A generator is a device that converts fuel (usually liquid petroleum or natural gas) into usable electrical energy. Its main function is to provide power when there is an interruption in the electrical grid.
Using a generator for power backup requires that you know how to connect it to your home’s electrical system and make it work safely. You can use extension cords or a transfer switch, but it’s more common to hook up your generator to the whole house and run hard-wired appliances.
What type of generator should I buy?
If you need a backup power source for your home or business, you may want to invest in a generator. They can help provide emergency power when the power is out due to storms, downed power lines or other hazards.
When shopping for a generator, you need to consider what type of fuel it will use and how much power it can put out. You also need to determine which appliances you will need to run during an outage.
Fortunately, it is fairly easy to find out how many watts of power your generator will produce. Simply check the rated watts of any electric appliances and tools you intend to use with it, then add that to the generator’s output.
This will give you a rough idea of how big of a generator you’ll need to keep your essential appliances running during an outage. Once you know your requirements, use a power requirement calculator to determine the wattage generator that’s right for you.
How much power do I need?
When choosing a generator, it’s important to consider both starting and running wattage. These numbers are usually listed on appliances, tools and electrical devices and indicate the amount of power they require to start up or run continuously.
Appliances and tools typically need more starting wattage than they require running wattage. This is because they have motors or heating elements that need to surge up to a peak demand before dropping back down to a lower running wattage.
For example, a typical window air conditioner needs 2,200 starting watts to start up. It then requires 1,500 running watts to keep it running.
How do I connect my generator to my home?
Having a generator is one way to avoid losing power in your home when there’s an electrical outage. However, you should be aware that it’s not always easy to hook a generator up.
Using extension cords is an inexpensive way to connect your generator to your home. You can also use a transfer switch, which is the safest and most convenient option for hooking up your generator to your home.
To make this process safe, it’s important to follow all safety precautions. This includes wearing steel-capped work boots, protective eyewear, and sturdy working gloves.
It’s also best to leave the doors and windows closed when you’re using a generator. This is because carbon monoxide gas is extremely dangerous to breathe.
How do I keep my generator running?
While generators are great tools for powering your home, they must be maintained properly. Failure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines can lead to costly repairs or even disaster.
First, always run the generator dry before you store it for the season. This will help prevent fuel from chemically deteriorating in the tank, clogging the carburetor and other parts of the generator.
Additionally, you should add a fuel stabilizer to the full tank of gasoline before you put it away. This will slow down the rate at which fuel erodes various rubber and plastic parts of the generator while it is in storage.
It’s also important to remember to keep the generator out of rain and snow. Generators that are wet when operating can malfunction or even become dangerous electrocution hazards.