The active hurricane season began in June and FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advise preparedness plans are essential to avoid being left in the dark should a hurricane or other natural disaster strike.
Essential to disaster preparedness is a generator to power a house, small business, farm or ranch. Generators come in a variety of starting watts and running watts, so what should you consider when you need a solution to not only keep food cold and well or sump pumps running, but also keeping the home cool enough in hot-weather conditions. Air conditioning needs are critical for the very young, the elderly, and the sick.
A-iPower, a manufacturer of portable generators, offers these tips for homeowners choosing a generator.
Enough Power: Choose a generator with enough wattage output to power the appliances you’ll need in an emergency. Look for continuous running watts rather than surge wattage ratings when determining the correct generator to buy.
The more watts your generator has, the more items you can power at the same time. To know how much you will need, calculate all the wattage requirements of all the items you may need to operate in case of an emergency. Typically, wattage is listed on the device, on the back or on the bottom. If not, a simple formula for determining watts is multiplying volts x amps. The total will tell you the model of generator you need.
One thing to remember is that some devices have starting wattage requirements that are larger than running watts, like the air-conditioner, which is the biggest power user. So to calculate the minimum number of watts you need, use the starting watts of the air conditioner plus the running watts for all other devices. This is the minimum wattage you will need from a generator.
For example, let’s say you have a generator with 4,500 starting watts and 3,500 running watts. A 10,000 btu central air conditioner will take about 3,000 (depending on model) starting watts. After it has powered up, it will run at about 1,500 watts. That leaves you 2,000 watts to power other items. So, if you plan to run more items that will exceed 2,000 watts, you will need a larger generator.
It’s a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room on the total watts needed and go for a model the next size up.
Run times: Check to see how long the run times are on a full tank of gas. The generator run time is found on the generator spec sheet and owner’s manual. Run time is determined at 50% load levels and the power used directly impacts the run time. The more power used, the shorter the run time and the sooner you will have to refuel.
Sufficient electrical outlets: A portable generator should have enough receptacles for the devices a homeowner wants to run. Models that include a multi-outlet cord offer greater convenience.
Always Be Safe
When using your generator, take time to observe the following important safety rules.
For more product information and where to buy, consumers can visit www.a-ipower.com