For homeowners who want to be fully prepared when a storm hits, there’s no safer or more foolproof way to keep a house safe and protected than through a home backup generator. If your home has to deal with lots of blackouts, bad weather, and powerful storms throughout the year, a generator could save you a ton of money in damage and a lot of peace of mind. If you’re thinking about purchasing a generator for your house, you’ll need to do your research first. From learning about the basics of wattage, capabilities, and features like manual transfer switches, to figure out the most cost-effective and safe option for your home structure, there are a ton of details to take into account. If you’re prepared to buy an emergency backup generator for your home, here are a few key details to consider before you purchase.
Search by Size
The type of machine you invest in will have a lot to do with the type, frequency, and damage capacity of the weather you’re dealing with on a yearly basis. If you’re worried about the odd blackout or storm, choosing a smaller portable machine might be the best choice. You can store it outdoors, fire it up when you need it and you won’t have to worry a ton about upkeep or frying all the other appliances in your home by eating up all the wattage with the one machine. However, if storms are a major concern, choosing a stationary option could be the wiser move. While these machines are more expensive and often require acomplicated installation, they can run on up to 20,000 watts and keep your home’s power going through the toughest of storms. If you don’t mind putting a lot of money and time into your machine, you’ll be satisfied with the payoff of a larger, more comprehensive generator for your home’s protection.
Search by Wattage
Size and wattage often go together in a generator. While a smaller portable machine can range from about 5,000 to 8,500 watts, a larger stationary machine can go up to 20,000 watts. Again, choosing the right model for your home will have a lot to do with what your needs are. If you’re worried about losing data or security during a blackout that lasts a few hours, a portable machine will be great for your needs. But if you’re looking at major storms and power outages that last for days on end, you’ll need something a bit more serious. Before buying, take the time to add up all the combined wattage used by appliances in your home to get a sense of what your circuit board can take. Afterward, speak with a professional about the best and most low-risk wattage level you can find in a generator.
Assess Safety Features
A generator is a huge help when it comes to protecting your home during a storm. However, if you don’t choose wisely, it can also end up being a liability. Many older models and smaller portable generators run on gas, which is potentially dangerous to store and can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if kept in a confined space like a small garage. Even if you don’t need a stationary generator and don’t feel comfortable justifying the cost of a newer machine, try to find a portable generator that runs on propane rather than gas to maximize safety and reduce risk.
Consider Your Budget
A homeowner’s budgetary needs always play an important part in decisions of this kind. Without ignoring your basic needs and always keeping safety in mind, think about how much you’re actually willing to spend on the total venture. That means the purchase of the machine, installation, upkeep, energy, and an additional amount for installing the transfer switch and purchasing any additional features like interlock kits. Budget generously and always plan on spending more than you expect in order to keep ahead of costs.
Plan for Upkeep
No matter what generator you decide to buy, know that you’ll have to do the work of keeping it safe and in working condition through the year, no matter how often you end up actually using it. Some machines are self-checking and will alert you to any basic issues. With others, you’ll have to do manual checks for low oil, low fuel, and any other issues that might crop up. As with any other machine, having a generator takes a lot of maintenance, and knowing this will help guide you toward choosing the best model for your needs.