The Ultimate Buyers Guide For Home Generator

THE ULTIMATE BUYER’S GUIDE FOR HOME GENERATORS

Everything you need to know to help you choose the best generator to power your home

In today’s world, our homes have become our workspaces, schools, gyms, and even a place of sanctuary. The need to have a backup source for when the power goes out can not be overemphasized. We’ve all experienced at least one power outage. If you’ve ever had to clean out the freezer after a power outage or go to a neighbor’s for warmth, then you know just how invaluable a home generator can be.

In recent years, power outages have become more prevalent and problematic. The demand for home generators has been soaring tremendously and it’s no surprise at all. With rolling blackouts, severe weather conditions, infrastructure issues and other problems plaguing the electrical grid, Home owners are beginning to invest in the security and comfort that standby home generators provide.

Finding the ideal home generator can be a difficult task for individuals who are not familiar with them or how they operate. This comprehensive generator buying guide is designed to walk you through finding the perfect backup power solution for your home.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Buying a home generator. Below is a list of all the topics we will cover in this guide. Go ahead and click on any of these links, and you’ll be taken to that specific section

    “The salesperson clearly explained the different options available and we were able to get a quote immediately.” - Katina S.
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What you need to know about generators

It’s crucial to consider how and where you’ll use a generator before rushing out to get one. In private residences, with homeowners associations, in campgrounds, and on construction sites, there are often laws, rules, and limits governing their use. By making the appropriate choice, you’ll be able to operate the necessary machinery or appliances. Incorrect selection or use of the generator could, at best, cause damage to the connected equipment; at worst, it could be dangerous, providing a risk of fire, electrocution, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

HOW TO CHOOSE A GENERATOR AND WHAT SIZE DO YOU NEED

Making up your mind to purchase a home generator is just the first step out of many steps. Finding the ideal one for your needs can be a very tough one too. First, you have to decide which type of generator to buy. Important factors such as the type of gasoline to use, the size you require, and the features that are absolutely essential to you should also be considered.

The size of your home and the things you need to power will likely determine the type of generator you choose. Just the most essential appliances such as the refrigerator, heat, and water will require at least 5,000 to 7,500 watts in the typical home. You can actually survive a power outage with a portable home generator, but there are other alternatives that can power your entire house. If you’re looking for full power, you will want to invest in at least a 20,000-watt generator; this also goes for people with exceptionally large homes or families, which will use much more power than, say, a two- or three-person household.

To calculate what size generator you need to power your whole home, follow these 3 steps:

Step 1: Start by making a list of the most important circuits in your home. These include refrigerators and freezers, central air and furnace, sump pumps, well pumps, and medical equipment. 

Step 2: Determine the starting and running wattage of everything on your list. If you can’t find these numbers on the appliance label, you can use this:

Note: Starting wattage (sometimes known as “surge wattage”) is the amount of power required to start an appliance. The starting wattage of an appliance is usually 2-3 times larger than the “running” wattage, or how many watts it requires to operate continuously.

Step 3: The generator size is easy to pick once you know the approximate power required.Choose a generator with a capacity that is 10-20% more than your demand, whichever number you come up with. This will provide you some flexibility or room if you decide to upgrade your equipment and find that you require additional power as a consequence. It also aids in the management of “de-rating,” or the generator’s underperformance compared to its manufacturer’s declared capabilities owing to harsh operating circumstances such as high altitudes or severe temperatures.

Note: Always remember that a DIY wattage estimate is just that: a guess. To be safe, use a wattage calculatoror, better yet, have a professional electriciandetermine the precise wattage you require to assist you in selecting the appropriate generator size.

If you want to power pretty much everything in your house, your list should look something like this:

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that even while generators are undoubtedly an expensive investment, they will stand the test of time. Most home standby generators can run anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 hours. If you were to use it for 100 hours per year, that translates to 10 to 30 years.

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TYPES OF GENERATOR

There are three basic types of generators: whole house generators, portable generators and inverter generators.

  • Inverter generators are ideal for camping, boating and other recreational activities. They operate quieter than other generators and provide power for lights, heaters, fans, radios, smart phones and more. 
  • Whole house generators (standby generators) are the best generators for home use. They are designed to provide ample power for your appliances and HVAC systems. 
  • Portable generators are often used on job sites to power air compressors, nail guns, saws, hammer drills and other equipment. Most are loud, but there are quiet portable generators too.  

