To celebrate winter, which begins around noon EST on December 21, we’ve put together a short list of essentials every homeowner can use to survive the season with success:
- Portable generators
- Snow blower
- Outdoor and indoor heaters
- Ice melt
In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of the portable generator.
A generator’s primary function is to provide electrical energy. For homeowners, portable generators provide emergency power when the power to your house is interrupted, during ice storms, blizzards or an extreme natural disaster like a tornado, hurricane or flood. If you live at the end of the neighborhood power grid or in an area where the power is frequently intermittent, using a generator can help save your tech devices from any power surges, keep your pipes from freezing and food from spoiling – at least for short amount of time. People also use generators for recreational purposes, bringing one along while camping, RVing, tailgating or boating.
Generators can be engine-powered, meaning they burn gasoline, diesel or propane to generate electric power, or they can use an inverter that powers the generator from an automobile battery.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Generator
1. NOISE LEVEL. A running generator can make a lot of noise. It’s a good idea to check for any noise ordinances or restrictions in your area, especially at night. Most generators are labeled with a decibel rating. For every increase in 10 decibels, the noise level is 10 times more powerful. This means that a generator running at 70 decibels is 10 times as loud as a generator that runs at 60 decibels. However, some generators are built for quiet operation and are perfect for recreational use, so if you’re thinking about using a generator for tailgating, as well as, a source of emergency power, choose a quiet generator.
2. FUEL EFFICIENCY AND RUN TIME. Look for a generator that runs on the least amount of fuel for the longest amount of time.
3. QUALITY OF POWER. To avoid shut down or damage, consistent power output is much more preferable than any fluctuations in output, both for the generator and the appliances being powered. Inverter-type generators are ideal for sensitive electronics, such as computers. Also consider using a generator with voltage regulation that is automatic (AVR), digital (DAVR) or intelligent (iAVR). Runyon carries generators made by Honda with a patented CycloConverter technology that offers the benefits of an AVR-type generator, allowing cleaner power with less weight. Honda Super-Quiet EU generators use inverter technology.
4. SIZE AND EASE OF TRANSPORT. How do you plan on moving a generator and where will you store it? Many times, you’ll benefit from compact, lightweight generators that move easily on wheels.
Tips for Operation
- Read the owner’s manual before operating your generator.
- Always run your generator outside and keep house doors and windows closed.
- Allow for plenty of space around the generator for proper ventilation. Do not enclose in a box or other casing. Operate the generator under an open, canopy-like structure instead.
- Avoid using the generator in wet conditions, such as rain or snow, or near a pool or sprinkler system.
- Place the generator on a firm, level, dry surface.
- Never use stale or contaminated gasoline or an oil/gas mixture. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
- Use heavy-duty extension cords that are specifically designed for outdoor use with the generator.
- Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer.
- Run your generator at least once a month, so it’s ready for use when the power goes out.
- Be sure to refuel when the engine is off and the generator is in a well-ventilated area.
- Allow the generator to cool for 15 minutes before transporting or storing it.
- Store your generator upright in a well-ventilated area.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that portable generators can be very hazardous when installed or used improperly. Hazards may include damaged electrical systems, carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution and fire. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak in your home while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately. Do not delay, because carbon monoxide from generators can kill you in minutes. Consider installing battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up on every level of your home.
About the Author
Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.