Home & Garden

Who Makes the Best Home Generator

Emergency home or small office backup generators are available in three different types – gasoline-powered (or, in some instances, diesel-powered), lpg (liquid propane gas) or natural gas. Each has certain advantages.

The only sure way to be guaranteed that oneself will have an operable generator during a power outage is to utilize a gasoline-powered generator. Many people think that a natural-gas generator is a better choice; however, if there is a disruption in the gas main the utility might have to shut down the natural gas – in some instances, entire communities will have no natural gas during a storm or other disruptive event. This leaves anyone owning a natural gas generator with no ability to utilize their generator until the gas main, etc. is repaired. In like manner, a wide-spread power outage can prevent obtaining further lpg since the lumber yard, etc. that pumps the lpg may well be out of electricity and cannot supply lpg until general power is restored.

On the other hand, a gasoline-powered generator is usable at any time – it provides for a self-sufficient scenario in which, as long as there is an adequate supply of additional gasoline on hand, the generator can be used irrespective of natural gas or of lpg limitations. There is no need to store endless quantities of gas – common sense applies. There should, also, be no fears in storing some extra gas in, for example, good quality 5-gallon cans – the car is typically parked on the premises and will itself contain some 20 gallons of gas in its tank.

A quality, whole-house natural gas system has one obvious advantage. If all else is equal, the system will auto-start upon a power outage – no one needs to be present to ensure that this happens. So, if, for example, you travel extensively, this is an immediate consideration. Of course, like anything else in life, you get what you pay for – a good quality (Kohler) natural gas system typically costs $12,000 to $15,000 (some can be higher). That is a sizable investment for the average person – especially when one considers that a premium-quality (Honda makes the best!) gasoline generator sized to do a typical house can usually be installed soup-to-nuts for around $6,000. Of course, smaller generators cost less.

In sizing a generator for home or office use, the procedure is to add up all the important electrical needs – keeping in mind that some types of products have starting surges that are typically two to three times the actual running wattages. For example, an average sump pump might run at 800 watts; but, need around 2,000 watts to start. Without knowing the starting surges on various products, one might seriously undersize an emergency generator.

Speaking broadly, most homes with a sump pump, fridge and typical heating system will benefit from a 5,000 watt generator. In recent years – due to escalating electrical usages (one fridge, one freezer, maybe two sump pumps, etc.) a 6,500 watt generator is preferred. If there are no sump pumps; then as small as a 3,000 watt generator can be selected.

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