Home Standby Generator

Standby generators are always installed permanently outside your home. They usually start automatically when the power to your home goes out. They have devices that monitor the electricity provided by a utility and can actually power up all the equipment in a home within seconds of a power failure.

Some of the features of a standby generator:

  • Provides automatic emergency backup power within seconds of an outage. 
  • Whole house generators provide blackout protection seven days a week, 24-hours a day and are permanently installed. 
  • An existing fuel source, like liquid propane or natural gas, can be used to power the machine.
  • Depending on your needs, whole house generators can either power the entire house or only a few selected circuits that you have connected.  
  • When choosing the best generator for home backup, consider models with special features that run the unit more quietly or conduct weekly, self-diagnostic tests. 

Portable Generator

When a blackout begins, portable power generators, which are typically mounted on wheels, must be pushed outdoors and connected to your home’s electrical system. Sometimes portable generator are also called backup generators, and are used to provide temporary power when and where it is needed. The word “Portable” is a relative term; as some are more portable than others. While the smallest models can be picked up and carried, most have wheels and a handle to make transport easier. To load or transfer them, however, may require two individuals due to their weight of over 100 pounds. Direct plug-ins into regular outlets are available on the generator’s front panel for equipment like appliances and power tools. A twist-lock connector that can deliver up to 240 volts is also included in many models and can be used with a manual transfer switch to power circuits in a home.

Here are the approximate wattages of some common tools that can be powered by a portable generator:

  • Chain Saw: 1000-1800 
  • Circular Saw: 1200-1600 
  • Drill (depends on size): 250-1200 
  • String Trimmer: 600-1100 
  • Hedge Clippers: 300-1000 
  • Leaf Blower: 1000-1400 
  • Planer: 300-900 
  • Sanders: 250-1500 
  • Router: 100-1500 
  • Shop Vacuum: 700-1400 
  • Paint Sprayer: 500-1000 
  • Miter Saw: 500-1000 

Inverter Generator

Although inverter-type generators are frequently portable, we categorize them separately since their operation differs greatly and technically from that of the other two. They are known for their lower noise levels, they are also lightweight and easy to transport. Inverter generators deliver 120/240 volts of AC electricity, like the majority of generators do. They use an engine connected to an alternator to produce AC power and convert it to DC power. DC power can be stored, which makes an inverter one of the best types of generators for traveling in an RV, tailgating, camping or boating. 

Circuitry that functions as a filter, smooths out surges, and cleans up the sine wave (or oscillating wave) of the electrical current controls the conversion and inversion. The alternating current sine wave in most generators is distorted to variable degrees. The majority of electrical equipment don’t typically have this problem; the exceptions include delicate electronics like tablets, laptops, televisions, and other smart devices, which can be harmed by current distortion or surges. With “clean” power and constant voltage, these devices will survive longer. Inverter generators can be much more expensive as a result of the additional complexity.

Here are the approximate wattages for items commonly powered by an inverter generator:

  • Lights: 250 
  • Fan: 100 
  • Space Heater: 1500 
  • Hot Plate: 1200 
  • Crock Pot: 1200 
  • Television: 250 

PORTABLE GENERATORS VS STANDBY GENERATORS

The first choice to make is whether you need a smaller home standby generator or a portable generator. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Portable generators are more compact, less expensive, and don’t need professional installation. However, because standby generators are more simpler to operate, they are preferable for handling frequent power outages.

Asking yourself these questions can help you choose the right type for you.

