Generators have become an important necessity for all homes and offices today. They are either used for recreational activities or to power a job site. They’re also used during emergencies or sudden needs of extra power. Generators are specifically important for people who live in countries that face unbearable heat or cold where electricity is not easily accessible. If you’re planning on buying one, you might face this baffling question of choosing a model that’s best for your needs. So, how to go about this process?
Since there are three to four different types of generators with varied power outputs, machine parts, and fuel type, it can be daunting to choose one that suits your needs. To make things easier for you, we’ve created a guide that will help you out.
Types of Generators
Here, we’ll discuss the four types of generators to choose one that’s best for you and respective power outputs.
1- Portable Generators
As the name suggests, portable generators are mobile and can be used for activities that require a lot of movement such as camping. The normal power range of a portable generator ranges between 1,000-10,000 watts and you can buy them as low as $400 up to $3000, depending on the model. These are usually gasoline-powered and used specifically for emergencies such as power-outs or during traveling. However, make sure to check the specifications such as the size and wattage to choose a model that suits your needs.
2- Home Standby Generators
Costing a bit more than portable generators, home standby generators are ideal for supplying power to homes. This kind of generator needs professional help for the installation process and requires following the municipal norms. With a heavier output supply than most of the other types, home standby generators run on propane or natural gas, making it a safer option. They also help in indicating the time of maintenance through a self-diagnosis. The price for this type of generator begins from $3,000 and can go up to $6,000, making it an expensive deal. The power output ranges from 5,000 to 20,000 watts.
3- Portable Power Stations
Also known as solar generators, portable power stations run on a battery that can be charged by an electrical outlet or by solar energy. These are relatively quieter and can be used indoors as they don’t emit carbon monoxide. However, the downside is that these power stations don’t produce as much power output as the other types. These are cheaper and can cost anything from $750 to $3,000, making it a great deal if the power output is your last concern.
4- Inverter Generators
Inverter generators are majorly preferred because they produce less noise due to better exhaust systems. They are also affordable unless you compare it with a portable generator with similar specifications. These are designed to diagnose the power demand and supply it accordingly, rather than to operate at full power. Inverter generators are safer, and their price ranges from $500 to $4,000. They are preferred on RVs or during camping. The power output usually ranges from 800 to 3000 watts.
Consider Your Needs
People have different needs when it comes to buying a generator. Hence, it’s important to go through all features and at least the basic necessities that a suitable generator can fulfill. The first thing in your checklist should be the power output. Check the number of appliances you need to run and the output required accordingly. It’s also important to determine the RPM or revolutions per minute of any generator. Brett Patterson from Ablesales explains that generators that run at a higher RPM will not last as long. Along with this, you need to determine whether you’d need a portable or a standby generator, depending on the location and situation of your needs. Don’t forget to check the warranty period, installation fees, maintenance expenses, and your budget.
How to Run a Generator Safely?
Generators are a complex composition of engineering that requires specific attention and a few measures be run safely. Follow these tips to ensure safety during their functioning and to avoid any hazards.
- The first and foremost safety factor is to read the manual that comes with it. Follow all the instructions for proper assembly and usage, and pay maximum attention to the safety protocols mentioned within.
- Any kind of generator you use should always be placed in an external surrounding. Do not run it indoors or in an enclosed space that’s semi-open. Keep it away from openings and vents. Make sure that it gets proper ventilation to avoid fires and smoke.
- Speaking of fuel, you should never add it to the generator while it’s hot or running. Make sure that it has cooled down properly or is turned off when you add fuel. Also, don’t load it up or overfill. Leave some room, because the fuel might expand.
- When you’re done using the generator, make sure that it doesn’t have any fuel left. Leaving it and storing it with fuel can lead to sparks and ultimately fire.
- Another important factor to consider is the grounding of the generator. It’s necessary to ensure grounding because it could prevent dangerous situations such as electrocution. There are a set of rules and federal regulations related to grounding that you must check before using and assembling a generator.
- Now, a lot of people make this mistake of connecting their generator directly to their home’s outlet. This can result in a phenomenon known as ‘back feed’ that is hazardous to you and your neighbors.
- Make sure to keep it away from dirt, moisture, and excessive pollutants.
- Read the manual to know the maximum number of equipment that can be operated on the specific model. It’s unwise to put more load on the generator than advised. Check the output rating yourself or seek help from a professional in case of ambiguity.
- Lastly, don’t forget to get your generator checked at regular intervals by relevant services to prevent hazards and to keep it running smoothly.
Even though it might seem daunting to buy a generator for your home or office, knowing more about this equipment and following this guide can make things easier for you. Just make sure that you’re following the safety protocols and the regulations attached to the different generator types. Stay safe and enjoy the convenience this tool will bring to your life and workplace.