators, Heating and Cooling Systems

There’s a perception in some circles that having a residential standby generator is a luxury, and that we should be able to get by for a short while without power. That theory, however, fails to take several issues into account:

  • If your power is out for three days or more, everything in your refrigerator will need to be tossed out. That’s minor if you’re talking about a few old eggs and some hot dogs, but if you have a family freezer stocked with meat, the losses could be very costly.
  • During a hurricane or any other bad weather, it can sometimes get pretty cold. If your household has vulnerable members who are in poor health, even a drop down to 60 F can cause medical complications. A backup generator installation helps to ensure that you can maintain a comfortable warmth where you need it, as well as delivering hot meals, warm water for washing and other essentials.
  • If you get hit by a hurricane in July or August, you could be pretty hot indoors while the wind is raging and there’s no way you can open windows and doors for some relief. Keeping your air-conditioning running becomes less of a luxury under these circumstances and more of a vital consideration.

Reason #3: Maintains Security Systems and Lighting

Few homes present such an easy target to anyone out for mischief than a home with no power. Lack of lighting means the occupants can’t see anyone breaking in during the night, and it’s not hard for intruders to figure out that no power means no alarm system, either. Sure, they may not be out looking for trouble during the hurricane, but what about during the days following the storm when the weather is back to normal and you’re still waiting to get the power back on? Keep your home and family safe by ensuring all your security mechanisms are fully operational at all times.

Reason #4: Keeps Communications Going

Home phones, mobile phones, computers, internet and even the basic fax machine – all these require power to function. Even items with rechargeable batteries don’t last long without power to recharge them, and if a storm hits your area the chances are good that your family and friends are going to want to be able to check in that you’re safe. That’s difficult to do when nothing is operating. A residential standby generator will keep you connected and in touch with the world. Even if you aren’t able to watch television, you can usually listen to radio broadcasts to stay up to date on the news in your area – if you have power to run the radio.

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4 Benefits of Wireless Remote Generator Monitoring

4 Benefits of Wireless Remote Generator MonitoringInstalling a standby generator in your home is a great idea and gives you the peace of mind and security you need when power outages occur. Monitoring and managing the generator isn’t always so great, however, especially if you’ve installed it in an out-of-the way spot in your back yard somewhere. When it’s raining cats and dogs, the last thing you need is to have to go outside on a stormy night to change the settings! That’s when you need wireless remote generator monitoring. Here are some of the benefits a remote monitor offers:

Benefit #1: Full Simulated Control Panel

The simulated control panel gives you instant status updates without having to leave the house. You can:

–        Change the exercise time

–        Run a complete engine / transfer switch test

–        Change the date and time

–        Check the history to see if the exercise was run on time

–        Monitor the readiness status and check for errors

A wireless remote generator monitor makes it possible for you to do everything from indoors where you’re warm and dry.

Benefit #2: Status Indicators

Your wireless remote generator monitoring device has indicator lights and audible cues that let you know when the generator needs attention. The status indicators operate completely wirelessly and enable you to address any issues, often before the generator shuts down in response to a problem. The basic and advanced models can monitor generators up to 60 kW, which pretty much takes care of most residential installations.

Benefit #3: Easily Mountable

When you’re experiencing a power outage for any reason, it’s helpful to have easy access to your wireless remote generator monitoring device. These devices typically come with a cradle for desk or wall mounting, or a magnetic back for refrigerator mounting. They’re small and compact, approximately the size of a credit card in height and width.

Benefit #4: Permanently Powered

The wireless remote generator monitoring device is A/C powered with battery backup, so no matter what your situation is you can get updates on the status of the generator. When the power goes out, the batteries kick in. If battery power gets low, the unit gives out a chirping sound to let you know. The batteries are easy to change and don’t require any tools to open the housing.

If you’re investing in your home by installing a standby generator, it’s probably worth your while to spend the extra dollars and purchase a remote monitor at the same time. Get one that’s compatible with your generator by asking your installer for recommendations.

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Finding the Best Emergency Generator for Home Use

Finding the Best Emergency Generator for Home UseFinding the best emergency generator for home use depends on issues such as how often you experience power outages, how big the generator needs to be and whether you want a portable or a whole-home generator. But there are other issues to take into account, and the types of generators available all offer different features and benefits from each other. Here’s a run-down on the various models of home backup systems from two major brands, to help you identify the best generator for your home use.

