When your electricity goes out you want it back. Right now. The surest way to make it happen is with a backup generator. Before you make an investment in a generator, have a conversation with the generator experts in Marion, SC. They can discuss the facts detailed here and make sure your backup generator is right for you.
One note about generators: there are two kinds, portable and standby. The type you purchase depends upon a number of factors, each of which can be fully detailed by the experts.
The Size of the Generator Definitely Matters
Generator size is measured in watts. A watt is an electrical unit of measurement that represents the amount of energy an object powered by electricity uses during start-up (also called surge watts) and while running (running watts). An example is the 40-watt light bulb. It requires 40 running watts of electricity to provide light. However, appliances with a motor will require a higher amount of watts to start than they will need while running.
You have to factor in start-up watts when shopping for a backup generator. A good example is a refrigerator, which uses a motor and a compressor to operate. The average refrigerator uses 500 running watts to operate. That same refrigerator will use 2,000 surge watts to start.
Your generator experts will ask you what appliances and electrical devices you want your generator to run. Based on your answer, they will provide an estimate on the wattage you’ll need from your backup generator. You can supply an accurate wattage assessment by checking the data plate on each appliance. You should see both surge and running wattage requirements for the device. If you only see amperes (amps) and volts, your experts will tell you that multiplying the number of amps by the number of volts equals watts.
Your experts will also discuss the fuel supply for portable generators, which can run on gasoline, diesel, or propane.
An Overview of Wattage Supplied by Portable Generators
This will give you a starting point when discussing backup generators with the experts.
SMALL PORTABLE GENERATORS – These provide up to 3,000 watts and are designed for use in short power outages, two to four hours. A small generator can power a refrigerator, lights, or television.
MEDIUM PORTABLE GENERATORS – 3,000 to 6,000 watts. With one of these, you’ll be able to have heated food from your microwave while the refrigerator stays on.
LARGE PORTABLE GENERATORS – These can deliver 6,000 to 9,000 watts, which will power several rooms in your home.
EXTRA LARGE PORTABLE GENERATORS – You’ll have 10,000 watts, which should fully power your home.
What You Should Know About Portables
Portable backup generators are not designed to be used day after day. You know, if you live in or near Marion, SC, your power can be knocked out for a week or longer by major storms or hurricanes.
There are safety measures you need to take when running a portable generator. First, do not run it inside your home. Any generator puts out carbon dioxide, which can be deadly in enclosed spaces, which is why portables should be run outside your home at least ten feet from windows and doors.
Consider connecting your generator to your home circuit box with a manual transfer switch. This connects your backup generator to the main circuits in your home. Any appliance that is connected to the manual transfer switch will get power from your generator, which will be plugged into the transfer switch. You will want your generator experts to handle this installation.
Use of the transfer switch will eliminate the need for extension cords throughout your home and out open windows to reach the generator.
Remember, even with a transfer switch, you still need to be at home to start your portable generator.
Let the experts know if you’re planning on having your backup generator run sensitive electronics, such as computers, televisions, and smartphone chargers. Most electronic devices fall under the category of sensitive. This is important to know because of what’s known as Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). THD is basically a measure of how clean the electricity is coming into your home. Your electronic devices need electricity with a THD below 4% and portable generators cannot meet that standard, meaning you’ll need an inverter or standby generator. Your experts can guide you through this process.
Standby, or whole house generators, make emergency power less stressful. Standby generators are a permanent installation, hardwired into your home’s circuit breakers. They can generate over 150,000 watts of power, enough to provide surge watts to all major appliances while fulfilling all your electrical needs for days or weeks. Because standby generators are integrated into your home’s electrical system, it is important to have the backup generator experts handle the installation.
One of the key benefits is the availability of surge watts to maintain operation of your HVAC. Portable generators are not reliable when it comes to HVAC operation because of their inability to provide the surge watts necessary for starting the system’s blowers and compressors. Standby generators have enough power to keep you comfortable.
Other benefits of standby generators are their ease of operation and the fact they produce clean electricity. Unlike portables, standby generators have an automatic transfer switch that automatically starts the generator and distributes power to all your appliances and electronics. You don’t have to be home for the generator to start. Your electronics will be safe because standby generators have a THD below 4%, making them a safe electrical source for your sensitive devices.
Your backup generator expert in Marion, SC is Mister Sparky Generators. Make your appointment today!