In 2017, 105 people died as a result of a hurricane. It left $200 billion dollars worth of damages to fix.
It was the 17th worst season of hurricanes since 1900. As a result of Hurricane Maria, half of Puerto Rico is still without power. That was only one hurricane and it has devastated an entire nation.
Since our storms seem to be getting stronger and more frequent, it makes sense for a homeowner to look into buying a generator. But since most of us aren’t experts in generators, we’ve developed this guide to help you out.
Here’s how to find the best generator for home use.
The Best Generator For Home Use: Portable, Standby, and Solar Generators
There are three types of generators to consider when looking for the best generator for home use. Portable, standby, and solar. Let’s go over them individually.
A portable generator is a great choice when looking for the best generator for home use. It’s the most basic type of generator available.
You can set one up in your yard. When the power goes out, you’ll have to plug in extension cords to plug into your appliances.
It’s the most inexpensive solution. Otherwise, you can hire an electrician to install a subpanel.
If you choose to do it yourself, you’ll need to buy extension cords that can go anywhere you want power. You’re also limited to plugging in anywhere between two and four appliances at once as most only have a limited number of outlets.
It’s also important to note that when the power goes out, you’ll have to start up the gas-powered generator yourself. Then you’ll have to maintain it.
When the power goes out, place your generator on a flat surface outside. It needs to be a minimum of 10 feet away from your home. Never, ever place it inside your home to use.
Don’t place it under awnings, carports, or canopies. Keep the generator away from any doors or windows.
A portable generator costs between $500 and $1,500 depending on the power output.
As for standby generators, they’re powered by natural gas or propane that is connected to your home’s fuel supply. They also start automatically during power outages.
Many consider this the best generator for home use if you frequently lose electricity and/or if you want to keep all or most of your appliances running.
Most standby generators are powerful enough to run central air conditioning. They can also run larger kitchen appliances.
Standby generators are quieter than portable ones. You also won’t need to store gas or run any cords.
You will need to have the generator, transfer switch, and subpanel installed professionally. The transfer switch constantly monitors your power so that if you’re not home and the power goes out, it will automatically start working. It also shuts off once the power is restored.
Prices begin around $5,000 for a 7,000-watt unit, but that includes installation.
Solar Powered Generators
There are also generators that are solar powered. They can provide a significant amount of power. A larger generator can keep large appliances running for up to 24 hours on a single charge.
It takes six hours to charge fully with solar panels and 18 hours if you use an AC plug. Solar powered generators emit no emissions and are safe for indoor use.
How to Determine Which Size You Need
Before you can determine which is the best generator for home use, you have some homework to do. You’ll need to determine which size you’ll need first.
Take a walk through your home and make a list of every electrical item you’ll need should the power go out. Look for a label on each appliance on your list that contains information about the wattage, model number, and the year it was manufactured.
Many labels are just inside the door on appliances. Some are on the back and some of them are underneath.
Write down the item and how much wattage it uses. Make sure to include all essential items you need to power. This includes your refrigerator, freezer, and stove.
Don’t forget to add in your sump pump or well pump, if you have them. You’ll prevent unnecessary flooding that way.
While it would be great to add your stove or air conditioner to the list, there are two things to consider first. Number one, most of the time you can survive for a few days without an oven or air conditioning.
Number two, both of these appliances use a lot of electricity. If you must have them working, consider buying a larger generator.
Once you have everything listed and the correct information, add all the wattage’s together. Once you have that number multiply it by 1.5. That’s the minimum wattage you’ll need for your generator.
Do Some Comparison Shopping for the Best Generator for Home Use
Before you buy the best generator for home use, make sure you find one that can handle the proper wattage, fits your budget and will work for your requirements.
If you’re young and fully mobile, it makes sense to save some money and handle it yourself. If you have health or mobility issues, it’s best to invest in a generator that automatically stays on.
Read the reviews on the various different models before you make your decision. You’ll often find that someone else in a similar situation has already done your homework for you.
Also, do a comparison between a few different models. It will give you a better sense of which one will best fit your needs.
Our buying guide has already done much of the work for you. We listed our five favorite portable generator models and included what we love about them and what we don’t.
Don’t wait until another storms hits and leaves you stranded. Keep your family and you safe this year.
View our guide to learn more about which is the best generator for home use.