  • How Do You Want to Use It? A portable generator is exactly what it says it is. You may bring it along for camping trips or tailgate parties, or you can use it to power your house in an emergency. Compared to a stationary generator, which is permanently fixed to your home, this gives it more flexibility.
  • How Much Power Do You Need? Portable generators don’t produce nearly as much electricity as standby ones do. The power output of a standby generator ranges from 5,000 to 20,000 watts, which is sufficient to run every equipment in your house. Comparatively, portable generators typically only produce between 3,000 and 8,000 watts. That will power a few essential appliances, like a refrigerator, several lights, a window air conditioner, and a gas furnace fan. However, they can’t keep your whole house running along as usual.
  • What’s Your Budget? The less expensive choice is a portable generator. Consumer Reports’ generator buying guide states that the majority of models range in price from $400 to $1,000. You can put up this kind of generator yourself, or you can pay an electrician a few hundred dollars to install a transfer switch, which makes it safer and simpler to use. A standby generator costs between $3,000 and $6,000, plus the expense of expert installation, according to Consumer Reports. In total, your costs could range from a few thousand to over ten thousand dollars.
  • How Much Do You Value Convenience? A standby generator doesn’t need any reconfiguration or adjustment. Once connected, it automatically turns on whenever the power goes out. Much more effort is required for portable generators. In order to make sure they are functioning properly, you must purchase and save fuel for them in advance and run them frequently once a month. Then, when a power outage occurs, you have to get the generator out, take it outside, connect it, and start it. You may need to dash back outside in the middle of a storm if the power loss lasts long enough. And finally, using a portable generator requires greater safety measures. It could cause a fire or bring dangerous fumes into your home if handled improperly.
  • Where Will You Store It? Finding a good location to keep a portable generator is key. It must be kept within to guard against theft and damage, but it must also be portable so that you may take it outside when you need it. Moreover, you need a good location to set it up when using it, preferably outside on flat ground that is shielded from the elements but is not too close to the home. A standby generator can remain operational year-round wherever it is installed. That saves you time, but it also consumes a significant amount of space throughout the year, not just during storms.
  • Do You Need Power While You’re Away? A standby generator has the benefit of turning on automatically when the power goes off, even if you are not home. That means you won’t have to worry about returning home to a flooded basement if a storm hits your house while you’re away on vacation because the pipes burst or the sump pump malfunctioned.

FUEL OPTIONS

Once you have chosen the type of emergency generator that you need, you must choose the fuel type it will run on. There are three types of fuel options:

Gasoline:

Gasoline is the most widely used fuel for a portable generator. The fuel’s ease of purchase at any gas station is by far its greatest benefit. However, it isn’t always accessible in times of need. If a power outage strikes your whole area, not just your house, gas stations won’t be able to use electricity to pump their gas.

This means that if you have a generator that runs on gasoline, you must always have a sufficient quantity of fuel on hand. But it’s not always simple to do that. Large quantities of gasoline stored on your property are prohibited by many local fire departments because they pose a fire risk. Family Handyman claims that the maximum is typically 25 gallons.

The Chainsaw Journal also claims that gasoline degrades with time. Gas with ethanol, which makes up the majority of today’s gas sold, often only lasts one month. Its lifespan can be extended to a year by adding a fuel stabiliser, but you’ll still need to replace your full supply every year.

Additionally, using gasoline can be inconvenient because you need to use a funnel to fill the generator from a can, and it emits unpleasant smells. The cost of running a gas generator is determined by the cost of gasoline in your location because gasoline prices vary greatly from place to place.

Propane

Propane is a fuel that is sold in tanks at big-box retailers like Home Depot and Walmart, and sometimes in supermarket and convenience stores. These fuels can be used to power both portable and standby generators. Propane isn’t always as simple to purchase as gasoline because, in many locations, you can’t just head to the closest gas station for it. It lasts practically forever, which is a bonus, and is safer to keep.

Compared to gasoline, propane burns cleaner. According to research from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, not only is there no offensive odor, but it also emits less CO2 for the same amount of heat.

Propane presently costs around $2 per gallon, which is less than the average gallon price for gasoline, according to the EIA. However, as this graph from the Alternative Fuels Data Center demonstrates, propane only generates around 73% as much energy as gas, making it more expensive to use. Portable generators that run on propane last longer and are less expensive to maintain than those that run on gasoline.

The fact that the tank can’t always maintain adequate pressure to keep the fuel flowing in extremely cold temperatures is a significant drawback of propane. According to Ehrhart Energy, residents in cold climates need to make sure to fill their propane tanks at least one-quarter full in order to avoid this issue.

Natural Gas

If you decide on a standby generator and your house is already heated with natural gas, you may connect the generator to your gas lines with ease. Although natural gas is typically less expensive than propane, its biggest benefit is ease. There is no requirement to purchase and store gasoline or to replenish the generator whenever it needs it. You always have a supply coming via the pipes.

However, using natural gas with portable generators is not an option and is not feasible if you don’t have access to it at home.

