The Ultimate Guide To Buying a Suitable Home Backup Generator
Why Do You Need a Home Backup Generator?
Backup power generators have become more prevalent in homes, especially those that use sensitive electronics, refrigerated medications, medical equipment, and other essential appliances. While many might consider them costly investments, they come with numerous benefits.
Peace of mind
You never have to deal with power outages and the inconveniences that come with them, like spoilt food or failed medical equipment.
A home backup generator protects you from losing or damaging sensitive appliances, tools, or equipment because of power spikes or surges. You also don't have to worry about loss of data that you would not have stored in your computer. Finally, it ensures that your home security system remains on, preventing any theft or break-in that would have happened during a power outage.
Gives you a place to shelter
Sometimes, during power outages, you might have to evacuate and find a safer place to stay. You don't have to worry about this with a home backup generator.
Different Home Backup Generator Solutions In The Market
These are small backup generators, mostly on wheels, making them easy to move. They are usually not connected to your home electrical system, so you must go outside to connect them.
They are usually cheaper than standby generators and primarily run on gasoline. That means they emit toxic emissions such as carbon monoxide, but you can look for one that runs on solar energy. Their small output makes them suitable only as temporary solutions or to power smaller appliances.
You must have enough storage for the generator, gasoline, and fuel stabilizer. Another downside is their loud operation, which makes them a nuisance.
These are the most common backup generators installed in many homes. They are large non-portable units permanently installed outside the house and directly connected to your home electrical system.
One of their main advantages is their size, which allows them to power the whole house. They usually automatically start immediately after the power goes out, making them more reliable.
You can also program them to power certain sections of the home or appliances. Some newer models have remote monitoring, which allows you to monitor their status via a smartphone app. Most standby generators use propane or diesel, but you can also get one that uses natural gas.
Another main advantage is that they can run continuously for days or weeks without refueling. They also operate quietly, and you don't have to worry about weather covers. One disadvantage that discourages many people from installing standby generators is their high purchasing and installation cost.
Types Of Power Supplies And How They Work
This is one of the cleanest energy sources as it does not produce a lot of harmful emissions. It is easy to connect if you already use natural gas to heat your home. However, installing it for use with a portable generator is not feasible if you don't already have it pre-installed.
Many people use natural gas because of its affordability and ease of use. Unlike gasoline, you don’t have to worry about buying and storing large amounts of fuel.
One of the main challenges is that natural gas connections are only available in some places. There are also high chances of your natural gas being cut in case of emergencies, routine maintenance, or natural disasters. Therefore, you should not have it as your only power source.
They also require a lot of maintenance compared to other power sources. That is because the generators have spark plugs that need regular replacement.
You can use propane with a portable or standby backup generator. One of the main advantages is its longevity, ease of storage, and cleaner nature compared to gasoline. Propane generators also run quieter than those running on other energy sources.
The main downside of using propane is the big pressurized storage tanks, which can be a fire hazard. Propane generators also have a complicated fuel system requiring specialized maintenance. They also have short life expectancies and high consumption rates, increasing their long-term costs.
Diesel is the least flammable fuel option, making it the safest. It is also easy to acquire because you can get it in gas stations and store it for up to 18-24 months. Diesel is affordable compared to other fuel sources, and the generators require minimum maintenance. That makes it a good option if you have a big home or many appliances.
Diesel generators have a simpler design, requiring less maintenance than other generator types. However, it is less effective in very cold temperatures, and diesel generators run louder than others.
This is the most accessible fuel type suitable for most generators that produce below 150 kW of power. It is, however, highly flammable and has a short shelf life of up to 12 months. It is also less suitable for cold weather areas compared to other fuel sources.
Finally, while it is easy to fund, it is expensive and can be hard to find during high-demand periods.
Solar energy is mainly used on portable generators because manufacturers can install solar panels on the generator. The panels convert sun energy into electrical power, then store it in a portable power station.
It is a clean power source and reduces your power grid dependency. It also saves money and space because you don't have to buy extra fuel.
This is an excellent supplemental energy source that will help you save on your primary fuel consumption. You can have a grid-connected system, a small energy system connected to the electricity distribution system. It is, however, complicated and expensive to install, making it only feasible if you have a huge home or an extensive generator system.
What To Consider When Choosing a Home Backup Generator
- Power requirements (wattage) - You must determine how much energy you want your generator to produce. That depends on the size of your home and your appliances.
- Size - This depends on your available storage space and desired power output. It also depends on how you plan to use it. If you plan to use your generator even in an RV or when camping, it is best to buy a smaller portable generator.
- Noise levels - Ask the experts to guide you on more silent generator types and fuel sources.
- Fuel sources - Your fuel type determines your generator's effectiveness, running cost, maintenance requirements, noise levels, and environmental friendliness.
- The number of outlets - Determine how many outlets you need to power all your loads. Most generators have three to six, but there are bigger ones that can have up to 20.
- Additional features - These include cooling fans, USB ports, automatic CO shutoff, fuel gauge, and low-oil shutoff.
- Cost - This depends on the generator type, size, fuel type, and brand.
- Warranty - Warranties differ from brand and manufacturer, but they are essential to ascertain their quality and durability.
Recommended Home Backup Generator
The portable solar home backup generator with a battery from Zendure is an affordable and environmentally-friendly generator. You can choose the Zendure SuperBase V Solar Generator, which has a power station and 400W solar panel. Alternatively, you can get the Zendure SuperBase M Solar Generator with a power station and 200W solar panel.
Their compact design and lightweight nature make them perfect for emergency backup and outdoor or RV life. You can use various charging methods like EV charging piles, satellite batteries, solar panels, grids, or car chargers. The recharging time depends on your solar generator's capacity and the solar panel input power.