Archive for Buying a Generator

Choosing the Best Emergency Generator for Home Use

Don't throw away food the next time you have a power outage!

Don’t throw away food the next time you have a power outage!

You and your family have been through one too many extended power outages after your community was hit by hurricane after hurricane. They quickly get expensive, too. You want to be able to safely use the food you have stored in your refrigerator and freezer, not throw it out. A reliable home generator makes a good power substitute until power is back on.

Determine Your Family’s Power Needs

After the last hurricane knocked power out, you had no electrical service for several days. You ended up throwing hundreds of dollars worth of spoiled food out, which crimped your budget. With no electrical power, you had no air conditioning.

You’re not going to get caught in that trap again. Before you grab your checkbook or credit card, however, you need to determine your family’s power needs. If a family member needs his medications kept cold, for instance, you need a generator that will kick in immediately after the power fails. As you decide how to choose a generator, you also need to know how you’ll use one.

Buy Your Emergency Generator Before the Next Hurricane

If a family member relies on prescription medication that has to stay cold, or if he relies on durable medical equipment powered by electricity, your power needs are much more urgent than those of your neighbors down the street.

Take every one of your family’s power-related needs into consideration before beginning to shop. These needs include powering gates, alarms and security lights, maintaining prescription medications and preserving perishable foods. If you get your water from a well, you need to power the water pump.

Choose Your Type of Generator

Now that you know how much backup power your family will need during a blackout, it’s time to decide just what kind of generator you’ll be buying. You have three choices:

  • Portable generators, which are the smallest
  • Hardwired generators, allowing you to provide power to several appliances at once
  • Whole-home generators, which kick into action as a power outage occurs.

These generators keep operating until your community’s power is restored.

If a generator is beyond your budget at the moment, think about buying a pre-owned generator. These have been completely checked out for any mechanical issues, then repaired so they are like new.

Safety Issues

Home standby generators typically use natural gas as a fuel source, so you’ll need a gas line installation if you don’t already have one. According to Consumer Reports, you should position your generator as far away from your house as possible to prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Popular Mechanics advises that you start your generator up on a regular basis – when you don’t need it – to make sure it’s running properly. Quality whole home generators have a test cycle that runs automatically and alerts you to any problems.

Choosing Your Generator

Now that you know all of this, you should be able to decide what kind of generator you and your family need. Start doing your research and get some expert advice on the right generator for your requirements. Once you get your new standby generator installed, you’re ready for the next big storm.

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Can’t Afford a Generator? Look for a Generator Sale or a Pre-Owned Unit

generator saleWhen bad weather or any other type of disaster hits, one of the first things to go is your power supply. During an outage, you’ll often wish you had invested in a home generator to provide emergency power. It’s never too late, however, and with the end of the hurricane season in sight there’s every chance that you can look for a generator sale in your area and get a good deal.

Choosing a Generator

The first step is to determine what generator is right for your home. Choosing between portable generators and whole-home units sounds simple, especially when you consider the price, but there’s more to it than that. So before you rush off to the nearest generator sale and buy the cheapest equipment you can find, do some research to find out what you actually need.

What Size Generator Do I Need?

Generator size is based on the number of circuits you need to keep going during a power outage. This varies between households depending on:

  • size of the home
  • number of family members
  • climate
  • time of year when you’re most likely to need it
  • special needs such as healthcare

Generator sizes range from small portable units that can support only a couple of appliances or some lights, to large pieces of equipment that can run the home as well as the outbuildings on a large property.

Find a Generator Sale

Once you know what size you need, you can start looking around for the right-priced unit. Begin with your local generator dealer, because chances are he can give you a pretty good price based on your location and the distance the equipment has to be transported. If your installer doesn’t currently have a generator sale, ask when the next one is likely to be. You may find he gives you a good deal without you having to wait for a sale to come up.

Buy a Used Unit

It may be possible to purchase a pre-owned or low-hour used generator, if you know where to look for one. Here again your local installer may be able to advise you, because he is likely to be one of the first people homeowners turn to if they want to sell a used generator when they upgrade. You’ll need to ask some of the following questions before becoming involved in a private generator sale:

  • What are the age, hours and usage of the unit?
  • Who is the manufacturer and what is their reputation?
  • How well has the unit been maintained?
  • Are there signs of physical wear and tear on the unit?
  • How does it perform in a Load Test?
  • Who you are buying it from (broker vs distributor)?

When you have the answers to these issues, ask your installer to examine it the generator before committing yourself, to protect you against unforeseen circumstances. As long as it has been looked after and maintained regularly, it could be in excellent condition.

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