Whole house generators, especially standby generators and portable generators, have risen as a trustworthy solution to power outages. Their rising demand stems from their capability to supply electrical power to an entire house during unplanned power outages, natural disasters, or other unexpected events.
Therefore, comprehending the nuances of whole house generators becomes crucial for homeowners thinking about investing in a steadfast power backup.
With the sheer variety of models and their associated features available, making a well-informed decision can feel daunting. This article endeavors to present a detailed overview of whole house generators, enabling readers to grasp their features, advantages, and key factors to consider before buying.
Types of Whole House Generators
Before you decide on a generator, understanding the different types of whole house generators is essential. These generators, tailored to cater to a range of requirements and tastes, can mainly be categorized into two types.
- Portable Generators
True to their name, portable generators offer mobility and can be relocated as needed. These require manual intervention, meaning when you lose power, the user has to initiate them. Being typically more cost-effective, they can be a suitable pick for those on a tight budget or those seeking a short-term solution.
- Standby Generators
A standby generator, on the other hand, is a more lasting installation, positioned outside a home. These come equipped with an automatic transfer switch, enabling them to spring to action as soon as a power outage occurs.
Although generally more expensive than portable generators, they provide convenience and all-encompassing generator power for the entire house during disruptions.
In choosing between a portable generator and a standby generator, homeowners should balance the advantages and disadvantages of both. Elements like budget, the necessity for mobility, and the preference for automated function should guide the choice. Each serves a distinct purpose, and the decision often rests on individual situations and inclinations.
What Do Home Generators Run On?
One of the pivotal aspects when pondering over a home generator purchase is the kind of fuel it utilizes. The question “What do home generators run on?” is frequently on the minds of prospective buyers. Here’s a delineation of the chief fuel sources and their related traits:
Gasoline is often the go-to fuel for many a portable generator. It’s easily accessible and can be stored in a fuel tank for emergencies. Nevertheless, its shorter shelf life and flammable nature can make storage a potential issue.
Diesel generators are reputed for their efficiency and durability. With a robust generator engine, they can sometimes be noisier than others. Diesel, being denser than gasoline, often ensures longer run times.
- Natural Gas
Natural gas generators connect directly to a utility line, ensuring an uninterrupted fuel supply. Typically quieter than a diesel generator engine, they might sometimes fall short in delivering the power punch, especially when high demand like an air conditioning unit is in play.
Generators running on liquid propane boast of a longer shelf life and are recognized for their cleaner emissions. Stored in tanks, they remain available even when other fuel sources might be hard to come by. Despite being efficient, the cost of liquid propane might exceed other fuels in some areas.
The choice of fuel isn’t just about availability or price but also revolves around efficiency, noise output, and ecological considerations. Comprehending the strengths and restrictions of each fuel type aids in crafting a decision aligned with individual needs.
Grasping the power capacity of a generator is pivotal for its optimum functionality. A generator’s power capacity denotes its capability to sustain all electrical devices and systems in a home when a power outage occurs.
A generator that’s undersized will not only be inadequate in powering all appliances but might also undergo undue wear. Overburdening a generator can lead to overheating, reduced lifespan, and potential safety risks. It can also result in malfunctions or damage to devices due to erratic electrical power.
A methodical way to ascertain the correct generator size is by cataloging all electrical appliances one plans to operate during a blackout. For each appliance, particularly those with motors like refrigerators, it’s vital to jot down both starting and running wattages.
These appliances, especially an air conditioning unit, often have a higher starting wattage than running wattage. Aggregating these figures renders an accurate representation of the needed power capacity.
Installation and Placement
Ensuring that a generator is both properly installed and suitably placed is crucial for its efficient and safe operation. Generators should be stationed on a level surface to ensure stability. Using concrete is preferable as it provides a sturdy base, reducing vibrations and any potential movement during operation.
Moreover, safety should be a paramount concern. Generators emit carbon monoxide, a deadly, odorless gas. Keeping generators away from windows, vents, and doors is essential to prevent this gas from seeping into living areas.
Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that there is adequate ventilation around the generator to disperse the gas and reduce any health risks.
