If you live in an area that has unpredictable weather or power outages in winter, you may find that you’ve been looking around for generators.
When it comes to buying a generator, there are so many different options available to you that you may well become overwhelmed, but don’t let that deter you.
Having access to a home backup power source will not only give you piece of mind, it will also make sure that in the worst-case scenario, you will be able to charge phones and keep your lights on. Here we give you the rundown of what to expect when you buy and install a standby generator.
What Is A Standby Generator?
Standby generators are often referred to as whole house generators. They are the ones that will sit outside your home, not being used for 9 months of the year and then kick in when you need it most.
What makes standby generators different to portable generators is that you can’t move them to anywhere you like. Standby generators become a permanent fixture to your home, so they need to be put in a place that is easily accessible and well ventilated so they can perform their job.
Standby generators will often kick in as soon as the power goes out, so they are excellent options for people that work away from their home.
This way, even if you get in late, you can be sure that you aren’t walking into a cold house with no lights on.
What Standby Generator Is Best?
When it comes to choosing the standby generator, you’ll be asked one question and that is how much power do you require?
Before someone hits you with that question, it is one that is worth thinking about. Do you just want to be able to run the fundamentals of your home?
So, in the event of a power outage, do you just want to be able to keep the lights on, the heating on, the fridge freezer and the water running? Or do you want to be able to power your entire home like there isn’t a black out?
The answer to this will give you the size that you want to have. Remember though, that with size comes increased running costs.
The bigger the generator you have, the more diesel or petrol you are going to need to power it. Some can run up to 48 hours on a single tank, but if you live in a rural area or you have seen diesel or petrol run out in the past, then opting for a smaller, more economic generator may be better for you, so that you can keep your house running.
Dual fuel systems are now entering onto the market on a residential basis. They do exactly what they say on the tin and use two fuels to power them.
If you want to power your whole house but you are concerned with the availability of one type of fuel, a dual fuel can help alleviate that stress, but only if the second type of fuel is available.
If you live in a location where you can access LPG or ethanol, then a dual fuel system could be good as the chances of running out of fuel are a lot lower than if you only have a single fuel system.
Dual fuel systems are more expensive at point of sale than their single fuel counterparts, but over their lifespan, they will cost you less to run.
Buying Your Generator
Once you have figured out what size and type of generator you want, find somewhere that is reputable that sells them.
These aren’t the kinds of things that you want to buy blindly over the internet. Rather, you want to be able to go into a store and chat with an expert.
You may find that the system you are thinking of isn’t actually suitable for what you want, but they will give you other options that will get you through a power outage.
Unless you know exactly which system you require at home, it is always worth talking to someone who does this for a living, as they have experience on their side.
One final thing that is worth considering is noise, generators are loud and if you don’t want to be disturbed, ask which ones are quietest. If none are particularly quiet, then a surround can always be purchased or made to help keep the noise down.
When it comes to getting a generator installed a good rule of thumb is, unless you are a certified electrician, leave it well alone.
You don’t want to put yourself in the position where you can hurt yourself, damage your new generator or your property. When you go in and buy your generator, chances are the salesman will offer the installation cost.
This also make it easier getting the generator home, as most standalone systems are very heavy, and some may even need to be trucked in.
Once you have bought the generator and the installation, you need to select a location. Chose somewhere recommended by the electrician and sales agent and organize putting a concrete pad down.
This is relatively inexpensive to do and if you are an avid DIY’ers you can get your hands dirty here to save some money.
Once your generator is installed, you are good to go for that year. But make sure you get the generator serviced annually in the fall, to make sure you are ready for winter.
Buying standalone generators really comes down to what you want and need in the event of a power outage, if you can answer that question than that is already half the battle won.
If you are unsure about anything, then it is worth going to a local store where you can talk your options through with someone who knows what they are doing.
Unless you are an electrician, make sure that you get it installed by a professional. Standalone generator installation is tough, and you don’t want to inflict any injury to yourself or damage your property.