Generator FAQ

FAQ on Generators

With the number and severity of the storms the US has been hit with in the past few years, generators are becoming an important want. It allows those that work from home to continue working, for heat or AC to continue operating and for food not to spoil.

With the variety of generators out there, how do you know which type to buy? What are the types of generators in the first place and which is best suited for your needs? Read on to find out.

Which type of generator is best for my situation or need?

There are several types of generators which cater to different needs and situations. Below are some examples.

Cape Cod portable generator supplier•    Portable Residential Generators — Choose this type if you want to power a few essential items in your house in the case of a power outage. A portable residential generator can be used around the house to power lights, the refrigerator or pumps. It can also be used in the yard to power electrical tools. Generators of this type run on either gasoline, LPG, natural gas or all three.

•    Portable RV or Recreational Generators — Thanks to inverter technology, there are now portable RV generators which are designed to be quiet enough for small spaces and safe enough to work around computers. These recreational generators run on gasoline.

•    Standby Generators — Standby generators are designed to automatically power your home the moment power goes out. They usually have an automatic switch and start system.

•    Portable Construction and Industrial Generators — For heavy-duty industrial applications, high-cycle generators are needed. These units may either be single-phase gasoline or three-phase diesel models.

Which is better, stationary or portable generator?

The differences between stationary and portable include more than just size and function. They also need different storage areas, installation techniques and fuel demands.

•    Size – Portable generators are much smaller than stationary ones and thus require little storage space, if at all.

•    Storage – Stationary generators need to be housed in a permanent cabinet or shelter outside of the home to protect it from the elements. Portable generators, on the other hand, can be brought indoors when not in use and does not need a permanent outdoor storage area.

•    Power output – Portable generators can give power outputs of up to 20 kilowatts only; while stationary generators can provide as much as 48kW. Powering the refrigerator and the furnace, for example, would require more than a portable generator could supply.

•    Cost — A portable generator has lower upfront costs but may not last as long as a stationary one. Stationary generators are expensive but do last longer, are able to power more devices, come on automatically so you don’t have to go out in the middle of a hurricane or blizzard to hook up and start the portable generator, and may even be cheaper over time.

•    Installation – You can easily install a portable generator but not so with a stationary generator which will need an electrician to get it safely and properly connected to your circuit panel.

•    Fuel – Generators, both portable and stationary, run on different fuel types such as gasoline, diesel, propane (LPG) or natural gas.

What is the smallest size of generator I need?

Generac generator Cape Cod dealerTo determine the size of generator you need, calculate your total power requirements in terms of kW. List down all the items that you want to be powered by a generator and then compute the sum of the starting and running wattage of the items. The right generator size guarantees optimum performance, longevity, hassle-free maintenance and safety.

How is a generator connected to my house?

A standby generator is installed outdoors as a permanent fixture in such a way that it automatically kicks on the moment a blackout occurs. Stationary generators are connected directly to your home’s electrical panels and are powered by fuel. A portable generator, on the other hand, can be hooked up neatly to a switch or via extension cords which are messier.

How long can a generator run?

How long a generator runs on a full tank of gas depends on its capacity, the fuel tank size and the size of the load you place on it. You can check with the manufacturer for that information.
Standby or stationary generators can power homes for days while portable generators can run as long as 12 to 18 hours while operating at its continuous or rated power output.

Does a generator need to be serviced regularly?

Generator service schedules differ greatly from one manufacturer to the next. The following is a basic maintenance interval that you would do well to follow in order to lengthen the life of your generator unit.

Every year, do the following or have us do the following:

•    Clean the generator with towels and a degreaser and also check for leaks
•    Change oil after the first 5 hours and then every year thereafter
•    Change the oil filter during every oil change
•    Change the air filter
•    Change the spark plugs
•    Check the fuel filter
•    Check the battery

Every month, you need to do this:

•    Run the generator with a load
•    Add a fuel stabilizer if the unit will be stored for more than a month