What You Need to Know Before Buying a Home Backup Generator | Marion, SC
Photo By goodluz at Shutterstock
If you’re a Marion, SC, resident who has been the victim of a natural disaster, and you can’t be without power for too long, then buying a backup generator would be the perfect purchase for your home or business. Before you commit to buying one, however, there are a number of ways you can prepare for buying your generator. This guide will teach you how to select a generator, and when to repair it.
Selecting Your Generator, Know Before You Go.
Marion, SC homes come in all shapes and sizes, so the perfect generator depends on what you need it for, and what fits your home the best. The main types of backup generators being portable, standby, and inverter generators.
The portable backup generator takes fuel (typically gas but natural gas and propane models exist) and uses a combustion engine to generate electricity, providing your home with power. The first thing to realize about a portable generator is operating it takes time, they’re not automatic and different models have different ease of use, but if you’re gone, and the power goes out in your home, somebody has to turn it on, or the appliances that need to run continuously will turn off (such as a refrigerator or an aquarium). Most portable generators also output about 5000 watts while operating, so larger houses may need generators that can generate more power, the larger ones get to be pretty expensive, but can output 8-10 kilowatts. On the other hand, portable generators are small, and cheaper than either inverter, or standby generators, so using them in homes where there’s not a lot of space, or it’s not as likely there’s going to be an extended emergency, then a portable generator may be ideal.
The standby backup generator is a permanent fixture added to your home, for better or for worse, they have to be removed, and reinstalled if they need to be in a different part of the house. Standby generators are also fairly expensive, running up to $2,000 for emergency power models. With this in mind, as far as backup generators go, standby generators are by far the quietest, most convenient to use, as they are installed to automatically connect with your home’s gas line, and an automatic transfer switch to quickly power your house in the case of an outage. They also use an internal combustion engine that releases less carbon monoxide, making it safer to use near children and pets.
The inverter generator is a portable backup generator that uses an inverter, converting DC power to AC. What this does is it allows devices that can’t operate under strong/varying currents, such as electronics like laptops, to operate normally. It’s also more fuel efficient than a portable generator because it only provides as much power as the devices use, so if you only need to power a refrigerator or a television, the generator won’t use as much fuel, allowing for longer use. The main downside is the electronics used in an inverter generator are fairly expensive, so between standby and portable generators, they occupy a sort of middle ground.
When to Repair Your Backup Generator
If you’re a responsible Marion, SC homeowner, the first thing you should do is make sure you’re ready for a major accident. A backup generator can fail for a number of reasons, but preparing for them, and making sure they’re inspected and maintained by working professionals will protect your safety in the future.
Modern generators come with electronics that detect when they’re operating under optimal efficiency, weekly. If you don’t check these however, there’s no way for your repairman to know to come in time to fix it. Check your generator for potential errors, and if you have a portable/inverter, then turn them on and make sure you don’t hear any strange buzzing or scraping sounds while it’s running.
Quick Visual Examinations
For standby generators this will be difficult, but for portable and backup generators, look over the entire unit, and check for scratches, blemishes, holes, broken wires, or any part that may seem damaged in some way. If the part is damaged, call an electrician and have them determine if your generator is safe enough to operate, if they’re not, then you’ve avoided a potential fire hazard, and should repair your generator before an accident happens.
Even if your generator appears to be working properly, making sure there is no water or other fluids near, or coming from your generator is imperative. Depending on the type of generator you have, the leak could be gas, another type of fuel, coolant, or some combination that can lead your generator to fail at the time you need it most.
Start Up Trouble
If you’re already checking your portable generator to see if there’s any outward blemishes or other problem with its appearance, then you should be checking to see if it’s having any problem starting up. Standby generators on the other hand start up automatically, so flipping the transfer switch every once in a while, and making sure your generator works for at least 15 minutes is a must.
Now this part can be tedious, but going over your generators electronics is important to not only making sure it works, but preventing it from shorting out, causing a more expensive repair to the entire circuit your generator runs on. Marion, SC residents may want to check for corrosion specifically on any of the wires, connectors, or batteries this has to be done frequently if your generator is exposed to a lot of water or outdoor debris.
Owning a backup generator represents more than just keeping the lights on, and making sure the food in the fridge doesn’t go bad. For Marion, SC residents, this represents independence, and the ability to care for yourself and your family in the event you can’t depend on anyone else.