A home power generator will supply electricity to your home during power outages. It will allow you to use the most essential appliances, like air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators and lights, during an emergency. Here’s what you need to know, when you’re choosing a home power generator.
A home power generator can be portable or stationary. It runs on a variety of fuels like gasoline, diesel, natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. Portable gas models are relatively cheap, but they have a short run time. If you use them continuously at rated load, you will need to refill the tank several times a day. This option is not good for a long-term power backup, because the pump may not work during a wide-spread blackout. For a long-term emergency, you need a standby home power generator. It is hooked up to an external fuel source, such as NG line, and can provide continuous power for your home. There are some portable devices, which can also be fueled from an external source and can provide extended run time as well. The difference between these two options is in their connection and activation. If you get a portable home power generator, in case of an emergency, you will need to roll it out from the storage, fill it with fuel or hook it up to a fuel line, start it manually and connect it to your loads. A standby home power generator is already hooked up to your house wiring and the fuel source. In case of a power outage, it can start immediately with a push of a button or automatically. Automatic systems have an auto transfer switch. It can sense a power outage, isolate your electrical wiring or designated emergency circuits from the grid, and start the device. When the grid voltage is restored, the system will connect you back to the utility lines and turn itself off. Keep in mind that the usual transfer time of an automatic system is 10 to 30 seconds, so if you run important computer applications, you will probably still need an UPS. This will prevent data loss during the transfer time. If you have a permanently installed, natural gas powered home power generator, you will still need to periodically shut it down to change the motor oil.
If you choose a stationary home power generator, the choice of fuel will be determined by the source you already use for heating your house or by the fuels available in your area. Most residential generators can run both on natural gas and propane. A simple field adjustment is needed to convert from one type to the other.
Another thing you should know is that a typical gas meter is rated to 250 CFH. If you add a large home power generator, this may not be enough. In this case the engine will not provide full power, if it’s not supplied with the fuel amount, indicated by the manufacturer. Ask your utility company to upgrade your existing meter to a higher-volume one. Some older models of home power generator may also require the gas pressure to be greater than the standard delivery pressure, available to your house. Before you buy the home power generator, check the model’s requirements.
A stationary, natural gas home power generator system is an ideal power backup for the whole house. However, in case of a major natural or other disaster, the gas supply may be interrupted as well. If you have a bi-fuel system, you can switch to propane tank. If there is no natural gas service in your neighborhood, you can get a large propane tank that is periodically refilled by a local distributor. Propane has practically unlimited shelf life and it is normally obtainable during power outages. Also, it can be used in both portable and stationary devices.
An automatic stationary home power generator is the best whole house generator for power outages, especially for the long-lasting ones. It will also increase the value of your property. Of course, they are more expensive and require professional installation.