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With a good generator, you can run important appliances in your home like refrigerators, heaters, and air conditioners during power outages. Generator dealers record the most sales when there are massive storms in surrounding regions, which means most people don’t buy generators until they urgently need them.
Waiting until the last minute forces you to settle for any random generator that appears to be up to the task. First you should check the specs carefully, install it following all the guidelines, and avoid shortcuts at all costs. The following guide will explain everything you need to know to choose a reliable generator.
Typical Generator Uses
• Backup Power During Harsh Weather Conditions – Do you live in an area where heavy rains and storms are rampant? You should invest in a portable generator to power your crucial appliances whenever such weather conditions cause a blackout.
If you also live in an area experiencing freezing temperatures, you cannot rely on electricity from the national grid to power air conditioners and heaters. The solution is to invest in a portable generator.
• Outdoor Recreational Activities – Make camping more fun for everyone by bringing along a source of power. With a portable generator, you can enjoy the conveniences of modern-day living such as a coffee maker, a small refrigerator, and the ability to charge your phones.
The generator also supports lighting, thereby significantly improving the security of your remote camping site.
• Construction Site and Backyard Activities – Are you a contractor working at a remote place, or a homeowner working on a patio situated far from a power line? A portable generator allows you to use tools such as roofing guns, spray guns, and electric drills.
It also enables you to use security lights and continue working late in the night. Persons running businesses also stand to reap heavily by investing in a portable generator; run your business 24/7 regardless of the presence of a blackout.
Features That Count in a Generator
To get the best value for your investment, you should consider the following features while shopping for a portable generator.
1. Electric Start
Many portable generators offer a push-button option to the conventional pull-starting mechanism. Find out if the battery required for this function is included in the price, and if not, factor it in (it costs about 50 dollars)
2. Alternative Fuel
While most portable generators use gasoline only, there are models designed to run on natural gas or a propane gas tank. Some, however, can be converted using special kits.
Note that some portable generators will require you to buy wheels separately. Wheels cost as high as 150 dollars. Moving a wheeled generator alone is possible, but without wheels, it is not practicable.
4. Fuel Gauge
A fuel gauge allows you to check fuel level easily which is particularly useful during extended power blackouts.
5. Low-Oil Shutoff
A generator is designed to shut down automatically whenever oil falls below a specified level for safety reasons. A good number of portable generators feature this handy feature.
6. Inverter Technology
High-end portable generators provide cleaner output power that can be used by even the most sensitive appliances. Such generators are appropriate for camping since they typically operate much more silently.
7. Multiple Outlets
Four or even more allow you to best utilize the wattage because they spread the load. However, you should use all the outlets during outdoor camping expeditions or emergencies only.
8. Removable Console
They allow you to directly plug appliances into your portable generator without using the potential risk extension cords.
Tips for Generator Care and Maintenance
• Allow your generator to cool down sufficiently before refueling it.
• If you are planning to use your generator around the clock, stock up between 12 and 20 gallons of fuel per day, depending on its size.
• Water must not come into contact with your portable generator. Such a contact may result in generator break down or even electrocution.
• Check and change your generator oil and filters on a regular basis, preferably before starting it.
• Never back-feed your generator output into the national grid. It makes the utility line live, possibly injuring a technician working on the line.
• Do not run your portable generator in an enclosed space. Generators emit deadly carbon monoxide which should be channeled out to avoid inhalation.
When shopping for a portable generator, do not rush. Ideally, you should buy when you are not urgently in need of generator power. Once you know the generator power output that will suit you, establish the presence of the above useful features.
Furthermore, you should also read portable generator reviews to dig deeper on features as well as pros & cons of each model. Then you will be able to quickly find out the best generator meet your need.
This article was contributed by Victor Hill of Trustworthy Power.
Debbie sue Thomas says
I am looking for a solor generator to run refrigerator, tv, and satelite reciever, any ideas?
power drill says
The portable generator is one of the most used and most important electrical machines as it helps to provide the electricity at any time and any where the most important part of this generator that it can be carried by the user at any place.
The features described here about this generator is very important, a user should look for these features when he is all set to buy this portable generator.
Sideliner 1950 says
Anyone considering buying a portable generator would benefit from referring to this article for guidance.
No generator comes cheap, but no reasonable person should waste money on junk. Across all the different brands, generators are definitely NOT all designed and built to the same standards, and they do not necessarily include the same components or quality of components. The hard, time-tested truth is this: when it comes to generators, price really is a major indicator of quality…you DON’T get what you DON’T pay for. Knowledge is power, so gain knowledge by investing sufficient time in research, consider the data, and then only invest your hard-earned money in a generator that has a solid reputation for reliability, one that you can reasonably expect to operate day to day, but especially when the SHTF, because remember, people’s lives — your own and those of your loved ones — may well be at stake.
How to know which one? First, most people don’t really know what their actual electrical requirements might be from a generator — portable or otherwise; but take heart…there are knowledgeable people working at the various generator sales companies whose job it is to provide customers with exactly that kind of guidance FOR FREE. Reasonable guidance is also available on the websites of the various reputable generator manufacturers. Learn everything you can on line. Go see the models you’re considering in person. Contact the company sales representatives by phone. If you understand your requirements from a generator, you WILL be able to zero in on a range of models from the various manufacturers.
Still, before you buy, ask around and learn from others. Talk with your friends and neighbors who already have generators that they use for various purposes. Contact and find out from the reputable contractors and construction companies in your area what brands and models they provide for their employees. Gather and compare opinions, and factor them into your deliberations. Then spend WISELY, and to me that means getting the highest-quality generator you can manage. Yes, you may get lucky with your relatively inexpensive generator from Harbor Freight, and it may last forever and serve your needs just fine. But keep this in mind: it’s one thing when a nail gun on a job site won’t operate because the generator powering the compressor just died…it’s all together something else again when all the food in your freezer is going bad from a lack of electricity, or your essential medical appliance quits working in a blackout.
Kieran Roberts says
wise advice with a lot of common sense thrown in for good measure.
Most generators would be beyond me because I live in a disability pension, however, I can still save up and maybe get something good from a relative or someone they know