How to Choose a Residential Backup Generator

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If you’ve made the decision to purchase a home backup generator, you’ve already committed to keeping your home safe and protected no matter what life brings. Now you’re ready to figure out which generator type and model is best for you. Learning about the best kinds of transfer switches, fuel types, and interlock kits from Siemens to purchase will help you figure out what kind of home backup generator is right for you. You’ll also want to think about what size, type, style, and wattage makes the most sense for your needs. If you’re trying to find a generator that will get your through the hard weather, here are a few factors to consider.

How Much Power Do You Need?

The first information you’ll need is exactly how much wattage to spring for with your backup generator. The ultimate cost and size of your generator will have a lot to do with the amount of actual power you’ll need to have on standby. The best way to figure this out is to add up the wattage value of all the crucial appliances in your home. This means your refrigerator, lighting units, Internet router, and everything else that you’ll need to use during a storm. The lowest end of generators range from about 5,000 to 10,000 watts and cost anything from $400 to $1,000. They also tend to be portable models that must be stored outside the home. Stationary generators live in the home and can power up to 20,000 watts.

How Much Space Do You Have?

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Depending on how much wattage you need, you’ll have to decide whether you’re going to spring for a portable generator, which generally runs on gas and must be kept in a cool, dry environment outdoors for safety purposes, and a stationary model, which lives in the home much like an air conditioning unit. If you have the means and space for a stationary model, it’s always a good idea to invest in one of the higher-end models to make sure more of your appliances will be powered for longer in a storm. If you’re trying to budget, a stationary model can be a great option as well, as long as you have a safe space to store it in.

How Much Upkeep are You Willing to Do?

No matter what kind of generator you end up buying, you’re going to end up needing to do some basic maintenance on it through the year. For stationary generators that run on gas, this maintenance work might end up being more extensive, since stationary models tend to have a self-check setting that will run on its own and alert you to problems early on. For stationary models, you’ll have to manually check fuel and run basic tests every few months to make sure everything is in good working order.

How Often Will You Use It?

The amount of upkeep you’ll need to do should be balanced against the total use you plan to get out of your generator during the year. Do you live in an area where the power goes out often? If so, for the amount of maintenance work it’s probably worth it. However, if you’re only planning to use your generator a few times a year, you might want to choose a lower-maintenance model to start.

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