How To Select A Portable Generator For Your Home

September 12, 2018

© Adam Nowak | Dreamstime

As Hurricane Florence makes its trek towards the Carolinas, it is a reminder of our own woes this time last year in the wake Hurricane Irma caused. With power out for days and the mindset that you'll never be without electricity again, a generator is in your future.  But like shopping for a car, there are many different models for different tasks from running a small appliance to your entire home. In a nutshell experts say to buy the smallest generator you need that meets you power needs.  That will minimize the amount of fuel you need to keep on hand to run it, especially if fuel is in low supply. So first figure out "must-haves" in your home and figure out how much power they consume. Generally the owner's manual will have this information as well as a quick Google search.  A refrigerator or freezer may be all you want, a small and portable 2000 watt generator should handle your refrigerator (around 700W), laptop computer (200W), phone charger (20W) and up to 10 lights (100W) all at once. This will be the most cost-effective type and most portable. While going up to a mid-size portable generator that puts out 3,500 watts will set you back anywhere from $1,000 to $1,700, you'll be able to add a 1,000W window or portable air conditioner and washing machine to your list from the smaller unit. Larger generators are generally the best value in terms of cost vs. capacity.  Units that belt out 7,500 watts usually cost anywhere from $700 to $2,800 and will be able to power more items in your house from your refrigerator, portable a/c washer and well pump and water heater should all function without problems. At the top is a home standby generators can keep your entire home running. However with systems ranging from $2,000 to $6,000, it is a pricey investment. Above all else safety is the number one concern with generators.  Make sure you items being powered by the generator are not connected to your home electrical system.  Make sure your generator operates in well-ventilated areas as to prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning and run them occasionally to make sure they are functioning properly so when they are needed, you won't have an unwelcomed surprise.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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