This is an addition to the post of surviving storms that I wrote yesterday. I want to extend your reliance to longer than the night of the storm, and at the same time, making your storm night a little better than otherwise. Only work on this after you have considered your storm bag. A while back I discussed about my choice of an inverter or backup battery bank for my first choice of emergency power. My main reason for this was portability, silence, and cost. This post is not about that, however. It is about how to choose a generator and choosing the right generator for your use.
First thing that everyone should think about is the loads in their electrical system that they would want to power from this generator. A battery bank can be expanded on, but a generator is the size that it is. There is very little that you can do about this. So, we decide what we will run from it, how much we can spend, and the quality of the generator.
I have researched the prices of multiple generators and it seems to relatively independent of generator size. Meaning, Generators are basically from 7-10 dollars per Watt. With this in mind, you can spend a little more time to find the generator you want within your budget, knowing that if you don’t go where they are marked up to rediculous prices, you will get at least a comparable price on one. I have also noticed a marked reduction in price for portable generators over standby generators (permanantly installed). There is just a very minimal amount of work on your part with starting and connecting.
What do you plan on powering? I have attached a chart that shows the general draw for a generator. You need to know the largest starting power you will have, and the largest continuous wattage you will be using. This will determine the size of generator needed. Most generators will say something like “2000/3000” watt. This means 2000 watts continuous and 3000 watts starting. A typical home will use a 5000 watt generator for most loads. You CAN run almost everything, if done correctly, on just a 2500 watt generator. And then later, you can buy another 2500 watt generator. Now you have built in redundancy if one fails. Remember, Jack says, “2 is one, one is none.”
Keep your loading to a minimum!!! Remember what I said yesterday and in my battery posts about reducing loading with good thinking. Low watt LED lights. Refrigerators can typically be turned on for just a few hours at a time, and as long as they are kept closed, they will keep foods fairly well all day.
Next thing to consider on your purchase is quality. Get yourself a quality generator. DON’T BE CHEAP, be frugal. Get the most quality for your money.
Hope you enjoyed this post.
Tools or Appliances Running Watts -Surge Watts
Cell Phone Battery Charger 10 -0
Christmas Lights (50-string, small) (RV/Camping/Tailgate) 20- 0
Laptop Computer (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 75- 0
PDA, iPod, iPhone, Blackberry, Cell Phones 80 -0
13-Inch TV (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 100- 0
Outdoor Buglight (RV/Camping/Tailgate) 100- 0
AM/FM Radio / CD Player 100- 0
20-Inch Box Fan 200- 0
Video Game Console 200- 0
Crockpot (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 250- 0
Desktop Computer 300- 0
TV/DVD Combo (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 300- 0
Refrigerator – Dorm Size (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 350 -500
Food Processor/Blender (RV/ Camping/Tailgate) 350- 500
Small Power Tools; Electric Drill 3/8-inch, jig saw…) 440- 600
Color TV 27-Inch 500- 0
Frying Pan / Skillet (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 600- 0
Refrigerator / Freezer 600- 2200
Microwave Oven 750W 750- 800
Single Element Hot Plate (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 750- 0
Washing Machine 750- 2300
Coffee Maker (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 800- 0
Sump Pump 800- 1400
Toaster – 2 Slot (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 850- 0
Furnace Fan Blower ½ HP 875 -2300
Griddle/Deep Fryer (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 1200- 0
Toaster (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate) 1250- 0
RV Low Profile Air Conditioner, 13,500 BTU – Heating 1600 -2300
Circular Saw 1500- 3000
Space Heater 1800- 0
Electric Range 2100 -0
Electric Water Heater 4000- 0
If you have items that are not on the list, check the appliance, the product manual, or the manufacturer’s Web site for the device’s
continuous and surge wattage. If amps are noted on the device, you can calculate watts by multiplying amps times the voltage. For
example, a 7 amp device on 120v AC current would equal 840 watts (7 x 120 = 840).
As I write tips for your adventures and hear about cool gear, I will let you know all about it!