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What to Consider in Buying A Residential Generator

Mar 29, 2008
If you're especially concerned with protecting your home from an unexpected power outage, having a residential generator will solve your worries. A residential generator supplies electricity during a blackout. This can be used to supply important electric devices found in your home such as lights, computers, refrigerators, air-conditioners, heaters, and etc. It does this through converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.

In choosing a residential generator, you can either go for a portable or a stationary (stand by) generator, depending on what suits your needs. There are different types of fuel that can be used, and includes natural gas, diesel, gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The cheapest models are portable generators that run on gasoline. Despite its tempting cost, it only has a short running time, and you would need to refill the gas tank over and over again. It is also not reliable as a power backup for a long-term power outage since gas pumps may not work during blackouts.

On the other hand, a generator that is stationary can supply continuous power since they are directly attached or hooked up to an external fuel source, such as an external gas line. A portable generator can also be attached to an external source, thereby extending running hours.

Moreover, portable generators come with a lot of disadvantages. It has to be transported from the storage, connected to the loads, filled with fuel or hooked to a fuel line, and manually operated for it to function. A permanent/standby residential generator, on the other hand, can function with just a push of a button, or even without any manual operation at all, if it has an automatic transfer switch. This is because it is connected to house wiring and fuel source. The typical transfer time of an automatic system is about 10-30 seconds. A standby generator also supplies higher levels of power compared to portables. Although a standby generator might not come cheap, it will be worth every cent in protecting your home from a long-term power outage, as it can supply electricity to the whole house.

When you select your own residential generator, bear in mind that there's more than just wattage and price. Take into account the duration of time you might need emergency power, safety, fuel availability and convenience of use. Also determine whether you want the whole house to powered, or just a few select circuits. If your budget permits you, go and buy a generator that can power the whole house. If not, you can just choose to power important devices like your computer, air-conditioner, heater, refrigerator, lights, and microwave.

Just be forewarned that having a residential generator might be potentially hazardous. It can cause unwanted fires, electrocution, and a high emission of a poisonous gas, carbon monoxide.

As a whole, you should buy a residential generator according to your needs. Ask yourself f you want to use it short term/long term or if you want to power the whole house/select circuits. And don't forget to calculate the total wattage requirements of all devices you need to power at the same time, so that you can buy a generator that provides you the right amount of power.

Keep in mind that there is more to buying a residential generator than its price tag. Your home's safety from a power outage depends on a residential generator, so consider it as a very important and wise investment.
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