The Main Considerations When Choosing A Standby Generator For Your Home

A standby generator is one of the best investments you can make for the safety and comfort of your home during an emergency. When selecting a generator, choosing the right one will ensure there is plenty of wattage available for the needs of your home.

Power Needs

Start by making a list of essential functions. Essential functions might include lights, the refrigerator, and either air conditioning or heating. It is critical to incorporate any health needs into your power usage. If someone in your home relies on oxygen, requires an insulin pump, or has medications that must be refrigerated, these will be essential considerations. Some needs may not be essential but could be important for other reasons. For example, you may need to have working computers, a Wi-Fi router, or a TV. You should plan to have enough wattage to use these items, but sparingly.

Once you have compiled a list of items you want to use during an outage, you need to find information on the amount of energy they use. You need to determine both the starting and running loads. Generally, items have a higher starting load than running load, which means it takes more energy to start them than they use as they run. You should use the highest load for each item and add them up to determine the amount of energy you need. To have a buffer, buy a generator able to accommodate a little more energy than you think you'll need. Another option is to have multiple, smaller generators instead of a single, larger one. One can be dedicated to essential functions, whereas the other could support items that only need to be used occasionally. This might be more cost-effective and decrease the burden on any one unit.

Fuel Type

The fuel source you choose for your generator will be almost as important as the load it can handle. Natural gas and diesel are among the more common fuel sources, but you can choose generators that use propane or bi-fuel. When selecting a fuel source, you need to think about what fuel is readily available and what might be available in the event of an emergency. Natural gas is preferred. Unless the gas line itself is damaged, you should have no problem obtaining fuel. Fuels like diesel, gasoline, propane, and kerosene are often scarce in the event of an emergency. For example, when a tropical system or blizzard is expected, people often fill up their cars and stockpile whatever fuel they will need, which limits the supply available. This makes bi-fuel another good option if you don't want only natural gas. Bi-fuel generators can use either natural gas or diesel, so you can choose the fuel source that is most accessible at any time.

Both the power needs of your home and the fuel type of your generator are the main considerations when selecting a standby generator. The right generator will handle essential items and make your home more comfortable in the event of an outage.