Electricity powers almost every appliance at home, work, and even when we play. Typically, U.S townships and cities, contend with power outages at least twice a year. These blackouts average about 3 hours. Adverse weather conditions also cause rolling blackouts whenever they hit. For those who don’t reside in the United States the periods and conditions that cause cuts in electricity are more and varied.
A generator is one sure way of keeping you in control of your power supply whether you experience frequent blackouts, need to set up a camp, working on a site or in any situation, you may need supplementary power. However, figuring out which type of generator you need for your particular situation can be a heavy burden. Here is a guide on how to go about finding the right fit for you.
1. Types of Generator
What generator size fits your needs? Should it be portable or stationary? Is it for your home or business? These are the first questions asked when acquiring a generator and they come in handy as you come up with a power backup plan. Below are the three leading types on the market.
- Portable Generators; they are easy to carry or wheel around. They are typically used in construction sites, camping and in situations where power is needed at short notice. You can deploy them in short notice; people prefer using them on the go, in emergency and as a stopgap in brief power shortages. They are quite affordable.
- Home Standby Generators; they are installed permanently and have transfer switches that can automatically turn the machine on in case of a blackout. Most of them run on natural gas like propane, but diesel and multi-fuel types exist in the market. They offer a more permanent solution to rolling blackouts and areas with weak electric grids.
- Inverter Generators; the function of an alternator is to change direct current (DC), from a solar panel or battery into alternating current (AC) the type of power needed to run your appliances. They are quieter than conventional generators, emit less waste and can be permanently installed or used as portable generators.
2. Costs of Running the Generator
In addition to the cost of purchasing a generator, there are also installation, running and maintenance costs. The price you pay while buying it is usually the biggest concern, and it influences the amount of power you will get. So looking around and getting the facts is imperative since there are many types of generators in the market. Choosing one can be daunting. However, you can get in-depth reviews and more information from Bestgenerator.org.
Installation depends on the situation. A portable generator does not need installation. It is just power, plug, and go. It is the same for all mobile and outdoor generators. However, with Home backup generators, a professional electrician should be consulted not just during the installation but also from the even when window-shopping for a generator. You may also need to construct a shed or a type of lockable enclosure for the safety of the generator and others.
Maintenance costs also vary between portable and home backup generators. While prices for portable and outdoor generators are minimum and negligible in some cases, maintaining home backup generators can be slightly higher to complex. The difficulty depends on how well you store and use your generator.
Running costs depend on the type of fuel and energy efficiency. This factor will determine whether you can afford to run a generator before needing to refuel it. It is therefore vital to mill over the various models available to find the right one for you.
3. Frequency of Blackouts
How long and often you are forced to go without power is a significant factor that can inform you on the choice of generator you acquire.
- Very frequently: If you live in an area that is prone to severe weather conditions or persistent outages, you need a considerable machine to power your life. A Home standby, large inverter or a decent size portable inverter will serve you well.
- Occasionally: If the local grid sustains all your needs, but you still suffer through blackouts sporadically. There is no need to spend thousands of bucks on your own private grid: a large inverter or a portable generator will do.
- Very rarely: If you struggle to remember the last outage but still want your peace of mind anything midsized will work. Price point, fuel cost, and noise levels are the only biases to inform your preference of one model over the other.
4. Determining the Wattage You Require
Generators are built to support local grids when they fall short. They are expensive to acquire and operate. Therefore, before venturing into purchasing one, it is beneficial to know precisely how much power you need. Consider what appliances or which features of your home need power during outages.
Every electronic you own has the wattage required inscribed somewhere (usually the back). With a notebook and a calculator, do a walk around the house and take stock of what you would like powered during a blackout. Take note that some appliances like fridges and air conditioners use power cycles. As a result, they might throw your calculations off. Consult an electrical on the final tally.
Once you have this total multiply it by 1.5, this sum will be the minimum wattage you will need for a generator.
5. Run Time
A fuel-powered generator’s runtime is expressed as half load (50% full) or quarter load (25% full) with a full tank. In solar powered generators, energy is measured as WH or watts per hour. The longer the run time at half-load, the less often you’ll refuel and the longer it will run. One with a run time of up to 10 hours at full-load will supply power for a whole night.
In the case of solar powered generators, sun hours required for a full charge should be considered when choosing a generator of this variant.