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01/22/18 How to Select a Portable Generator for Post-storm Cleanup

Article - January, 22 2018 By

6,000 Watt Generator - Water Cooled Diesel Engine - 30' Telescoping Tower - 4 150W LED Fixtures

How to Select a Portable Generator for Post-storm Cleanup

From Texas to Puerto Rico, numerous locations worldwide have been rocked by devastating hurricanes, floods and tropical storms this year. When such catastrophes hit, one of the first things to usually go is electricity – the lifeline of electronic devices, lights and basic household appliances.

Purchasing a portable generator is one of the best ways to prepare for power outage caused by crippling weather. Having one on standby can help you and your family bounce back quickly after a storm.

Stay updated on your smartphone, power lights after dark, keep your food reserves fresh – these are just a handful of benefits that come with owning a temporary generator.

Read on to learn how to buy a portable generator for your home and post-storm cleanup operations. Note that this solution is very different from a permanent standby generator, which is normally installed by a licensed professional, along with the location’s electrical system.

Evaluating Power Consumption

The first aspect of choosing a portable generator is determining the size you need. The generator you select must be capable of handling the devices or appliances you connect to it. To determine the size of the generator you need, start by making a list of electronics that you intend to keep running with the generator.

Assess the amount of current each device consumes (watts) and create a generous buffer on top of the figure for any unforeseen appliances. A 10-20 percent wattage buffer is sufficient for most households. If you live in hot-temperature regions, you may consider using a generator to power a temporary cooling system.

Next, purchase a unit that can handle the wattage that was calculated in the final tally with the buffer for additional loading. Using a properly sized generator can help ensure large appliances connected to the unit, such as refrigerators and water pumps, can start (surge watts) and perform consistently without damage. Such risks could occur when attempting to power large appliances with a small generator.

To get a better idea of how far certain generator sizes can get you, here’s a general overview of generator capacities, in relation to common household appliances and electronics:

• 3,000W – 4,000W: TV, basement pump, lights, medium-sized refrigerator

• 5,000W – 9,000W: Everything above plus the following- heater, laptop, another pump

• 10,000W and Above: Everything above plus the following- AC unit, stove range, dryer

Considerations for Post-storm Cleanup

For post-storm clean up, the initial assessment process is the same. One needs to first assess the power requirements of the equipment, such as portable drop lights, saws, sprayers, light towers, drills, wood cutters and etc. Large operations with multiple, ongoing projects could benefit from a unit that is mounted on a cart or wheeled platform. Furthermore, the type of cord used to connect the equipment to the generator should be weatherproof.

Note: As a safety precaution, never operate a portable generator in a closed environment. Always maintain a minimum distance of 10 feet when the unit is running in an open-air location to avoid inhaling hazardous fumes.

Electric Start and Low Oil Shutdown

Not all portable generators are created equal. Some units come with useful features that can help you get up and running faster, resulting in streamlined post-storm cleanup. Most modern generators and large-capacity units come with electric starters. This is exponentially more convenient than using a manual starter rope, allowing you to save your energy for the day’s tasks.

Low oil shutdown is another feature that can make a portable generator more reliable. This component actively monitors oil levels. When levels start to dip below what is required by the unit, causing a loss in engine lubrication, it will automatically turn off. If you plan to leave a generator running unattended, for long periods of time, this feature is crucial.

When is the Best time to Buy a Portable Generator?

The best time to buy a portable generator is now – months or weeks before the next major storm hits your area. With stores and local hardware shops fully stocked, you’ll have a wider selection of available units to choose from.

To get started in your purchase for a temporary generator, head over to the Larson Electronics website.

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