This generator buying guide is worth starting by highlighting the fact, these appliances are a very important part of a modern home or structure, which is critically dependent on electricity.
Because almost everything works on electricity, sometimes such an acquisition becomes simply irreplaceable. With a generator, you can keep warm or power the air conditioner for cooling. It can power a variety of household appliances, including refrigerators, microwaves, and kettles. In addition, it is great for charging devices and, in some cases, even supplying power to building tools.
In today’s world, people prefer generators because they want to feel reliable and quality. Presenting the prospect of being in the middle of the problem of missing electricity, in a hurry, shining a flashlight to find the right switches, people do not want to experience this.
Types of generators
There are several types of generators on the market, which differ in their characteristics and have different features, both internal and external. In addition, they are designed for different types of devices and produce completely different amounts of electricity
Conventional portable generators
When talking about portable home generators, there are several features to consider. It is important to understand that due to an internal combustion engine, it can run on several types of fuel at once. Depending on the model and manufacturer, you can use either gas or diesel.
In addition, generators for home usually have several outlets for direct connection and themselves, too, can be connected to instruments and devices through ordinary sockets.
Roughly speaking, portable generators were generally considered average because they were powerful enough to run simple equipment. This category includes televisions, refrigerators, and speakers.
The main feature of an inverter generator is, in fact, the motor that is connected to the alternator. This type is the only one among others that uses a rectifier. It is needed to convert AC power to DC power.
By reading this generator buyers guide, all users must be aware that this inverter generator features modern electronic circuits and magnets. In addition, it is also important to understand that the current generation goes through three phases to produce the final current value. These three processes involve outputting AC current, converting it to DC, and inverting it to AC. Speaking of generator basics, it is worth considering that this type is also characterized by increased energy efficiency. This is possible due to the engine speed, which varies with the required power.
Home standby generators
When you compare home generators, there is another type, the Backup Generator. It is a system that works with an automatic transfer switch. This switch instructs the generator to supply power to the unit when power is lost.
You are probably wondering how to pick a generator? Let’s take a look at the key features of this type of generator. First of all, it is worth considering that it works automatically and does not require direct control. In addition, the internal system is built in such a way that it provides continuous power protection.
As a rule, such models are chosen as an emergency generator for home. It has two main components: a standby generator and an automatic transfer switch.
Speaking about fuel for him, it is important to know that he has an internal combustion engine, and from this, it runs on both gas and propane.
Often features an automatic power analysis system. Can detect power loss over a very short period of time. Then, it turns on the electricity, from which you will not even notice the loss of power. Due to the constant regulation of energy use, it is often used in backup lighting systems, when working with medical equipment, and even in elevator systems to prevent disasters.
What size generator do I need?
This generator guide would be incomplete if we did not consider the situation related to the generator sizing method. First, the size of the generator is directly related to its output power. This choice must be approached very rationally in view of the fact that buying too large a generator may not be justified. With the same success, you can save too much and buy a generator with oversized power that will not be enough for all your devices. Thus, always calculate in advance the amount of energy you need and select the generator according to your needs.
It is best to make a list of the appliances that you plan to power. Recalculate and summarize the nutritional requirements of each. This formula should include two values: starting power and operating (regular). It is worth paying attention to the fact that the stratum power is usually much higher than the working power.
So, when we put all the minds together, everything becomes much easier. The number that you get will mean the maximum power that the generator should provide to power all devices.
Alternatively, a simple formula can be used for the counting process. For example, the Amperes specified by the manufacturer usually mean the wattage for the connected equipment. To find the wattage in your amplifiers, multiply amps x volts to get the final wattage.
What a generator can power
Small portable generator – up to 2000 watts
- refrigerator (700W)
- laptop (200W)
- 5-10 lights (250W)
- smartphone charger (20W)
- home security system (100W)
- household fan (120W)
- stereo (90W)
- desktop PC with monitor (400W)
- PS4/Xbox consoles (140W)
- hot plate (800W up to 1500W)
I have prepared the list of the best 2000 watt generators, so you can save your time by reviewing all the top portable models.
Midsized portable generator (up to 3000 – 4000 watts)
- microwave (1000W-2000W)
- laser printer (500-2000W)
- aquarium (50-1000W)
- hair dryer (1000-1875W)
- air compressor (2000W)
- steam iron (2200W)
- circular saw (2100W-5300W)
Best 3000 watt inverter generator is important to powering a whole bunch of electronics, which can include a variety of devices, from smartphone chargers to refrigerators and TVs. The are very useful while traveling.
Large generator (up to 7000 – 10000 watts)
- electric water heater (4000W)
- heat pump (4000-7000W)
- air conditioner (1200 – 5000W)
- dishwasher (1000W – 2200W)
10000 watt generators are perfect home backup solution, they will keep you powered through any storm and can handle heavy loads, from your lights and home appliances to your A/C unit.
