Types Of Generators: How to Choose the Right One for You
Power outages can be burdensome and costly. In the winter, they can be dangerous to you and your family if you have electric heat. People living in Atlanta’s Harrisburg neighborhood without any types of generators are all too familiar with these dangers as more than 120,000 customers were left in the dark following storms last winter, according to reports from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Whether you are living in Almond Park in the Northwest or Polar Rock in the Southeast, another unpredictable season of potentially severe weather is upon us, placing extra importance on considering if and what types of generators fits your needs.
One of the ways to not get left in the dark, is to find the perfect generator before a winter storm hits.
Types of Generators
Generators come in two basic types; portable gasoline powered models and permanently installed equipment that runs on natural gas or propane.
For those looking at generators as emergency, short-term solutions, portable generators can fit the bill. The less expensive of the two types of generators — they can be used with an extension cord running directly to the unit into the home or can be hooked into a transfer switch and connected to the house’s power grid. However, in almost all instances the transfer switch will be an additional cost when purchasing a portable generator.
While cheaper to purchase, these types of generators require a bit more user interaction as they must be started manually and refueled. Further, when refueling the generator must be shut down and let to cool. In addition, they might not put out enough electricity to meet the needs of appliances with large power requirements such as central air conditioning systems.
The other option is installing a natural gas or propane generator. Requiring little effort for users, these types automatically kick on when the power goes down. While simpler for the consumer, they are also more expensive and require a complex installation. However, since they are automatic, they can power appliances even if the homeowner is away. If you’ve ever come home from a vacation or a business trip to find a refrigerator full of spoiled foods the appeal of these models is clear.
Regardless of which type you choose, it’s important to consider your home power needs. Most home power panels range from 100 to 200 amps, yet you likely aren’t running the panel at full capacity ever. To determine your power needs, generator supplier Generac has put together an online sizing calculator to help you make the best choice. For more details on generators, including the benefits of having one and a run down of the installation process, visit Casteel.