Tips on how to choose the portable generator you need
As we witness in the past few weeks, the American power grid seems to be less reliable every year. The chances that you will experience a power outage is increasing every day. What this could mean to you this summer is sweating without an air conditioner or watching a game and all the sudden the power goes out. In any case, we will lose power at some point. The question is really, when and for how long. The one thing for sure is that you can mitigate some of the stress by having a handy portable generator.
There are various types of generators. The main types are: Portables and Standby. The main characteristics of these are:
When the power goes out, you have to start up a gas-powered portable generator and plug it into your appliances or a sub-panel. Portable generators cost $500 to $1,500 depending on power output.
These generators are powered by natural gas or propane and start automatically during power outages. Standby generator prices start at $5,000 for a 7,000-watt unit, including installation. We will discuss more about this ones at a later blog.
Tips on buying a Portable Generator
- Estimate your power needs before you shop for a portable generator
- Decide on what you really need to power during an outage
- Look at the labels of each appliance you must have and add all the items wattages the multiply it by 1.5. The result becomes the wattage needed for your generator
Estimated Wattage Requirements:
- Microwave: 600 to 1,200 watts
- Refrigerator: 700 to 1,200 watts
- Freezer: 500 to 1,200 watts
- Washing machine: 1,200 watts
- 1/3-hp sump pump: 800 watts
- Television: 300 watts
- Laptop computer: 250 watts
- 10,000-Btu air conditioner: 1,500 watts
Portable backup generators range in price from $500 for a 3,250-watt unit to $1,500 for a 10,000-watt unit. Options include wheels (get them—generators are very heavy to lift) and electric (key) starts rather than pull-starts. Consider how long the generator can run on a tank of gas. Some run just a few hours, so you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night to add fuel. Others have 16-gallon fuel tanks that can run up to 10 hours.
At the end of the day, it’s impossible to put a price on peace of mind, but the benefits of owning a portable generator mean you don't need to. Whether it's a medical emergency, a neighborhood power outage, or a weeklong camping trip, a portable power generator is a cost-effective way to ensure security and comfort.
ALWAYS REMEMBER SAFETY FIRST
- Extension cords must be at least 14 gauge to carry adequate power.
- Plug in a carbon monoxide detector when using a portable generator. It’ll alert you if generator exhaust reaches a dangerous level inside the house.