How to Select a Home Standby Generator

Blizzards, Ice Storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, a careless driver striking a power pole — there is absolutely no end to the natural and man-made disasters that can shut the power down your own house. In the past people would light some candles, turn up the gas stove, and tough it out. But now, with most homes being nearly 100% electric, losing power can be more than an inconvenience; it really is life-threatening.

Fortunately standby power generators, once exclusively utilized by factories and large companies, are within the financial reach of any home owner. They’re safe, quiet, and efficient. Actually, the only issue is: Which generator is right for you personally?

What’s the Watt?

Generators are sold by wattage rating. If you were absent from school on that day, you will possibly not know that wattage is kind of the electrical equal to horsepower. Remember Ohm’s law? Don’t worry, I didn’t either. Anyway, Watts = Volts x Amps and Amps = Watts/Volts. While theoretical knowledge is an excellent thing, here’s some more practical information to assist you select the right home standby generator for you personally.

Power Consumption Calculations

Most every electrical appliance has a tag somewhere that will tell you at least two of the numbers that you need to calculate the proper size emergency generator for you. When you have volts and amps, you can use Ohm’s law to calculate the watts.

Of course, should they list the watts, then you’re all set — almost. Electrical motors require around four times just as much wattage to start up than they do to help keep running. It’s got something regarding inertia and friction, but I was absent on that day aswell. So, a good rule of thumb is to multiply the wattage on the label (or the wattage that you calculated) by 4 if you are dealing with any electrical appliance which has a motor.

In terms of calculating the wattage required to run electrical lighting, you could have been absent from school for the entire year and still get this one right. It’s printed there on top of the bulb. That means, in order to power a 60 watt lamp, then you’ll consume… yep, 60 watts of power.

Power Management 101

The first thing to remember is that the utmost wattage for anything motor-driven is only used once the motor first begins. Moments later it drops down to the normal running wattage. So, you have to decide on a generator that outputs enough wattage to take care of the appliance with the best startup rating. Then, simply make sure no two appliances are started at exactly the same moment and you will dramatically decrease your calculation.

The second thing to remember is that the full total of the running wattage column is an issue if you plan to run every appliance, all at exactly the same time, and all day and night. This is why, by simply mapping out a reasonable power management schedule it is possible to cut way back on how big is your power requirements. For many people a 2500 watt generator will do the trick.

Fuel Requirements

Although diesel-powered generators exist, they are typically used in commercial and industrial environments. For all of us homeowners you will find a choice between gasoline and liquid propane gas (LPG). Generally of thumb, the LPG models run quieter compared to the gasoline models. Fuel consumption varies depending upon the horsepower rating of the generator’s engine. An 8 HP model will run about 10 hours +-, at full load, while an equivalent LPG model runs 1 hour for each 5 lbs of fuel that it burns.

Start Your Engines

There are 3 basic methods to turn up a generator. Some models come with a recoil starter, as being a lawn mower’s starter, other include an electric (battery) push-button starter, and other posseses an auto start switch, also called a transfer switch, that must be wired directly to your home’s existing electrical system.