There are many different types of backup generators and standby generators to choose from – both different brands and different sizes. Choosing the right generator means evaluating your specific needs for emergency power. You will need to clearly understand your needs for wattage while also considering the best available generator fuel supply.
Understanding Your Power Needs
The first step in selecting the right backup generator for homes is to assess your power needs. Make a list of essential appliances and devices you want to keep running during an outage. Consider not only their individual wattage but also the startup power they require. Refrigerators, air conditioners, and well pumps, for example, have higher startup wattage compared to their running wattage. Understanding these factors will help you determine the overall wattage capacity your generator should have.
Types of Generators
- Portable Generators: Portable generators are versatile and suitable for various applications. They are easy to move around and can power a few essential appliances during an outage. However, they have limited wattage capacity, typically ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 watts, making them ideal for short-term use rather than providing continuous power.
- Standby Generators: Standby generators are permanently installed outside your home and automatically turn on during a power outage. They can power your entire house for an extended period, making them the ideal choice for long-term outages. Standby generators are available in various sizes, with wattage capacities ranging from 7,000 to 20,000 watts or more, depending on your specific needs.
Learn more about the difference between portable generators and backup generators here.
Determining wattage for a generator means adding up the watts needed to supply each piece of equipment you plan to run. Most appliances will have two wattage numbers: start-up (or surge) watts and running watts. Be sure to use the start-up wattage number in your calculation. Consider any equipment or appliance that is critical for:
- Emergency food and supplies
- Necessary medical equipment
- Climate control
- Other critical equipment, such as office equipment
Write down this list of necessary equipment and keep it with you when shopping for generators. The generator vendor can help you review the totals in determining what make and model of standby generator or backup generator to choose. Though you may not need to run all of the equipment simultaneously, it is still important to consider the total wattage.
Most generator suppliers will recommend that you buy a generator that is 20-25% larger than your current wattage needs. This is not just sales hype. A standby generator or backup generator is a significant investment, so you want to make sure that it will last over many years – even if your needs should change or grow.
Choosing the Right Generator Fuel
The best generator fuel supply for standby generators or backup generators is natural gas or propane gas. Natural gas piping and supply are not usually affected by severe weather and would be available as a ready fuel source. Natural gas is especially effective if your generator is directly connected to your home or business natural gas piping.
If your area does not have natural gas pipelines, then propane gas stored in a propane gas storage tank is an effective alternative. Like natural gas piping, the propane storage tank can be directly connected to the standby generator with gas line plumbing that will ensure an uninterrupted fuel supply.
Both natural gas and propane gas are clean-burning, efficient, and cost-effective. They also do not degrade over time, which is a potential issue with long-term storage of gasoline or diesel fuel.
With the right generator wattage and fuel supply, a standby generator or backup generator can provide emergency electrical power to your home or business, ensuring everyone’s safety. By consulting with a professional and understanding your power needs, you can choose the right generator that is cost-effective, safe, and reliable.
Contact an Experienced Professional at RP Gas Piping for All Your Home Generator Needs
Choosing the right backup generator and supplies for your home requires careful selection and professional advice. Consulting with professionals who have experience is critical to ensure safety and compliance.
Whether you opt for a standby generator or a portable one, we advise choosing natural gas or propane gas as your fuel source. At RP Gas Piping, we assist individuals in Phoenix, Arizona, and the neighboring areas with their natural gas and propane gas requirements. Our services include planning and installing gas line piping and backup generators. Contact us today to learn more.
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