Being prepared for any and all eventuality is the name of the game these days. Although we live in a world of unexpected emergencies, there are some things we can be prepared for like storm season and the potential resulting power outages. In Florida, tropical storms and hurricanes are a part of life, so you’re going to want to have everything you need before you’re stuck for days without power.
In addition, the cost of power is steadily increasing, and our power grid is aging, resulting in more frequent blackouts and power surges. With all this taking place, it would be proactive to think about investing in a backup generator to help keep your lights on during a power outage. Keep reading to learn how to choose the right generator for your home.
Assess Your Needs
To decide if purchasing a portable generator is the right move for you, you should consider a few factors.
Watts is the unit used to measure electrical loads. Since each appliance requires a specific wattage, you must calculate how many watts it would take to power the appliances you consider necessary. Which appliances these are is totally up to you. Most homeowners prioritize refrigerators, AC systems, data storage systems like computers, and medical devices that would be necessary to preserve life. Below is a quick summary of some common wattage requirements for common appliances and devices:
Refrigerator / Freezer: 700 watts (running) / 1,200 - 2,200 watts (starting)
Microwave: 600 - 1,200 watts
Sump pump 1/3 hp: 800 (running) / 1300 (starting)
Smart phone charger: 20 watts
Washing machine 1/3 hp: 1,200 watts (running) / 2250 watts (starting)
Home security system: 100 watts
Television: 50 inch LCD - 150 watts / 50 inch plasma - 300 watts / 50 inch LED - 100 watts
Laptop computer: 250 watts
While you make up your list of the appliances that you want to keep backed up, try to make note of each one’s wattage which you can find in the owner’s manuals, or by hiring a licensed electrician to perform load measurements on all your chosen appliances.
Features to Consider
If you’re looking to narrow down your list of generators, perhaps focus on their features and pick which works for you and your situation. Your choices will likely come down to the following:
Amount and type of outlets
Fuel conversion systems that allow the use of gasoline or propane
Wheels and handles
Circuit breakers for outlets
Fuel level gauges
Pull cord starter vs Electric starter
Installing your Portable Generator
As soon as you have chosen the perfect generator, you should start planning how you would get it up and running in the event of lost power.
First thing is first, you will want to follow your owner’s manual instructions. Your manual should shed light on how to set up your generator, how and where your generator should be grounded, how to keep it safe from rain, heat, snow, etc, and how to store your fuel.
Make sure you keep in mind that just like any other electrical appliances, portable generators require consistent maintenance. If you don’t have the time in your schedule to make sure your generator is in ship shape, or if you simply want to make sure the job is done well, hiring a licensed professional electrician to perform periodic maintenance is also an option. Using a professional electrician is also a great way to make sure your transfer switches are properly installed. If you have any doubts or apprehension, don’t hesitate to call Tru-Line Electric for all your electrical needs.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!
It pays to be prepared. If you decide to wait until a huge storm is nearby, or worse yet, until you have already lost power, chances are that when you get to the hardware store, you will find most aisles empty. At this point of desperation, you might be willing to drop any amount of money necessary to purchase your generator, but you may not have access to the generator model you wanted or needed.
The worst time to make such an expensive decision is when you’re in a high-pressure situation. Take the time now to educate yourself on your needs and do your research on different products so you can pick the perfect one for you. If you need any help identifying your needs, book an appointment with us today! Remember, You’re Fine With Tru-Line.