Sales of home generators are on the rise, in part because of the severity of recent storms and worries over prolonged energy blackouts. These are valid concerns—but generators are a great way to safeguard yourself against risks. Choosing your home generator will depend largely on the amount of electricity you need to generate.
What Kind of Generator Should You Buy?
Portable VS. Standalone
You can buy a smaller, portable generator that runs on gas, diesel, or propane. The advantage of portable generators is they can be moved to the cabin, another home, or loaned out with ease. The disadvantage is that you trade mobility for capacity.
The stand alone generator can be the solution to generating electricity for the whole house during a power outage. Jack Lehr Heating, Cooling & Electric can install and service your stand alone generator. A stand alone is a permanent installation. Much like central air, stand alones are installed on concrete on the outside of your home or business.
Before you decide on the size, consider the need. Generators are sold according to the electrical capacity, which is measured in kilowatts.
- 5KW: Generators of this size are small generators, around the size of a small trash can. At the lower end of capacity scale, these generators will power only a few appliances, a few lights, your fridge and the furnace fan, for usually up to about 8 hours.
- 8KW: This mid-size generator is perfect for a smaller home with few inhabitants who are looking for the capacity to power two large rooms and necessary appliances.
- 10KW: At this size, the generator functions like an emergency back up power system, providing enough capacity for appliances plus two large rooms and the kitchen.
- 25KW: A large, stand alone generator can keep your home comfortable for quite a few days, including running the air conditioner.
- 30KW: At this capacity, it is really a small power plant that can power up a medium size to large home or your business.
Ease of Use
If you have limited mobility or are nervous about running a generator, then your best option is an emergency stand alone generator because it is wired to your home or business. It turns on when the power goes out even if you are not home, so you don’t have to turn it on.
When your home or business already has natural gas lines, then a stand alone generator can be connected to existing lines, so there are no gas tanks to manage.
Finally, when you have important equipment like life support or sensitive electronics that can not be disrupted, a stand alone is more reliable. However, you will also need to install an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which is a battery that covers the 15-20 second delay between the time when the power goes out and the generator kicks in.