When the power goes out in your home, you don’t want to be left unprepared. If you live in a climate that’s prone to frequent and severe storms, there’s no telling how much damage a power failure could do over time, especially if it’s a recurring issue. When it comes to protecting your home from danger and damage, investing in a home backup generator is a great way to keep ahead of trouble. But with all the great options on the market, how do you know which model is the right choice for your home? If you’re looking for tips on buying a home generator, answers about interlock kits, or advice about some of the most high-rated products, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for your home backup generator.
1. Consider Power Options
Each backup generator model runs on a different wattage. Depending on a number of different factors, you’ll be able to figure out which wattage is right for your home. You’ll also want to consider how much you want to spend and how much maintenance and installation work you want to deal with. For some basic, low-wattage models, installing your generator is as simple as connecting via a single chord and a transfer switch. For other options that are a bit more luxurious, a bit of installation is required, but you won’t have to place your generator in a separate safe area in the garage or outside the home, and you won’t have to worry about your generator overheating appliances. To stay safe, don’t just opt for the lowest wattage or least expensive option. Take the time to really look into the capabilities and pitfalls of each machine before making a purchase.
2. Portable vs. Stationary
Another important factor in your choice will have to do with the level of interaction you want with your machine. If you’re set on a classic portable model, you’ll have the option of easily maneuvering it around and dealing with a fairly easy setup. The big difference between the two different models is the gas they run on. While portable generators are smaller and less expensive, they tend to run on gas, which can be risky. To prevent the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, these models can’t be used in an enclosed space. With stationary models, however, the operating system is fueled by natural gas or propane. These models also hold a lot more wattage, going up to 20,000 watts rather than the portable machine’s maximum of around 8,500 watts. Stationary models also run regular maintenance checks and updates without a homeowner having to stress about it. While portable models are less expensive and don’t require installation, they do require a bit more unexpected maintenance than stationary models. Since they run on gas, they will require a stabilizer to run properly and safely.
3. Check for Extra Features
Even if you’re only interested in getting a bare bones, basic generator in case of emergency, you should still keep an eye out for extra features that could end up making your life a lot easier, not to mention safer. For instance, when comparing models, are you thinking about how your generator will affect the power consumption in your home? While some models use less wattage to run, others may end up overheating your other appliances in the process of getting enough power to switch on. Is the model you’re looking at quiet or noisy? Does this model have a way of easily and safely checking the fuel gauge? Will your machine automatically shut off when oil is running low? Taking safety features into account will prevent damage to your machine and damage to your home. Don’t skimp when it comes to features and details that count.
4. Budget for Your Transfer Switch
You may have crunched the numbers in your head, bought the most cost-effective model on the market, and prepared to install it yourself without any added cost, saving you the time and money it takes to hire a professional. However, even if you’ve budgeted everything out accordingly, you’ll still need to hire a professional to install your transfer switch. This is the switch that connects everything to one grid and prevents your generator from causing all your other appliances to short circuit. Since it’s a pretty dangerous maneuver, it’s one that’s best left to the professionals, at a cost of about $500 to $900 depending on who you use. You’ll need to set aside some room in the budget for other small appliances as well, like wheels for your portable machine, which are often priced separately, and an interlock kit for your generator.