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November 18, 2013

Superstorms and Generators

The weather patterns over the past few years have caused homeowner’s to look into the convenience of owning a generator. Choosing a generator, however, can be a confusing task. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a generator for your home.

Does a Portable Generator or a Standby Generator Better Suit Your Needs?

What generator you buy depends on what you expect to use it for and your budget. Standby generators are installed permanently, switch on automatically, run on natural gas, and deliver enough power to run the usual essentials. Standby generators were a big hit after Superstorm Sandy because of the gasoline shortages. Only 9% of standby generator owners had difficulty due to closed gas stations and long waits while 70% of portable generator owners had difficulty. Portable generators are not installed permanently, run on gasoline or propane, power limited appliances and are cheaper than standbys. The general consensus is that standby generators are bigger and better than portable generators but this isn’t always the case.

Do Your Research

Researching generators is a crucial part of getting the right generator for your house. This research can be done on your own or by calling your electrical company and having them walk you through the different options.

Things to Remember When Doing Research

Does the generator have a transfer switch?
Transfer switches are easy to install and help you to avoid the hassle and dangers of extension cords.

Plan Ahead for Fuel.

A generator won’t do you any good if you don’t have any fuel to run it on. Portable generators use approximately 12-20 gallons of gasoline or 4-8 twenty-pound propane tanks per day. Approximately 250 gallons of natural gas will last 8-15 days for a standby generator.

Is There a Fuel Shutoff Feature?

Most generators shut themselves off when engine oil is low. A fuel shutoff on gasoline models makes it easier to run the engine dry before storage.

Does the Generator Company Offer Any Smart Features?

Generac and Kohler both offer mobile control. Mobile control is an add on that monitors your generator and alerts you by text message or email if your generator needs to be serviced, and a smart phone app lets you check on the generator and schedule service from afar.

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