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Choosing a Home Backup Generator

Home backup generators were not as important even a few years ago. Blackouts were few and far in between. When a blackout occurred, they didn’t last too long. But a few years ago, people didn’t rely on their laptops or their wifi as much as we do today. The fact of the matter is, our lives depend on electricity, which we take for granted. This increased reliance on keeping our homes lit and powered means backup generators are more important than ever. And when blackouts occur, they are usually during some natural crisis, like a thunderstorm. You can bet people will need to be able to not only see, but keep updated on news coverage. You can’t do that without electricity, particularly if it’s a bad storm. My point is we need backup generators now more than ever. That being said, let’s have a look at the different types of generators available to us.

Types of generators

Home generators are either portable or stationary (standby). Either type runs on a selection of fuels, including gasoline, natural gas, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas.

Portable gas generators are cheaper than their standby counterparts, but due to their size can load capacity, will not power your entire home. A portable generator in the 4000-5000W range can cost anywhere from $350 to $500. A well-chosen gas generator can power the absolute basics of your home, including the refrigerator. However, you will need a few extra-long extension cords to power your appliances. This can get unorganized and exhausting really quick. And that crisscrossing of wires can mean a trip to the hospital during a blackout. Not good.

We recommend a standby generator since it would be connected directly to the home as well as the fuel source. Standby generators run as long as the fuel source is available and since it doesn’t require refueling from you, it can effectively run forever. In addition to that, stationary power generators are designed to start automatically. These generators come equipped with automatic transfer switches, which sense blackouts and send power to your home circuits. When the blackout ends, the switch shuts itself off.


When choosing a generator, you definitely need to look at wattage. Your generator should produce a greater wattage than that of all the appliances you plan to power. Calculate how much wattage each appliance draws and add. Keep the total in mind because you’ll need to know how big a cushion you’ll need later. What’s a cushion? It’s a metaphor for how much extra wattage you’ll want your generator to produce in case of a power surge. Think of a cushion as a buffer zone.

Every home backup generator will feature an extra surge capacity for surges. These surges are referred to as surge wattage or startup wattage. Every appliance sucks in more power than it needs to run when it’s switched on. Take that in account when buying your home backup generator. Powering everything in your home might require 20 to 30 kilowatts of power, but for the bare bone essentials, a 5000 watt generator should do.

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