Emergency Generators: Choosing The Right One For Your Needs

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In the early 2000s, it was almost unthinkable to invest in a backup or emergency generator. But with the advent of rolling blackouts, natural disasters, and electricity shortages, many homeowners are now making the jump into owning an generator.

A recent survey found that almost 25 percent of adults in the U.S. experienced a power outage of 12 hours or more between 2012 and 2014. In the Northeast, the number was 35 percent. A half day (or night) without power can be a major inconvenience, especially during times of cold weather. A generator is an excellent solution if you're looking for a backup source of energy that can provide you with heat, light, and power for a long time. Read on for tips to help you find the one that's right for you and your home.

Standby Or Portable

Two major categories of generators are portable and standby. Portable generators are generally gas powered and range in price from $500 to $1,500. Appliances are plugged into the portable generator.

In most cases, standby generators are intended to run continuously, turning on and off automatically as needed. This means they need to have access to a permanent fuel line. Different models require different fuel. Some use liquid petroleum gas while others run on natural gas. Finding out what fuel sources are readily available to you before you choose your generator can save you a lot of time, extra work, and money. These generators start around $5,000.

Fuel Or Sunlight

During a power outage, one of the first things people collect after food and water storage is fuel. In an energy crisis, gasoline and other sources of fuel disappear quickly, so a generator's fuel source is an important factor to consider, as it will determine if you need to have fuel stored and ready to go and what type.

An alternative to fossil fuel-powered generators is a portable solar generator. These generators can be rolled out in sunny weather to produce an unending supply of energy. One drawback is the higher cost--they average about 4x the price of a gas generator.

Large Or Small

The size and power of your generator will depend on the size of your home and the number of appliances you desire to run. For instance, do you just want to run absolutely necessary circuits (heating and cooling, refrigeration, etc.) during a power outage, or do you want complete coverage, from the lights to the gaming systems?

There are many online worksheets you can access to calculate how many watts you will need. Once you determine your power needs, you need to purchase a generator the runs just above that. Selecting a generator that just meets your power needs means it will constantly run at peak capacity, making for a generator that will quickly burn out.

For more information, contact South Shore Generator Service Inc. or a similar company.