Looking to restore power to necessary appliances during emergencies? A generator could be just the thing you need, but there are many factors to consider before making a purchase. It's important to research the types of generators to see which one may fit your needs. Homeowners and business owners who are interested in buying a generator tend to have a few common questions. Read on to find helpful answers.
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What are the types of generators?
Generators can either be standby or portable and both types come with different fuel options and many other differences that you should consider before buying.
If you own a portable generator, when the power goes out you must start the generator and then plug in your subpanel or appliances. Portable generators are usually gas powered, and need to be kept outdoors to prevent a buildup of fumes from the fuel. They can handle powering a few lights and small appliances, and are a good option for those who want to power a refrigerator to keep food from spoiling during an outage.
Standby generators, on the other hand, usually run on natural gas or propane, and can be hooked up with a natural gas line. These generators can sense when a power outage has occurred, and start automatically. They can power air conditioning, large appliances and lights throughout your home or business, and are a wise choice for those who experience frequent outages or need constant power.
How can I know which generator is right for my needs?
Think of which appliances you'd like to keep running during your power outage, and then look on the labels to see what their wattage is. Once you have that information, add up all the wattages of your appliances, and then look for a generator that can handle the wattage you need. If you have higher wattage needs or your area tends to have many outages, you'll definitely want to research standby generators.
If you are thinking of buying a portable generator, consider the fuel type and its cost. You'll need to keep a lot of fuel on hand to be able to run the generator nonstop for more than a few hours.
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What are the costs associated with owning a generator?
Upfront, portable generators usually range from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. Standby generators usually cost a few thousand. Standby generators must be installed by a professional, but these costs are often included with the price of the generator.
In addition, a portable generator needs a constant supply of fuel to run on, so that is an ongoing cost to consider.
What type of fuel is best?
All fuel types tend to have advantages and disadvantages. Gasoline is easy to come by, but it's very flammable, so can be dangerous to keep large amounts on hand, and it also doesn't last very long if it's just sitting around unused. Propane, on the other hand, has a longer shelf life, but the tanks it is stored in tend to be large and take up space.
Diesel is the least flammable fuel source, but, while it has a longer shelf life than gasoline, it will most likely start to become unusable after about two years.
How long does a generator last?
A properly cared for generator can last decades, which means in the long run, having a generator will save you money in addition to restoring lost power. Standby generators tend to need a lot of regular maintenance, especially when it is used for long periods of time. With regular inspection, you'll be able to replace worn out parts, clean out filters, and keep your generator in top condition.
If you have any questions or concerns about your generator—or any electrical equipment such as motors or pumps—give us a call or contact us online. We've got a team of experts ready to help tackle your problems.