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So you think you need a portable generator?
When your home loses electric service, possibly from a storm, and your family becomes irritable, it may be time to invest in a portable generator. They can provide electricity to operate a few lights and maybe the television or a small appliance or two. Just having a light for reading, a television to watch, or a small amount of warm food or drink can certainly reduce the increasing demand to move into a motel room.
A portable generator can help, but it cannot solve all of your electric needs. And before buying one for the next electrical outage, identifying your needs should be the top priority. You can do that by calculating the number of watts needed. Add up the wattage required to power the items you believe are essential. You will have to have a generator with more output than your total because of the initial surge when it begins operating. You may even want to consult an electrician to help determine your needed power use.
While it may be tempting to plan for your soon-to-be-purchased generator to power your furnace and air handling system, along with your refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer, along with a well pump, that is not a good idea. The generator may not have a steady output of electricity and heavy duty motors that power refrigeration equipment and furnace blowers can be damaged with the surging of a generator.
The most dependable type may be the ones that are wired directly into your home’s electrical system and installed by a qualified electrician with the help of a transfer switch. Such a switch disconnects your home from the electric grid while your generator is in use.
Your portable generator will not require such a switch because you will not be connecting it to your home’s electrical system. Instead you will use extension cords to power your lights and appliances while it remains outside where exhaust fumes can safely escape.