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When The Lights Go Out: A Guide To Choosing The Best Home Emergency Generator

When the Lights Go Out: A Guide to Choosing the Best Home Emergency Generator

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the average American household experiences a power outage once or twice a year. This blackout typically lasts for three hours, but some incidents may last for weeks, depending on the cause.

Homeowners face a long list of inconveniences during power interruptions, and the consequences grow graver the longer the blackout lasts. These range from spoiled food, flooded basements, and malfunctioning water pipes, among others.

A residential emergency power generator is your defense against such an event. But choosing which one is best for your home and daily activities can be challenging, especially with the number of different models available in the market.

The most crucial factor to consider in choosing a generator is its size.

Size Matters

Size matters for generators, but it’s more complicated than just going by the “bigger is better” philosophy. The size of the generator determines how much power it can produce and how many equipment it can carry. But it should just be enough to power your household for a certain time since you’ll only use it as a backup.

Getting a too big a generator can cause wet stacking. The engine won’t burn hot enough to burn diesel fuel if your generator runs a light load. The unburned fuel can accumulate in the exhaust and cause leakage, fire, or permanent damage on the engine.

List all the equipment your generator needs to power in case of an outage. Add the total wattage, including the starting and running wattages, so you know the minimum input you need from the generator.

As a general rule, run your generator on at least 35 percent load capacity to prevent wet stacking.

Aside from the size, you also want to consider the generator’s run-time.

Running Time

emergency generatorGenerators aren’t designed to run non-stop for days; this may cause permanent damage on the engine and decrease its efficiency. But you want a generator that can at least last an entire night without refueling. Some models have a running time of 10 to 12 hours at half-load. This will allow you to get a good night’s sleep; you can refuel in the morning.

The load affects the run time of the generator. You can’t use it at maximum capacity for hours on end because this will overload the generator. Size for a 70 to 80 percent capacity if you’re planning to keep it running for more than a day.

You also want to consider the duration of the power outage. Locations with severe weather events can expect prolonged blackouts. If you live in a similar area, a home standby generator may be a better option. A portable model is enough if the power outages in your area only last for a few hours.

With load, size, run time, and power outage conditions, choosing a home generator involves plenty of calculations. It’s better to have an expert electrical contractor perform the assessment for you to ensure accurate information.

Leading Commercial Electrical Contractor

Pro Circuit Inc. has a team of experienced contractors who design, create, service, and repair electrical systems. We offer consultation, installation, and regular maintenance services for various brands of home generators. We make sure that your generator will service you well and keep your family safe and comfortable even during calamities.

Contact us today to schedule a service.

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