Tips for buying the best emergency power generator

September 24, 2014

If you don't want to scramble around in the dark after the power goes out at home, you may want to consider getting your own emergency power generator.Find out how to shop around for the best emergency power generator for your home.
Power outages happen
Plenty of disasters could cause your power to go out. Perhaps you recall the Calgary flooding of 2013, or the ice storm that caused power outages across Eastern Canada. Residents fairly commonly lose power due to:

  • Lightning storms
  • Ice storms
  • Wind storms
  • Extreme cold
  • Heavy snow

Why buy an emergency power generator for your home or cottage?
An emergency power generator will do more than keep the air conditioning or heat on during a power outage. You’ll be able to:

  • Run the TV for the kids
  • Keep the lights on
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer running, avoiding food loss
  • Use appliances like stoves and microwave ovens
  • Even use your computer

Emergency generators can even save lives by powering necessary medical equipment. During a prolonged power loss, or even the threat of one (remember Y2K?), your area’s generators may sell out.

Should I get a portable or standby generator?
An automatic (permanently connected) standby generator is easier to use than the portable type, because it involves fewer steps. A standby unit turns itself on and off, but a portable generator requires many steps before it’s ready to use.

Fuel source: gas, natural gas, diesel or propane?
Which fuel source is best for a generator? It depends. What is your home’s current source of fuel? What fuel is available in the area? Could your supply be cut off during a disaster? If so, consider propane, which you can store in a tank that is periodically refilled by a distributor.

Diesel fuel engines are easy to maintain and very efficient — although diesel fuel may be difficult to obtain during a power outage. Also, diesel-run generators tend to be more expensive.

What features should your emergency power generator have?
For a power generator that can run a 1500-watt heater, 200 watts’ worth of lights (very few), 800 watts for the fridge, and other appliances, you’ll need a 3000+-watt generator. For best performance, look for these features:

  • Overhead valve
  • Automatic voltage regulation
  • Idle control
  • At least eight hours of running time per fuel refill

Emergency power generator installation
Call a licensed electrician in your area to install any emergency power generator to avoid injury. And remember: always run your generator outside, as the engines produce deadly carbon monoxide gases. Never plug your generator into a regular wall outlet. This could burn up your generator and your home. Be safe and check with a professional first.

Tips for buying the best emergency power generator
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