HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT GENERATOR FOR YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS
Choosing the right generator for your home or business can be a crucial decision. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a generator:
1. Power requirements: The first consideration when choosing a generator is the amount of power needed. You can determine this by making a list of all the appliances and equipment you want to power during an outage, including lights, refrigerator, air conditioner, heater, computer, and other essential items. Add up the wattage of each item and choose a generator that can provide enough power to meet your needs.
2. Fuel type: Generators can run on various fuel types, such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, or diesel. Each fuel type has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of availability, cost, and storage. Consider which fuel type is most suitable for your situation and location.
3. Size and type: Generators come in different sizes and types, from portable models to whole-house standby systems. The size and type of generator you need will depend on your power requirements and budget. Portable generators are more affordable but may not provide enough power for larger homes or businesses, while standby generators offer more power but are more expensive.
4. Noise level: Consider the noise level of the generator, especially if you live in a neighborhood or work in a commercial area. Some generators are designed to operate quietly, with noise levels ranging from 50 to 75 decibels. Look for generators with soundproofing features, such as enclosures, to reduce noise levels.
5. Run time: The run time of the generator refers to the amount of time it can run continuously on a single tank of fuel. Consider the run time of the generator, especially if you live in an area prone to extended power outages. Choose a generator with a long run time or one that allows for easy refueling.
6. Price: Generators come in various price ranges, from a few hundred dollars for portable models to thousands of dollars for standby systems. Consider your budget and the value of the generator's features when making a purchase.
7. Professional installation: Generators require professional installation to ensure safe and efficient operation. Consider the cost of installation and find a qualified and licensed electrician or generator installer to install the generator.
8. Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS): An ATS is a device that automatically switches your home or business's power source from the grid to the generator in the event of a power outage. If you're purchasing a standby generator, consider getting one with an ATS for automatic switching.
9. Runtime: The runtime of a generator refers to how long it can run on a single tank of fuel. Consider the runtime of the generator you're considering and whether it's sufficient for your needs. You can calculate how much fuel you'll need by dividing the generator's fuel tank capacity by its hourly fuel consumption rate.
10. Starting mechanism: Generators can be started manually or automatically. Manual start generators require you to pull a cord or turn a switch to start the generator, while automatic start generators can start on their own when the power goes out. If you're purchasing a portable generator, consider whether you want a manual or automatic start.
11. Inverter technology: Inverter generators produce a clean and stable power output that is safe for sensitive electronics such as computers and televisions. They're also more fuel-efficient than conventional generators. Consider getting an inverter generator if you have sensitive electronics that require a stable power supply.
12. Certification: Look for generators that are certified by organizations such as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). These certifications ensure that the generator meets safety and performance standards.
13. Load management: Load management refers to the ability of a generator to manage the power load during an outage. Some generators can automatically manage the power load by turning off non-essential appliances and equipment to conserve fuel and prolong the generator's runtime.
14. Size and weight: Portable generators come in different sizes and weights, so consider how much space you have for storage and transportation. Larger generators typically have higher wattage outputs, but they may also be heavier and more difficult to move.
15. Environmental impact: Generators produce exhaust fumes that can be harmful to the environment and your health. Consider getting a generator with a low emissions rating, such as one that is compliant with EPA regulations.
16. Cold weather performance: If you live in an area with cold winters, consider getting a generator that is designed for cold weather performance. Cold weather generators have features such as electric start and cold weather kits that help them start and run in cold temperatures.
17. Warranty: Generators can be expensive, so consider getting one with a warranty to protect your investment. Look for a generator with a warranty of at least 2-3 years, and make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the warranty.
18. Installation: Standby generators require professional installation, so consider the installation costs when budgeting for a generator. You may also need to obtain permits and comply with local codes and regulations for generator installation.
19. Fuel storage: If you're getting a standby generator that runs on propane or natural gas, you'll need to have a reliable source of fuel. Consider the costs and logistics of storing and delivering fuel to your generator.
By considering these additional points, you can choose a generator that meets your specific needs and provides reliable backup power during an outage.