Just like any machine, a generator needs regular upkeep to remain in optimal condition. Regular oil checks are essential, as running a generator with low oil can cause damage.
Changing the oil as per the manufacturer’s recommendation ensures the smooth operation of the unit. Apart from that, replacing worn-out filters is also critical. Clean filters ensure that the internal parts remain unsoiled, which in turn ensures efficient fuel combustion and reduced harmful emissions.
Modern generators elevate the convenience factor by a significant margin. Many of today’s units come equipped with self-diagnostic features that alert owners about impending maintenance needs. This reduces guesswork and ensures that the generator remains in peak condition for longer.
Noise pollution can be a concern, especially in densely populated areas. Consistent loud noises can be disruptive, and many local ordinances regulate excessive noise.
A generator that’s too noisy can strain neighborly relations and even lead to formal complaints. Therefore, before making a purchase, it’s vital to look at the generator’s decibel (dB) ratings. These ratings provide an indication of the noise output of the machine. Lower dB ratings denote quieter operation.
For those who already own a louder model or are constrained by choices, investing in soundproofing enclosures or barriers can also be an effective way to dampen the noise.
Costs and Budget
The cost of a whole house generator is influenced by factors such as capacity, features, and brand. While larger, feature-rich generators from renowned brands may come with a heftier price tag, they often promise better performance and durability.
However, it’s not just the purchase price to consider. Installation expenses can significantly add to the initial cost, and ongoing maintenance shouldn’t be overlooked. Setting a comprehensive budget, which factors in all these costs, ensures there are no unexpected financial burdens down the line.
Warranty and Brand Reputation
The brand reputation of a generator is a testament to its quality and reliability. Established brands, bolstered by positive reviews and recommendations, often instill greater trust. A robust warranty further accentuates this trust, signifying the brand’s confidence in its product.
But warranties can vary, so it’s essential to scrutinize the terms, understanding the duration and what it covers. In essence, opting for a reputable brand with a comprehensive warranty provides both a quality product and peace of mind.
When investing in a whole house generator, prioritizing safety is paramount. These powerful machines, while invaluable during power outages, come with their set of risks. Being well-informed about potential hazards and best practices can not only ensure the generator’s longevity but also safeguard the well-being of its users and the surrounding environment.
- Carbon Monoxide Emissions
Generators produce carbon monoxide (CO), a deadly, odorless gas. It’s crucial to place the generator outside, away from windows, vents, and doors, to prevent CO buildup indoors. Regular checks for leaks and proper ventilation are also essential to mitigate risks.
- Electrical Hazards
Improper installation or use can lead to electrical hazards. It’s vital to ensure that the generator is grounded properly and to avoid overloading it. Using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords without frays or tears is also critical.
- Placement and Stability
Generators should be placed on a stable, level surface, preferably concrete. This ensures the machine remains steady during operation, preventing vibrations and potential movement. Avoiding placement in areas prone to flooding or water collection is also important to prevent damage and hazards.
- Fuel Handling
Storing and handling fuel requires care. Fuel should be stored in approved containers, away from living areas, and kept out of children’s reach. Refueling should be done with the generator off and cooled down to prevent fires.
- Routine Maintenance
Regular checks and maintenance prevent unforeseen issues and hazards. From ensuring bolts are tightened to checking for wear and tear, routine maintenance is a must. This not only enhances safety but also prolongs the generator’s life.
While whole house generators provide the comfort of uninterrupted power, it’s essential to approach their use with safety in mind. Proper placement, mindful fuel handling, routine maintenance, and awareness of potential hazards are the cornerstones of safe generator usage.
The Bottom Line
Whole house generators are an invaluable investment for homeowners seeking uninterrupted power supply. From understanding what do home generators run on to the noise levels and environmental impact, it’s essential to consider multiple factors before making a decision. With the right knowledge, homeowners can make an informed choice that caters to their needs while ensuring safety and efficiency.
Ready to invest in uninterrupted power with the utmost safety in mind? Dive into a world where power meets safety, and let Streamline Generator light up your life. Contact us today and experience the difference firsthand.