How to choose a Personal Generator for Home Use

TUT Staff
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In this day and age, you need electricity to run your home. Without power, you’ll quickly find that even the most basic daily tasks just aren’t manageable. This means real disruption for those who live in areas that have unreliable power sources. 

Generators have been designed to help provide a consistent supply of power. They use fuel, normally gas or propane, to generate power allowing all your electricals to run. Generators were first used as portable devices but technological advancements have diversified how they can be used. 

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They’re commonly found in businesses, construction sites and in hospitals or other places that need the security of continuous power. Recently, homeowners have been discovering the benefits of generators and they are now present in over 25% of all homes in the country.

Home Generators

The rise in home generators has come hand in hand with technological advances. Generators are normally connected to your mains power supply which allows them to automatically provide current as soon as there’s any outage in your normal supply. Older models would take a few seconds to kick in, meaning a drop in power stopping whatever you’re doing. 

Thanks to developments over the years there are more models on the market that offer continuous power, meaning if they’ll switch on instantly stopping any outages. This might not seem like much, but for those who work at home, need access to WiFi or use a computer constantly it’s really important. 

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Home generators are much smaller than commercial generators and are generally made to be fixed units. They come in a range of different sizes and can even use different fuels, giving more flexibility for homeowners. They add a lot of security and continuity to your home life and it’s no surprise they’re more popular than ever. 

Key Factors 

As generators have risen in popularity the market has grown exponentially. This is great because it gives the buyer more options, but makes it hard to find the right models in a crowded market place. 

There are a lot of features to consider when selecting a generator for home use but for us there are a few key factors to help you decide:

  • Size

Size is probably the most important factor when deciding which generator to buy for your home. When we talk about size, it’s not about physical dimensions (though that is something to consider), it’s about the power it produces. You need to consider all the items you would expect the generator to power if needed and the wattage for each. You can then tot this up and determine the size of generator you need in your home. 

There are two types of wattage, running and starting. Running is the wattage needed to power a device and normally this is easy to find. Starting wattage is the first few seconds when you start a device and normally more power is needed. In order to ensure the generator is the right size you need to allow for roughly 10% more wattage.

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The larger the generator the more expensive it will generally be. You should consider exactly which electricals you would want to run during an outage and go from there. This will be the most important factor when selecting your home generator. 

  • Running time

The next most important factor is the run time of the generator. This is how long the generator can run for once it’s activated. This varies massively from unit to unit and should be something you consider carefully before you choose. If you rarely experience outages and they are fleeting then you might want a cheaper model that doesn’t run for more than a few hours. However, if you want greater security and the option to have backup power for days then you’ll need a much longer running time. 

Your running time will be influenced by how much load you put on the device. If you’re only using half the power then it will last a lot longer than if you run it at full pelt. You should bear in mind that the longer the running time the more fuel you’ll need, which will have a cost associated with it. 

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  • Size and Weight

A lot of home generators will be fixed units and attached to your mains. However, sometimes it’s useful to have a portable unit which can be moved as needed or even used outdoors for small equipment. If you’re planning to use it for this purpose you should consider the dimensions and weight. Go for a lighter model and look for one with handles to make life easier. 

  • Cost

An important factor in any purchase is the price. The cost of a home generator will vary massively depending on all the features you want so you should make sure you consider it carefully. It’s often worth spending more on a heavy duty, reliable generator that lasts rather than cheaper units. 

Remember, home generators are different to traditional commercial models and while they are made the same way you need to think about things differently. Size and power are important but don’t over buy, consider what you need and try to keep the cost down as much as possible. 

Where to buy home generators

Home generators aren’t often very large and you won’t need to go to a specialist to get one. A normal hardware store will probably have what you need and may even have a couple of models to choose from, but generally you should go online. This will give you the greatest amount of choice and allow you to pick the best value generator that meets your needs. 

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to generators, but there are definitely factors which make them more suitable for home use. Take into account the key factors above and consider carefully what exactly you need for your home. 

If you buy the right model, generators can add a lot of value to your home. So take your time, get the right one and never worry about outages again.

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