Generator fuel types
Gasoline generators has always been the leader among different types of fuel. Gasoline generators are very inexpensive, and gasoline is, you know, the most affordable fuel. When using it, you need to take into account that it will need to be refueled regularly because gasoline burns out very quickly. Generators with gasoline require much more careful maintenance, and, moreover, gasoline requires extremely careful storage. Gasoline also has a short shelf life, and its flashpoint is also very low.
Diesel fuel is a very efficient option and also does not require excessive maintenance. Diesel generators are preferred when a lot of energy and horsepower is needed, but it is not always possible to control the quality of its work. Because of this, they can often work for several years without any maintenance at all!
By the way, such fuel is easy to store because too high a temperature is needed to ignite it, and over time, it does not deteriorate at all. Therefore, it can be safely stored for several months.
Propane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is also a very popular version of the fuel. However, it requires a separate tank of a certain type. Moreover, the process of filling this container is also not very convenient. Propane fuel also does not deteriorate when it is idle for a long time, which gives people the opportunity to store it for a long time without fear. Despite this, propane is not nearly as energy-efficient as gasoline.
Dual-fuel generators open up new possibilities for you by allowing you to use several types of fuel at once. This helps to solve the problem with finding fuel when, let’s say, some of them are in short supply. This versatility option is great for those who sometimes prefer clean combustion of propane or have multiple cans of fuel to use before they go bad. Flexibility to change the main fuel is very convenient, and by the way, often very useful when traveling.
Generator features that make a difference
Automatic CO shutoff
An additional safety feature in the form of protection against the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is vital when operating the generator. Some generators offer the feature of an emergency shutdown of the device if the CO level has exceeded the norm and can potentially poison the environment around them.
Checking the oil level is extremely helpful. This function will help you avoid damage to the engine because if the oil level is below the permitted level, the engine will shut off automatically. This function is usually found in all stationary generators. Nevertheless, now, it is increasingly being added to all possible models, including portable ones too.
Automatic activation is something you can only dream of! During an emergency power outage, incredibly important devices may be working, food is being prepared, or electrical appliances may be charged. When the generator automatically detects the loss of power and turns on, that’s great! Plus, it can save you tons of time if you are traveling or not near a generator.
Despite the fact that stationary models have an automatic start feature, portable models often offer the option of an electric manual engine start. This is often a very useful feature too.
Yes, we have already talked about the possibility of generators working on several types of fuel. This is a very nice feature that allows you to ditch gasoline in favor of propane or gas. Plus, it’s easy to readjust with tools. You just need to study the characteristics of each type of fuel.
A fuel gauge will help you to determine the amount of fuel left in the generator in a matter of seconds. This will save you tons of time and reduce the amount of time you can spend fiddling with the generator.
The presence of multiple outlets increases the use of the generator. In addition, it allows you to distribute loads and connect several devices at once for charging or active use.
Noise has always been considered intrusive. Fortunately, there is a separate function that reduces the sound emanating from the generator by simply muffling it. To muffle noise, manufacturers often use soundproof enclosures and special material in the form of a membrane that does not allow sound to escape. Often rubber feet are also installed to absorb some of the noise and vibration. Exhaust mufflers are also a good option, which significantly reduces engine hum.
How to use a portable generator
Are you 100% wondering how to buy a generator? If yes, then you probably found the answer. However, the choice between standby and portable generators is still difficult.
Portable generators, unlike standby ones, are very convenient to carry and travel despite their weight. Nevertheless, standby generators are started by themselves and portable ones – manually. That is why having all the knowledge in the field of its operation is the key thing that you need to know 100%.
Сhoose the right place
Place in a safe area – the guarantor of your safety. Portable generators emit a critical amount of carbon monoxide when running on gasoline. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be wildly unpleasant and deadly.
The generator should only be placed outdoors and at least 20 feet away from homes. In addition, it should not be placed indoors in any way because it needs space for ventilation. Also, keep in mind that the exhaust should not point towards doors or windows.
Use a transfer switch
This fixture will securely connect your generator to the mounting panel using a single cable. This is necessary in order not to confuse the two types of energy sources – municipal and generated from the generator. This device is essential, otherwise, you can damage the generator, cause a fire and endanger the electricians who work with the city’s power grid. On most standby generators, this switch is automatically turned on. Using a portable generator, it will need to be turned on manually.
Check the fuel and oil levels
Please note that checking the level of liquids in the instrument is very important. For proper and durable operation, you need to regularly refuel the generator using only fresh fuel. Also, watch the oil level. Its absence in the system can damage the generator during operation. As a result, you will be forced to replace parts or the entire generator. In the worst case, you can damage the internal system, which can lead to fire, noise, and even explosion!
