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How to Select a house Standby Generator

Blizzards, Ice Storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, a careless driver striking a power pole -- there is absolutely no end to the natural and man-made disasters that can shut the power down at your home. In the past people would light some candles, fire up the gas stove, and tough it out. But now, with most homes being nearly 100% electric, losing power can be more than an inconvenience; it could be life-threatening.

Fortunately standby power generators, once exclusively used by factories and large companies, are within the financial reach of any house owner. They're safe, quiet, and efficient. Actually, the only real issue is: Which generator is right for you personally?

What's the Watt?

Generators can be purchased by wattage rating. If you were absent from school on that day, you might not know that wattage is kind of the electrical equal to horsepower. Remember Ohm's law? Don't worry, I didn't either. Anyway, Watts = Volts x Amps and Amps = Watts/Volts. While theoretical knowledge is a wonderful thing, here's even more practical information that will help you select the right home standby generator for you.

Power Consumption Calculations

Most every electrical appliance has a tag somewhere that will tell you at least two of the numbers you need to calculate the proper size emergency generator for you personally. home appliances for free When you have volts and amps, you should use Ohm's law to calculate the watts.

Of course, should they list the watts, then you're all set -- almost. Electrical motors require around four times as much wattage to start up than they do to keep running. It's got something to do with inertia and friction, but I was absent on that day aswell. So, a good rule of thumb is to multiply the wattage on the label (or the wattage that you calculated) by 4 if you're coping with any electrical appliance which has a motor.

In terms of calculating the wattage necessary to run electrical lighting, you could have been absent from school for the whole year and still get this one right. It's printed right there along with the bulb. That means, in order to power a 60 watt light bulb, then you'll consume... yep, 60 watts of power.

Power Management 101

The first thing to keep in mind is that the utmost wattage for anything motor-driven is used once the motor first begins. Moments later it drops down to the standard running wattage. So, you need to select a generator that outputs enough wattage to handle the appliance with the highest startup rating. Then, simply make sure no two appliances are started at exactly the same moment and you will dramatically decrease your calculation.

The second thing to keep in mind is that the total of the running wattage column is an issue if you intend to run every appliance, all at the same time, and all day long and night. This is why, by simply mapping out an acceptable power management schedule you can cut way back on how big is your power requirements. For most people a 2500 watt generator will do the trick.

Fuel Requirements

Although diesel-powered generators exist, they are typically used in commercial and industrial environments. For all of us homeowners you will find a choice between gasoline and liquid propane gas (LPG). Generally of thumb, the LPG models run quieter than the gasoline models. Fuel consumption varies dependant on the horsepower rating of the generator's engine. An 8 HP model will run about 10 hours +-, at full load, while an equivalent LPG model runs one hour for each 5 lbs of fuel that it burns.

Start Your Engines

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There are 3 basic ways to fire up a generator. Some models come with a recoil starter, just like a lawn mower's starter, other come with an electric (battery) push-button starter, and other posseses an auto start switch, also called a transfer switch, that must be wired directly to your home's existing electrical system.