Types of Generators

Standby generators for home use typically fall into three categories:

  • Essential Circuit Generators
  • Whole House Generators
  • Smart Circuit Generators

Each of these home backup systems has a different function, and to choose the best emergency generator for home use you need to identify what you’ll want to keep running if the lights go out. The Guardian series of home generators is available in either whole-house or essential circuit coverage for emergencies only.

Essential Circuit Generators

An essential circuit generator can usually power up to 16 circuits, so you have to choose carefully where you want to direct power if you go for one of these home backup systems. The Guardian series of essential circuit generators starts with the 8 kW version, which can keep all your critical appliances going such as medical equipment, area lighting, kettle and toaster. The 10 kW can provide much-needed hot water or back up a 3-ton air conditioner as well, while the 14 kW can also support a home office, garage or additional bedrooms. The 17 kW can back up a 5-ton air conditioner and, if you couple it with a load-shedding device, it can support the entire house.

Whole House Generators

Whole-house generators are usually liquid-cooled, which means they make far less noise than air-cooled home backup systems. To power an entire medium-sized household along with several air conditioning units, you’d need the Guardian 20 kW model installed. Larger homes and small businesses are better off selecting the 40 kW or 45 kW, which provide solid, reliable horse power with a smaller footprint – and the whole unit packed tightly into a sturdy, weather-proof outer casing. And at 60 kW, you can power a church, restaurant or small retail center.

Smart Circuit Generators

Smart circuit generators have a power output of around 15 to 20 kilowatts. They are also air-cooled home backup systems and can power your entire home if your usage is limited. This means the system provides power to specific circuits, depending on the loads. These units are among the best emergency generators for home use at properties located in hurricane-prone areas, because they enable you to run your air conditioning unit without overloading your system. In this way, they prevent your home from becoming unbearable when you’re stuck indoors during the rough weather.

So, which is the best emergency generator for home use, you ask? Our answer is, it depends on what you need to feed power to and how big your home usage is. One thing we are sure of, however, is that you’ll find the right generator for your needs from among the list of Guardian equipment.

If you’re considering installing a standby home generator, contact us for a no-obligation quote to find out what we can do for you.

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Understanding How to Pick a Home Generator

Understanding How to Pick a Home Generator“20 Million people without power across the United States.”  With global warming taking its toll and causing frequent extreme weather events, this is a news headline that’s becoming commonplace. The loss of power can leave you feeling vulnerable, inconvenience your lifestyle tremendously (think: unable to go to work because garage door can’t open!), and in some cases can be dangerous to your health or safety. It’s not only bad weather that results in power outages, however. Every day, homes and businesses across the state experience minor outages caused by equipment failure, overloading of the grid or any one of a number of other reasons.

You’ve done the math. You know what the odds are of being left without power at the most inconvenient time, and that your best solution for the safety and wellbeing of your family is to install a generator. But knowing how to pick a home generator from among the multiple options available is a science on its own and you aren’t sure where to start. We’re going to demystify the process for you and help you make an informed choice.

Determine Your Needs

First, calculate how much power you need in the event of an outage. Make a list of the essential electrical items that you need to operate. These typically include:

  • Lights
  • Security system
  • Refrigerator
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Medical devices such as dialysis equipment
  • Communication equipment

 

In the warm climate of South Florida, if you have a power outage in summer you may feel your air conditioner is an essential item. Consider the worst-case scenario and determine approximately how much power you need using this power sizing tool from Generac.com.

Conduct Research

Research is important when you’re deciding how to pick a home generator. There are a variety of generator makes and models on the market, and knowing how much power you need is only half of the question:

  1. Search for home generators to find how which models offer the strength you want.
  2. Decide whether you need to power all the rooms in your house at the same time, or if you can manage with a few critical circuits. Powering the whole house is ideal but it may require a more expensive model.
  3. Find out whether the generator model you are interested in installing runs off natural gas or propane, and whether gas lines are available in your residential area.
  4. What size will the generator’s footprint be in your yard, where will you locate it and how will you fit it into your landscaping?
  5. How much noise will your chosen model make, and is this likely to impact your decision?
  6. How do the various models compare in terms of performance such as power output and run times?

The Financial Fun

Once you know how to pick a home generator, figuring out how you will fund it comes next. The “financial fun” includes comparing the prices of the different generator models, as well as what you can expect to get for the cost. Does the price include accessories such as covers or transfer switches, warranty, installation and support? What will ongoing maintenance? How will you finance the purchase – does the manufacturer offer in-house financing, or will you use personal credit to cover it? Does the final cost fit into your budget?

If you’re considering installing a standby home generator, contact us for a no-obligation quote to find out what we can do for you.

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