Do you experience frequent power outages? Some regions are subjected to frequent blackouts because of their susceptibility to harsh weather events like blizzards and hurricanes. Since these blackouts might last for days, homeowners are required to look for a backup power source in the form of a standby generator.
In the event of electrical failure, standby generators turn on momentarily. These machines are powerful enough to provide electricity for the entire household, depending on the power requirements of homeowners.
Make sure you check out the following tips when shopping for a standby generator.
Choose a fuel source
The search for the right standby generator starts with choosing the most suitable fuel source. The small models of a maximum of 22 kW are available in either natural gas (NG) or liquid propane (LP), of which the latter is considered safer and cleaner. In contrast, whole-house standby generators can be also fueled by diesel if you don’t mind the loud noise they produce. Read here about the multiple sources, uses, environmental effects, and safety concerns related to natural gas.
In addition, in order for LP and diesel generators to run properly, these fuels need to be stored in large tanks. Choosing a tank of the wrong size would obstruct the work of this device, this impeding it from supplying your home with sufficient power. Also, the gas lines are supposed to be of the right size to avoid unnecessary power supply issues. Therefore, the installation contractors are expected to check the size of the gas lines and tanks before installing the device.
Select the right size
After choosing a fuel source, you’re supposed to select the right size of a home standby generator. The size of these devices refers to their wattage, which denotes the amount of backup power they provide. Therefore, you need to decide on the number and type of appliances you wish to power in the event of an outage.
Take a walk around the house and compile a list of all the appliances you consider crucial to run when having no electricity. Afterward, you’re supposed to add up their wattage in order to determine the overall wattage of the generator. The wattage of your household items is written on a label, which is placed either on the front or the back of the appliance. Once you find the label, make sure you write down the wattage of the machine next to each household item on your list.
When making the list, it’s paramount to include the most essential appliances, such as your refrigerator, air conditioner, microwave, well pump, and your cooker. Think of the items you can’t function without during a power outage. Then, your job will be to add up their wattages and multiple the resulting number by 1, 5 in order to calculate the minimum generator wattage. Keep in mind that all appliances need additional power to start up, greater than the wattage on their labels.
For instance, refrigerators come with a wattage requirement of at least 700 to a maximum of 1,200 watts. Similarly, microwaves require power between 600 and 1,200 watts, while washing machines have a wattage requirement of 1,200 watts. In contrast, your television set and laptop computer need less power. The former requires approximately 300 W, whereas the latter needs about 250 W.
Nevertheless, homeowners tend to choose different types of coverage, depending on their power requirements and budget. For example, certain homeowners opt for essential circuit coverage, which includes the most essential circuits in the house. This option covers both heating and cooling systems, fridges, and lights.
Moreover, managed whole-house coverage enables homeowners to use all household appliances during an outage, provided that they don’t use all of them simultaneously. These standby generators are equipped with a power switch that turns off appliances in the event of exceeding the overall wattage of the generator.
Ultimately, some homeowners select complete whole-house coverage, which ensures all household items keep running, regardless of the number of circuits. Despite being the costliest backup power solution, it provides maximal house protection and convenience. Nowadays, there is an extensive choice of generator suppliers online, such as primapowersys, offering a wide assortment of new and used residential, commercial, and industrial power generators. Your job is to choose a model that matches your circuit load measurement.
Select a transfer switch
In order for a home standby generator to turn on, it’s supposed to be equipped with an automatic transfer switch. As a result, it’ll provide backup power the moment the outage occurs, thus ensuring homeowners are supplied with electricity in the shortest time possible.
These machines keep track of utility power at all times, hence being able to disconnect the traditional electricity source and switch on the device at the same time. However, homeowners are required to select the right transfer switch to make the entire process functional.
The right transfer switch is supposed to match the electrical panel amperage of your house. In order to check the amperage, you need to locate the main breaker in the panel.
In most cases, homes use a 200-amp main breaker, which means you’ll have to find a matching 200-amp switch. Check this for more info about calculating the amp size of your house’s electrical service.
A standby generator is a costly but worthwhile investment.
No more blackouts to go through!