Plug in a portable generator
First, all necessary cables must be routed safely and neatly. Be sure to keep in mind that they should be away from any liquid or puddles.
First, make sure that all the cables you have chosen are perfectly suited for outdoor use and that they match the outlet you will be using. For example, if the outlet used is designed for 15 amperes, the appropriate cord is needed. And so, now you can connect the cords to the generator.
Start the generator
First of all, place the generator in the place you want, taking into account all safety rules. Also, make sure it is well protected from rain or snow to avoid rusting or short circuits.
Check for all fluids. Check if there is sufficient oil level to protect the engine from damage. Also, fill in the gas or fuel you will be using. Keep in mind that you need to use fresh fuel.
Before starting, make sure you haven’t connected anything to it. When starting the generator, nothing should depend on it to generate energy. Only after it has started can the loads be safely connected.
Plug the required devices
Now, you can connect the required devices. Please note that if there are several of them, it is better to connect them as the need for power increases. That is, first you connect, for example, a coffee maker and only then a drill.
Refuel the generator
Make it a habit to constantly check for fuel in the tank. If not enough, the generator can overheat or damage internal parts resulting in serious damage. If the fuel level is low, be sure to refuel it.
Unplug appliances and power down the generator
If you have done everything you need and the generator is no longer needed, do the following. Disconnect the devices connected to the generator in decreasing power. Thus, turn off powerful devices first and then undemanding ones. Take a break between each trip. In addition, if you do not plan to use the generator for a long time, it will be wise to drain the remaining fuel from it so that it does not sit idle in the tank.
Do you need to ground your generator?
Grounding is not a permanently required option. On the contrary, you only need to ground your generator depending on its type and how you use it. Modern generator models rarely require a grounding process. Nevertheless, experts advise grounding exactly the old models. If you do not know about your model, be sure to find this section in the user manual.
How to connect a generator to a house without a transfer switch?
The main task of the transfer switch is to isolate the electrical load. This process allows the separation of 2 types of energy: urban and generated by the generator.
You’ve probably wondered: what to look for in a generator? The transfer switch is exactly what you need! It will remove the chance of mixing two types of electricity. Its connection, of course, can be avoided, but then, you run the risk of disrupting the energy flow system and exposing, for example, technicians who are busy with electricity. Remember that from a safety point of view, this is very dangerous, and you should not neglect the rules. Although transfer switch generators are more expensive, they are definitely worth it!
How to load test a generator?
Generator maintenance is a very multifaceted thing that requires certain knowledge and skills. If you want to know all about generators, the load test is the one thing worth getting to know.
To check the functionality, you need to connect a certain number of devices to load the generator completely to 100%. However, it is worth following the procedure so as not to cause unexpected breakdowns. This procedure will help you find “problem areas” in the engine, in the fuel system, or in the cooling system.
How long does a generator run?
Understanding the amount of time in which you can expect the generator to work is important. That is why, during a generator purchase, you should always pay attention to the long-term work. An average standby generator can work for about 3000 hours without any problems. If this number doesn’t seem very impressive to you, imagine that you use it 100 hours a year. Thus, a generator of such power will last as much as 30 years! Portable generators tend to last less: just 1000-2000 hours. With proper maintenance and cleanliness, you can count on 10-20 years of reliable performance.
How to start a generator that has been sitting?
Among the important information about generators, it is worth considering the situation of putting them down. In view of the fact that for many, the purchase of a generator is important for emergency situations, it is important to make sure that it is in good working order 24/7. If it is idle for a long time without work, the launch may fail you. This factor depends on several things.
Check that the generator has enough fluids, including fuel and oil. In addition, the fuel must be fresh because the old will have a bad effect on the device.
Carry out a complete check of all basic components, such as spark plugs. In the event of a malfunction, there is nothing difficult in replacing it. The same goes for the air filter, which may need to be cleaned. Speaking of filters, you can check the fuel filter at the same time. It can often become clogged or even leak, which prevents the generator from starting.
What can cause a generator not to start?
Problems with starting the generator are quite common, and you will probably not be particularly pleased to encounter them. Thus, this generator guide would be incomplete if it did not address this kind of problem.
In fact, this can be due to a lack of oil or fuel in the tank. In this case, check if all the fluids are sufficient and try again.
It is also worth checking the fuel supply valve. It often happens that the tank is full, but the fuel valve is clogged or clogged. In this case, check if it is open and not clogged.
Often the carburetor can be clogged or blocked by air. If you have not used the generator for a long time without draining the carburetor, there is a huge chance that it may be clogged with old gasoline. You just close the fuel cock and open the carburetor drain. Usually, it is located at the very bottom of the carburetor tank. If nothing has changed, unhook the reservoir from the bottom of the carburetor and clean up any stale fuel.