Portable vs Standby: Comparing Home Generators
One of the most important investments you can make as a homeowners is a backup generator for when your power goes out. Your electricity can cut off for any number of reasons such as storms or a power surge. When it does you want to be ready. The most important question you can is what type of generator is best for your home. There are essentially two types of generators: portable and standby. Each have their own unique set of features and advantages. Below is a comparison from our Langhorne Electrician of the two types that will help you in your decision making.
Although it’s important to consider your budget when deciding upon a generator, there are other determining factors that should help guide you. For instance, smaller portable generators will run you between $500 and $1500. This is an affordable price range for the average homeowner. Portable generators are named so, because they can be stored anywhere, wheeled out rather quickly, and placed anywhere around the outside of your home. Most portable generators run on standard gasoline and are easy to fill up and crank.
Portable generators do have limited capacity. It is generally assumed that during a power outage that a portable generator will be used for 2-3 appliances at a time. For example, mid-sized generator which puts out about 5,000 to 8000 watts can run a refrigerator, sump pump, and several lights around the house. Cables are run directly from the appliance to the generators, so you’ll need long extension cords in order to accommodate the need. Even larger portable generators that power up to 10,000 watts cannot provide enough energy to run an entire home, so you’ll need to prioritize which items are the most important.
If you prefer a model that can handle powering up every item in your home with no interruption, then a standby generator is a better choice. Standby generators are named so, because they are firmly mounted on a cement block just outside of the home and are always ‘standing by’ to instantly power up your home once the power goes out. Rather than pulling out cables and attaching them to your appliances, standby generators feed directly into your electrical panel and act as a temporary main source. They have features that enable them to turn on without having to be manually powered.
Whereas a portable generator is loud enough to be heard several yards away, standby generators are much quieter. A low end generator usually puts out a minimum of 10,000 watts and can go all the way up to 15,000 watts. So it’s possible to generate enough electricity for nearly every item in your home with little effort. Standby generators are a much higher investment starting at around $10,000. But the payoff is much greater as you’ll never have to worry about providing enough power to keep your air conditioner or heater running, while all your major appliances, water heater, lights, and outlets still have enough juice to keep your daily operations in tact.
Maintenance and Care
Like anything else a generator will need ongoing maintenance. It’s a good idea to give a portable generator a good inspection with maintenance at least once every six months. This includes basic items such as oil change, air filter change, spark plugs changed if needed, and a gas cleaner. A Standby generator needs level one maintenance at least once every two years. This is best done by a professional who can give it the proper care that it requires. Preventative maintenance insures that your equipment will perform at peak levels when you need it the most. It also gives your generator longer life.
The bottom line in choosing the right generator is dependent upon your personal needs. Take into consideration what the absolute essentials are when your power goes out. Whatever helps you survive during either the hot summers or freezing winters when the power goes out, then this should help you get the right generator for your home or business.