Being caught in a power failure is an inevitable part of life. The failure may occur due to a technical issue or due to a disaster. Although spending time surrounded by lit candles sounds like fun, getting caught for days without power supply can bring forth many other issues. If you live in a region that is prone to extreme temperatures, trying to survive without a proper heating or cooling system will be very difficult. A power failure may also result in rotting food, broken pipes, and flooded basements.
A backup generator is the best way to beat the odds and have your home return as much as possible to normal during a power outage. Unfortunately, many people hesitate to buy since they do not have enough information to pick one that suits their requirements. Here is an insight on all that you need to know when buying a generator for yourself.
Different Types of Generators
Generators can be classified into three different categories based on different factors:
Standby or Permanent Generators
These systems are wired into the utility system in your home. They offer high power output and can come in handy to operate several essential appliances at a time during a power breakdown. If one of your family members need access to refrigerated medicines or oxygen, it is essential to have uninterrupted power supply even in the face of power outages. Standby power backup systems are powerful enough to supply power to your homes as well as outhouses that house animals and pump water.
In fact, many homes located in areas that are prone to frequent storms rely on these power backup sources to ensure that everything continues running normally. However, these systems have a higher price tag and also need to be installed by professionals. It is also a good idea to check whether you need a permit from the local authorities before going ahead with the installation.
In some circumstances, you require a portable generator that can be transported to different locations and can be set up easily without professional help. These are often used outdoors and can help make sure that the absolute essentials continue running. It is often used in makeshift medical camps to aid medical staff. It helps in offering medical support to the people living in areas that have been ravaged by a natural or a manmade disaster.
These machines use heavy-duty extension cords to power the required appliances. Some of the systems also come with a transfer switch, enabling you to connect it directly to the utility system. These machines have come in handy and provide essential power supply in the face of emergency situations.
If you are looking for a quiet and light power backup supply, the inverter is a perfect choice. Although it can handle only light loads, it is useful to keep lights and a few appliances running. In fact, campers prefer to use these while they go camping since it is quieter and does not scare away the animals.
Read on to understand the different features to check out before purchasing a generator:
Standby power backup systems often run on liquid propane or natural gas. While the portable options are usually fuelled by gasoline, you can also find some systems that are powered by biodiesel or diesel. Experts from https://krugerpower.com.au/diesel-generators.html explain that a choice can be made depending on the possible fuel availability during emergencies. The fuel consumption by these backup systems will also tell you whether it is efficient when it comes to energy consumption.
The Transfer Switch
If the power backup system is wired into your home, you need a transfer switch to facilitate the backup to start supplying power when the main supply goes down. You can either opt for an automatic switch or a manual one. The former senses the power outage automatically and switches to the power backup system, whereas the latter requires you to go ahead and do it manually. If you live in an area where power failures are a common feature, the automatic transfer switch is the better choice.
Once you have narrowed down which power backup system to invest in, you need to make sure that you use a stable, dry, and clean surface to place the system. These need to be set up away from your home as well as the doors, windows, or other openings to your home. The exhaust needs to be blown away from the building and not rely on a fan. Since generators are typically loud, you might want to consider placing it as far as possible from your home. It is also recommended to keep it at a safe distance from your neighbours or backyard where you tend to spend more time.
Which Size should you Pick?
Before you set out to invest in a power backup source, it is important to add up your power requirements. A power backup supply that offers 5000 kilowatts per hour is suitable for a medium-sized home. In case the power outage lasts for more than a few hours, you will need a sturdy backup source that can work continuously. In order to check your kilowatt consumption, you can take a look at the power usage that is usually listed on every appliance. Do not forget to include essential items like water pump, power supply for the furnace or the boiler, air conditioners, etc.
Once you have noted down the power consumption for every appliance in your home, add it up to get a clear picture. This number is the total power consumption of your home. You will need to multiply the total number by 1.5 to take into account power surges caused by some appliances when they start working.
Running any backup power source at its full capacity for several hours at a time will cause it to burn out quickly. This is why experienced professionals recommend investing in a generator that allows you to power appliances without hitting the machine’s maximum capacity. Since backup power sources tend to be expensive as they go up in size, it might be a good idea to consider only those appliances that are absolutely necessary.