In simple terms, an electric generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. In emergencies such as a power outage, a generator can be a life saver, which makes these handy units a household essential. However, they can also be used across industries to power various appliances and are even ideal for the family camping trip alongside a variety of other non-emergency related uses! Whatever you require your generator for, here is a handy guide on what to consider when buying the appliance, and how to use one safely.
Types of generators
The type of generator you choose to buy depends on what you plan on using it for. The most cost-effective type of generator is a portable one, which range roughly between 3,000 to 8,500 watts. These are ideal for emergency back-up use as they can be easily transported between locations. However, they are usually run-on gasoline which means you will have to store it correctly and only use the appliance in an open space due to the risk of carbon monoxide.
Similar to the portable generator is the relatively new portable power station. This continues to be flexible in that it can be transported about easily, yet it doesn’t use fuel and is instead run on a battery. This means the appliance can be used inside, which makes it a great option if you live in an area where bad weather causes regular power outages.
An inverter generator is also a portable unit, but due to having a more complex engine and sophisticated exhaust system, they are priced much higher. If you are looking for a more environmentally option, these appliances run much more efficiently than traditional models, and on a plus side don’t make nearly as much noise! These are recommended to be used for more sensitive electrical items such as laptops and computers.
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution however, you may consider getting a home standby generator professionally installed. These clever devices use propane, which is largely safer than gasoline, and are designed to automatically turn on when there is a power outage. Many people may be put off by their expensive price, but if you find yourself regularly relying on a generator, this could be more cost-effective in the long run.
Many people rush to buy generators when blackouts are experienced. Unfortunately, this type of panic buying can lead to people rushing the setup of the generator in the dark and making vital safety errors. One of the biggest concerns associated with generators is the risk of carbon monoxide, yet many companies are running tests to ensure the safety of units. However, it is important you remain vigilant and when using a generator follow these general rules of thumb; don’t run it in an enclosed space, run it at least 20ft away from your home, and direct exhaust away from your house. Note, this doesn’t apply if you are using a battery powered generator or have one fitted in your house already.
Once you have run the diagnostics and are sure about which type of generator is right for you, you can begin to refine your search. You may look out for desirable features such as an automatic start or a low-oil shutoff to prevent engine damage. If you have any doubts, ensure you speak to a specialist so you can invest correctly the first time.