Posts Tagged how to choose a home 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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Posted in: All Posts, Buying a Generator, Power Outage

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Get the Right Standby Generator Installation for Your Needs

Power outage, home standby generator, whole-home generator

A 48 kW whole-home generator will power an 8,000 sq. ft home.

If you’ve had occasion to use your home standby generator during any recent power outages, you might have discovered that it doesn’t do everything you want it to do. That’s probably because the unit you have is designed only to power your essential circuits, but hindsight being the perfect sight that it is, you likely now know much more about it than you did when you had the generator installed. So if you’re considering changing up your standby generator installation after hurricane season is done, here’s how to determine which power category is right for your requirements:

Basic Power Category

This category of emergency power comes from generators of between 8 kW and 11 kW in size. These generators typically power 10 to 12 circuits, which means you can run some lights, your refrigerator, television and a small appliance or two like a microwave. This is great for a small cottage or semi housing one or two people.

Additional Power

The next level of standby generator installation comes in sizes of 14kW and 17kW. These units make it possible for you to run one or two small AC units as well, but your number of circuits is still limited to 14 or 16. The great thing about these generators is that they can operate even in areas with low natural gas pressure. So if you thought you couldn’t install a generator for this reason, think again.

Whole-Home Power

Whole-home power starts with a 20 kW generator, which comes with all the bells and whistles, including:

  • Quiet-test exercise mode
  • An aluminum enclosure protected with RhinoCoat
  • A powerful Generac OHVI engine
  • An hour meter
  • A base fascia, and
  • A composite mounting pad

This size powers all your essential circuits, as well as some luxury items such as AC, your hot water heater and a well pump if you have one. It’s simple to convert from natural gas to LP if necessary, and the enclosure is corrosion-resistant and tough enough to withstand winds of up to 150 mph. So, why would you want to go any bigger? Well, it depends on the size of your home, that’s why.

Living Large

For homeowners with large holdings, you have the option of putting in a bigger whole-home generator or two or more smaller units. Jo from West Virginia upgraded from a 20 kW to the Generac QuietSource 48 kW in April 2013, and found it operates the entire home plus outbuildings and an enclosed swimming pool without difficulty. The unit gives the homeowner the peace of mind to go about routine activities without interruption, even during a power outage. This huge unit can operate an 8,000 sq foot home for up to 66 hours and starts up within 10 seconds of the power failure.

Don’t find yourself caught without sufficient power to supply your family’s requirements for safety, comfort, lighting and entertainment. Consult a professional generator installer to assess whether the unit you have or are considering will really serve your needs before you go ahead with the standby generator installation.



Posted in: Power Outage, Standby Generator Installation

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How to Choose a Home Generator That’s Perfect for Your Needs

how to choose a home generator

You’ll need to choose the right home generator to continue life as normal during a power outage

Choosing a home standby generator to provide emergency power during an outage is an exact science. Generators come in a range of sizes and capabilities, and if you want to know how to choose a home generator for your particular needs, the first thing you have to do is determine what your requirements are going to be.

Questions to Ask

Ask yourself these questions to help identify the appliances you need to operate to carry on life as normal:

  • Do I have a security system or alarm that requires electricity, and how safe is my family without it?
  • What temperatures does my region typically get during potential outage seasons? (Tip: If these happen during summer, will you need to run A/C or is your home designed to make the most of natural airflow?)
  • How much perishable food do I usually have in stock, and will it outlast a one- or two-day (or week) power outage?
  • Does anyone in my household require refrigerated medication or the use of life-saving electrically-powered medical equipment?
  • Is my home prone to flooding during heavy rains if the sump pump is out of action due to the power outage?

Your answers to these questions (and others you may think of) will highlight the number of circuits you need to be able to operate in the event of a power failure that lasts longer than a couple hours.

Calculate Your Usage

Based on your responses to these questions, you can calculate the amount of power you’re going to need during a power outage. That will enable you decide how to choose a home generator that will supply enough power. Use the Consumer Reports free wattage calculator to determine how much emergency power you need to keep your home going for the duration of the outage. Remember to take account of the size of appliances such as AC – you may need more power to operate a 15,000 BTU AC than you do for a 5,000 BTU unit.

Select a Location

While you’re figuring out how to choose a home generator, don’t forget to think about where you’re going to put it. Location is an important aspect of your choice, because whole-home generators aren’t small items. You can’t install it in your basement out of the way, either; you need to have it located outdoors and comply with safety requirements to have it a certain distance away from the house. Generator emissions consist of carbon monoxide, which is responsible for the death of close to 100 Americans each year and thousands of emergency room visits. So your generator has to be far enough from the home to avoid affecting the air your family breathes. You may also want to enclose it in a cabinet or housing to soundproof it and protect it from the elements, so make sure you have enough space to accommodate the unit.

Choose Your Fuel

Most whole-home generators are powered by natural gas, although liquid propane is also an option. To run a large home’s emergency power on propane will require you to refuel the generator every few hours, which could be problematic during an outage lasting days or weeks. Get your home generator professional to help you determine how to choose a home generator and advise you on the best type to install for your purposes.


Posted in: Emergency Power, Home Generators, Uncategorized

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