Generators: A Guide to Finding the Best One for Your Needs

Generators are an effective solution for portable power or for backup electricity during a power outage. There are many types to choose from, each better suited to different uses and situations. Use this guide to find out which one is the best choice for you.

Main Generator Features to Consider

In order to choose the right model, consider how you intend to use it, how much power you need, and how long you need to use it for at a time. Let’s take a closer look at each factor.

  • Intended use: Generators come in either a portable or standby design, and the one you should choose will depend on whether you want to use it for your home, a job site, or for outdoor leisure activities like camping.
  • Power: The amount of wattage will determine how much you can power. For more power, choose a model with a higher wattage.
  • Runtime: The runtime is an estimation of how long a generator can operate. It is typically based on an average load, as you likely won’t be running at a full load at all times.
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Pro Tip

A licensed electrician can assist you in figuring out how much power you need. This will help ensure you select the right wattage and maximize the runtime.
Common Generator Applications

As mentioned above, there are generally three main uses for generators. Narrowing down your use will determine what type of generator is ideal for the situation.

  • In the home: A standby model is the best option for providing backup power in the home during a power outage, especially for elderly or vulnerable people.
  • For leisure: For activities like tailgating, RVing, boating, and camping, a portable one offers convenient, accessible, and reliable power where it otherwise might not be available.
  • On the job site: Depending on the needs of a specific job site, a standby model may be used to power important circuits while a portable one may be used to power electrical tools and lights.
Important Tips for Generator Safety

Generators can pose a safety risk if they are not properly started, operated, or maintained. To use it safely, you should always first read the owner’s manual and take note of any operating instructions and warnings.

Here are some additional safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Never operate it indoors, including inside the basement or garage.
  • Portable models should not be used near any open doors, windows, or vents, and should be kept at least 30 feet away from the exterior of your home.
  • Portable models should not be connected directly to your home’s wiring.
  • They should be kept out of the rain and only used in a dry area.
  • They need to be properly grounded in accordance with any applicable regulations.
  • Extension cords should have a wire gauge and be rated for heavy-duty, outdoor use.
  • Inspect it on a regular basis and replace parts, if needed, by visiting an authorized dealer.
  • Before refuelling it, make sure it is turned off and allow it to cool down.
  • Always keep children and pets away from it.
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Pro Tip

Improper generator use can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that you cannot see, taste, or smell. Make sure you follow all proper usage and safety instructions when operating it and ensure that your home has a working carbon monoxide detector installed as well.

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