Generator Types and Best Use Cases

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Anyone who has lived in the Southeast knows the perils of severe weather. From summer storms, coastal hurricanes, to winter snow and ice storms, we know to expect the unexpected. That means we should always be prepared for power outages that can last days or even weeks.

An emergency generator for home use brings many families peace of mind. There are a lot of options available on the market today, but not all generators are created equal.

What are the types of emergency generators for home use and how do they compare to each other?
There are two types of generators. Here we break down their pros and cons.

Permanent Standby Generators

Permanent standby generators are far more powerful. They have the ability to power your entire home for a long time. You will need a licensed electrician to install a permanent generator and you’ll need to notify your local utility company if you have a back-up system installed. These generators are truly the best possible way to prepare for a power outage.

Standby generators are permanently installed outside your home. They automatically turn on without you having to worry about a thing.

Instead of running on gas, these generators are fueled by your home’s supply of natural gas or a propane tank that can be installed underground. As soon as power is restored, the generator shuts off and your utility power is restored.

Portable Generators

These are the cheaper option because they generate less power than a Permanent Standby generator. Portables generate between 2,500-4,500 watts. If you can use power conservatively, then you can get away with a portable.
Portables have the option to power two to four outlets so you will want to determine which appliances would be your priority during an outage so you don’t have any surprises.

Storage: You can store portable generators in your garage or basement, and haul it out as needed. In the event of a power outage, you will move the portable generator from storage to your yard, and run extension cords from the generator to your selected appliances. The extension cords must be at least 14 gauge in order to provide adequate power. Plus, you need to make sure to not exceed the maximum wattage of the cords.

If you want to power your entire house without any worries, then you should look into the Permanent Standby option.

Safety: Portable generators run on gas, so carbon monoxide poison is a very real concern. Always place the portable generator at least 10 feet from your house. Never place it inside. When selecting an appropriate location, don’t place it in a garage or carport, and don’t place under and awning or anywhere near doors or windows. Always place the generator on a flat, well-ventilated surface with good drainage.

Because portable generators run on gas, you need to be certain that you have enough fuel to provide for a power outage, so consider how long a tank of gas will power your appliances and plan accordingly.

For more information on Generators, visit this post with even more detail, including “Top 5 Emergency Tips” at the bottom of the article.