Most households will experience some kind of power shortage once or twice a year. Although the average time for these power shortages may only be a few hours, there are some times when you may not have access to power for days. If this happens to you, then you are faced with a cold and dark home. It is likely that you will have to face a range of different issues, including spoilt food and flooding pipes all because you have no power.
To keep your home and family protected at all times, you could seriously benefit from a portable generator. There are lots of different kinds of generators available, so it can be quite hard to find the best one for your home. This article is going to be the definitive guide to portable generators so you can find the best one for your home and make sure you always have access to power.
How To Pick The Right Generator For Your Home
An excellent way to decide what kind of portable generator you could benefit from using in your home, you should think about the type of issues you may face. There are lots of different power-outage scenarios that you may have to deal with, but focusing on the most common ones in your area is an excellent way to narrow down your options of portable generators.
Frequent Power Outages
If you live in a location that experiences frequent power outages or one that has long-lasting blackouts, then there are three kinds of generators you could benefit from:
- Home standby
- Large inverter
These generators can provide enough power to fuel your entire household. These kinds of generators can be used during a range of power outages, including storms, blizzards, and hurricanes. These kinds of generators can be connected directly to some of the most vital things in the home, such as central heating, air conditioning, and water heaters. This is an excellent way to keep yourself protected and safe during frequent power outages, as these are the things that really need to be powered on at all times.
Occasional Power Outages
If you live in an area that experiences occasional power outages, then it is unlikely that you will want to spend thousands of dollars on a large generator. In these circumstances, you could use:
- Large invertor
These kinds of devices will not be permanently installed into your home, but they are a good affordable option for those who do not always need a generator. As long as you don’t mind pulling out a portable generator every time you experience a power outage, then this is a good way to keep yourself protected. These kinds of generators can be stored in the basement or garage for easy access whenever you need them most.
Rare Power Outages
Even if you do not experience power outages that often, you could still benefit from having a portable generator at home. This will be used as a precaution, and you may be surprised at how useful they can be. If this is you, these kind of generators are best:
- Midsized inverter
- Recreational inverter
These kinds of generators provide enough power to keep large appliances like the refrigerator, or a space heater turned on. They are portable and compact enough to be kept in small spaces until you need to use them. Some models could even be stored in the trunk of a car because they are so compact, making them incredibly convenient.
What Wattage Do You Need?
Another good way to determine what size portable generator you need is to add up the total wattage of your appliances. Think about the most important appliances in your home and what you will need during a power outage, then add up the total wattage that they use together.
However, before you start making calculations, you need to remember that some appliances will have a surge in wattage when they are powering up. Appliances like air conditioning units, refrigerators and space heaters, will use more wattage when they are powering on, and this can mess up your calculations. As well as determining the total wattage required, you will also need to think about how much your hardwired appliances require. If you do not know how to find out your total wattage, an electrician should be able to help you.
Safety Features To Consider
The whole purpose of purchasing a portable generator is to keep yourself safe during a power outage, so you want to try and keep things this way. When using any kind of generator, there are some safety precautions you need to take. Some people will recommend a portable generator that has an automatic shut off function that will turn off the device if it begins to reach dangerous levels. This is an excellent way to keep yourself safe when using a portable generator, as it can be quite hard to determine whether it is overheating.
Make sure you read through the instructions manual carefully before using a portable generator and check that it can actually be used for all of the appliances you need. You do not want to overheat the generator or cause any damage to the appliances in your home.
Types Of Portable Generators To Try
As we have already mentioned, there are various different kinds of generators available. Once you have considered what you need in your home and the kind of power you require, you may still not quite know which model to go for. In this section, we are going to be talking you through the different kinds of generators that are available and highlight both the positives and negatives surrounding each.
Recreational Inverter Generator
These kinds of generators can provide up to 2,000 watts of power and they can cost anything from $400 – $1,000 depending on the brand you choose.
This is the lightest kind of generator available and it has a very quiet operation. This makes it suitable to use inside the house at all hours of the day. These generators are very easy to use and install as you can do it yourself. This means you do not have to deal with any installation charges.
However, these kinds of generators cannot be used for all appliances in the house. They may be able to power your refrigerator, a couple of lights and possibly your phone charger but there is not enough power for anything else. These also cannot be connected to a circuit breaker panel.
Midsized Inverter Generator
These kinds of generators can provide up to 3,500 watts of power and they can cost anything from $1,000 – $1,700.
These kinds of generators are incredibly lightweight, with many weighing less than 150 pounds. This makes them portable and quite easy to store around the home. These generators also have a quiet operation while still being efficient. They can be used to power the refrigerator and keep various lights on for up to 18 hours on less than four gallons of gas.
It has to be said that these kinds of generators are not suitable for all appliances. They can usually only power 110-voltage appliances that have a standard two or three-pronged plug. This will rule out any pumps or cooking appliances that you may need to power.
These kinds of generators can provide up to 7,500 watts of power and they can cost anything from $700 – $2,800 depending on the model you choose.
These kinds of generators are often the best value considering they have a great capacity. There are some portable generators that can offer enough power for all of the appliances you need during a power outage. They can also be connected to a breaker panel with a transfer switch so they can be used for hardwired appliances.
However, the cost of connecting these generators to your home’s circuit can sometimes cost more than the generator itself. These kinds of generators can also be quite noisy, and they use a lot of gasoline. Portable generators, despite their name, can also be quite bulky.
Large Inverter Generator
These kinds of generators can provide up to 7,500 watts of power and they can cost anything from $1,400 – $4,000.
This kind of generator can provide enough power to fuel your refrigerator, lights, and other essential appliances like small central heating units. They can also be connected to your home’s breaker panel to provide additional power.
It has to be said that this kind of generator is very expensive and they require stabilized gasoline.