Tips for Buying a Home Generator

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Tips for Buying a Home Generator

It is an inconvenient fact that mains power is never guaranteed. Those who move to rural areas often learn this simple truth the hard way, when they discover just how helpless they are when the power is out. The easiest way to resolve this issue is to buy a home generator, which can supply power even when the mains are out of service. Unfortunately, many buyers know very little more about generators than that they can supply electricity when the mains are down. A few simple tips can go a long way to easing any purchaser's mind.

Think About Usage Patterns

There are two main usage patterns for most home generators. One of the most common involves using the generator to supply electricity for heavy duty power tools in a shed or other outbuilding. Running a generator is often easier than wiring the mains in the outbuilding to operate tools. Others buy generators to supply power in the case of an outage. For those using generators for tools, a standard two- to four-hour fuel tank is usually sufficient, as it is easy to add more petrol during the day. For a generator intended for emergency power, it is often better to use a long-run fuel tank, so that it can last through the night.

Running Motors from Home Generators

Some power tools, and a number of major appliances, use induction motors, which require additional power to start, over and above their normal power draw. Fridges, freezers, and sump pumps are among the biggest offenders in this regard, often requiring two or three times the rated wattage to start. This is rarely an issue when running off the mains, but buyers should be aware of this additional power draw when shopping for generators, so that they can buy appropriately.

Running Computers from Home Generators

Most generators do not produce clean current; the output varies according to the load on the generator. This is not much of an issue for things like lamps, as most people are not concerned if the lights flicker a little when running on a home generator. Unfortunately, computers are more finicky than light bulbs, and do not respond well to power surges. Anyone intending to buy a home generator for use with a computer should look for a model with automatic voltage regulation, which can be found on certainBriggs andHonda generators. Buyers should also look into buying an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, for the computer, to damp out surges if the generator runs out of petrol.

Use a Fuel Stabilizer

Generators run best on fresh petrol, and it is generally a bad idea to leave petrol in the tank for more than 30 days. Buyers who plan to use their generator only for emergencies should invest in a fuel stabilizer, to ensure it runs correctly when needed.

Calculate Usage Requirements

Before buying a home generator, prospective purchasers should take some time to determine exactly what they intend to run from the home generator. Check each device and appliance to determine its specific wattage needs, and add the starting power for those devices that require it. Sum the figure and use that as a basis for choosing a generator. In most cases, a generator with enough power to run everything and cover the starting power for one or two devices should be sufficient, so long as everything does not start at once.

Decide Whether to Use the Generator as an Alternative to the Mains

One of the most important decisions when buying a home generator is whether to connect it so as to provide power in lieu of the mains. On one level it makes a great deal of sense to set things up so that everything can be plugged in as normal, but it does require more work to set up. Generators normally use a floating earth rather than a neutral earth, and so buyers need to engage an electrician to set them up safely. It is also very important that the generator be isolated from the mains, to allow repair crews to work in safety. This requires an emergency manual transfer switch, which must be installed by a qualified electrician.

Those who prefer a more basic approach can simply run extension leads from the generator to any device or appliance they need to run. Most appliances can run safely on the same heavy duty extension cords as power tools do.

How to Buy Home Generators

No matter whether you are looking for an emergency home generator to get you through a winter night when the mains are down, or just for something to power a few tools, eBay is the place to shop. A quick search from any page can enable you to find just the generator you need. A home generator offers more than just peace of mind; it prevents that feeling of helplessness when the power is out. Even if you do not need to worry about power outages, a home generator is a great way to operate power tools without running power from the mains to an outbuilding.

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