Backup Power | Generators

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An emergency generator provides 24/7 blackout protection to supply power during a utility outage. Decide whether you want to back up a few essential circuits/outlets or your whole house or business. The number of circuits you back up and the power requirements of the items on those circuits will determine the quantity of batteries you need.

  • Do you need standby power for your home or office, or a portable model for a job site or recreational use?
  • How many and what types of appliances/equipment do you need to power?
  • Do you need to power hardwired items such as a furnace, well pump, or air conditioner; or only appliances that can be plugged into an outlet?
  • Do you need your generator to start automatically when an outage occurs?
  • Will you be powering computers, home electronics or other sensitive equipment?
  • What price range are you looking to stay within? Is price a primary consideration?

Portable Generators

generator_portable

Most portable generators run on unleaded gas or propane and can be used for limited home standby power, portable job site power or recreational power. If you plan to transport your generator regularly, you should consider weight, dimensions, wheel type and handle style to determine ease of mobility. If you need your generator to run for extended periods without refueling, such as overnight or through full work days, look for a model with extended run time in addition to a fuel or hour gauge.

  • Electric-start generators power up with just the touch of a button or switch; this feature requires the battery to be fully charged
  • Automatic idle control idles the engine down when not in use for greater fuel efficiency and extended run time
  • 12V outlets allow you to charge a wide range of batteries, from vehicle to cell phone batteries
  • Features like a spark-arrest muffler, roll-bar construction and covered outlets may be desirable for added safety and durability
  • Generators with built-in welders combine welding capabilities with auxiliary power for lights and other tools

Power Requirements

Overtaxing a generator reduces fuel efficiency and in some cases can damage the generator and connected equipment. It’s very important to calculate the power output you need and to give yourself some wattage cushioning for running a few smaller items if need be. If you have the owner’s manuals for the appliances and equipment that you want to run, find and add up the start-up wattages for each item. Otherwise, use the chart and formula below to estimate your power requirements.

Two questions to ask yourself

1) How many watts does it take to power basic items?  In a typical home or small office, essential items can average 5,000 to 7,000 watts of power to run.

2) What is the difference between running watts and starting watts?  Running or rated watts are the continuous watts needed to keep items running such as lights, TV’s, radios, electronic device chargers, and fans.  Running watts relate to batteries.  Starting watts are the burst of energy needed to turn on something quickly or for a short time, like a blender, microwave, or hair dryer.  Starting watts relate to the size of an inverter..

It’s very important to calculate the power output you need and to give yourself some wattage cushioning for running a few smaller items if need be. If you have the owner’s manuals for the appliances and equipment that you want to run, find and add up the start-up wattages for each item. Otherwise, use the chart and formula below to estimate your power requirements.

EquipmentWattage*EquipmentWattage*
Broiler1,400Personal Computer500-2,000
Central Air Conditioning2,000-4,000Planer300-900
Chain Saw1,000-1,800Refrigerator/Freezer600-800
Circular Saw1,200-1,600Router100-1,300
Coffeemaker400-800Sanders (belt, disc, orbital)250-1,500
Drills (depends on size)250-1,200Shop Vacuum700-1,400
Electric Furnace5,000-25,000Space Heater1,250
Electric Range (oven only)5,000String Trimmer600-1,100
Electric Range (one element)2,500Sump Pump1,500
Hair Dryer1,200-1,500Table Lamp (tri-lite)150
Heater (radiant)1,300Television100-350
Hedge Clippers300-1,0003/4 HP Paint Sprayer1,800
Hot Plate1,250Toaster1,100-1,700
Leaf Blower1,000-1,400Water Heater3,000-4,500
Microwave1,200Water Pump1,000-2,000
Miter Saw500-1,000Window Air Conditioner600-1,500
Outdoor Lighting500-1,000
* This is approximate wattage only. Please refer to your appliance’s owner’s manual for exact wattage.

Running Watts:  Total your equipment’s wattage requirements from the chart above.  Overtaxing a generator reduces efficiency and in some cases can damage connected equipment.  It’s very important to calculate the power output you need and to give yourself some wattage cushioning for running a few smaller items if need be. If you have the owner’s manuals for the appliances and equipment that you want to run, find and add up the start-up wattages for each item. Otherwise, use the chart and formula above to estimate your power requirements.

Starting Watts:  Multiply the total wattage requirements by two, to determine the wattage necessary to start equipment with motors.  Start-up requirements may be as high as three or four times the running requirements, so it’s best to check owner’s manuals for exact wattages; portable generators offer a higher surge wattage to help accommodate start-up requirements.

Automatic Standby Generators

Automatic standby generators provide 24/7 blackout protection whether you’re home or away. It automatically supplies power within seconds of a utility outage. After power returns, the generator shuts itself off and awaits the next outage. Automatic standby generators are permanently installed and operate on an existing fuel supply – usually either natural gas or liquid propane gas.

• Decide whether you want to back up a few essential circuits or your whole house or business. The number of circuits you back up and the power requirements of the items on those circuits will determine which generator you need.

• An automatic weekly self-diagnostic test will validate that the unit is working properly

• Select models feature Quiet Test ™ technology or operate at lower RPMs for reduced noise levels

• Galvanized steel or aluminum construction for superior corrosion resistance

• Pre-wired and pre-packaged transfer switches allow for easy and cost-effective installation (models 8KW – 17KW; 20KW comes pre-packaged with 200 Amp load shedding transfer switch)

Generator Features

Automatic Transfer Switch:  An automatic transfer switch will sense when your power goes out and turn your generator on for virtually uninterrupted power. When power is restored, the automatic transfer switch turns the generator off. This prevents back feed into the power grid which could cause fatalities.

Automatic Voltage Regulation:  If you may be powering a computer, home theater components or other sensitive electronics, you should consider a unit with automatic voltage regulation. This feature stops voltage fluctuations that may harm electronics and is available on portable and stationary models.

Automatic Safety Shutdown:  Some generators automatically shut down in event of low oil pressure, low oil level, low coolant level, high temperature and other unsafe operating conditions.

Circuit Breakers:  Circuit breakers help prevent damage to connected equipment by shutting down the flow of power if there is too much current passing through.

Liquid Cooling:  Liquid cooling allows generators with very high wattages to run more quietly and reliably.

Wheel Kit:  Add mobility to your portable generator with a wheel kit that allows for easier maneuvering and transport to and from the job site.

For more information about:

Portable Battery Backup Power Click Here

Solar Charged Batteries Click Here

Watts Used By Average Appliance Click Here

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