USEFUL FEATURES TO CONSIDER IN A GENERATOR

Depending on whether you want a residential generator only for intermittent emergency backup or one that can handle some or all of your power needs on a regular basis, you’ll definitely want to consider some good features and a particular type of home generator before writing that check. The features listed here are the most important to consider before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

  • Electric Start: Pull cords are typically used to start portable generators. However, some have a push-button battery starter that makes starting the vehicle easier. The battery can cost an additional $50 or more because it isn’t always included with the generator. 
  • Gauges: You can quickly see how much fuel is remaining in a portable generator’s tank thanks to a fuel gauge. It comes in handy when there are protracted power outages because you’ll probably need to recharge it multiple times. An hour meter, which records how many hours the device has ran, is another helpful metric. That lets you know when to change the oil or do other regular maintenance.
  • Low Oil Shutoff: By turning off the generator if the oil level falls too low, this feature guards against harm to the generator. Most stationary generators come with it as standard equipment, although many portable units also have it.
  • Automatic CO Shutoff: Carbon monoxide (CO) sensors are frequently included into more recent generators. If the CO concentration rises to a hazardous level, a switch is tripped, and the generator is turned off. Consumer Reports claims that Generac, Cat, and DeWalt generators all have this feature. Low-CO engines are available from several generator manufacturers, including Ryobi and Echo, to lower the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Multiple Outlets: If your generator isn’t hooked up to your household electrical panel with a transfer switch, you need one with multiple outlets so you can plug in several devices at once. Most portable generators have at least two electrical outlets, and some have four or more.
  • Dual-Fuel Use: Most portable generators only use gasoline or propane as fuel. The most adaptable types, referred to as dual-fuel generators, can use either fuel source. According to Portable Generator Grader, this feature raises the price of a generator by roughly $100. Tri-fuel generators are even available, but they are quite uncommon and may run on gasoline, propane, or natural gas.
  • Inverter Technology: Power surges can occur occasionally with most portable generators. Most appliances are unaffected by these, but delicate electrical devices may be harmed. By converting the generator’s alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), smoothing out any surges, and then back to AC, generators with built-in inverters get around this issue. Inverter generators are often more compact, lighter, fuel-efficient, and quieter than other portable generators, according to Honda. They do have a high price tag and a low production, though. Only 2,000 watts of power are generated by a standard $1,000 inverter generator.

DOES YOUR GENERATOR NEED TO BE GROUNDED?

To begin with, if you choose to have a standby generator permanently installed, you’ll need a professional to obtain the necessary permits and carry out the installation. And since all standby generators must adhere to local laws and/or the National Electric Code, they will be the ones to ground it.

In general, portable generators don’t need to be grounded if you’re using them to power appliances, tools, or other items by plugging them straight into the conventional ports on the front of the generator. Maybe, if the generator is used to supply electricity to certain residential circuits. Your local building authority should always be consulted regarding the operator’s manual, a licensed electrician, and/or township ordinances as some localities may have standards that are different from those set forth in the NEC (National Electric Code).

To operate electrical equipment safely, electrical circuits must be grounded. This ensures that any faulted or shorted current is directed to the ground, which is the actual, literal earth, rather than the user, who would then act as the conduit to “ground.” Generators can be grounded in one of two ways: neutrally bonded or neutrally floating. The term “neutral bonded” refers to the connection between the generator frame and the neutral wire. The neutral is not attached to the frame when there is a floating neutral. In the latter scenario, a grounding rod that has been driven into the ground should be connected to the ground terminal of the generator.

When used to power circuits in your home, generators with GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets need to be grounded by attaching the ground terminal to a ground rod that has been pushed into the ground. Three pole transfer switches are another name for neutral switching transfer switches.

HOW TO USE A GENERATOR

Owning a generator doesn’t simply guarantee you will be safe in a time of emergency. You must also understand how to use it. When a storm comes, you don’t want to be outside in the rain fumbling in the dark with gas cans and electricity cords to get the thing going.

To avoid this problem, you have to take the time, before a storm hits, to learn all about your generator – how to set it up, run it safely, and maintain it.

How to Start Your Generator

When the electricity goes off, a standby generator will automatically turn on if you have one.

On the other hand, starting a portable generator is much tougher. Electric Generators Direct provides a brief overview of the procedure, but your generator’s handbook should provide detailed instructions. Basically, you just need to

  1. Wheel the generator into its outdoor position.
  2. Check the oil and fuel levels. If it’s a gas-powered generator, fill up the fuel tank with fresh gasoline. Also, top off the oil if the level is low.
  3. Make sure there are no cords connected to the generator.
  4. Turn on the fuel valve, then the choke, then the ignition switch – in that order.
  5. Start the generator. If it has an electric start, simply push the button. Otherwise, pull the cord until you feel resistance, then let it go. It may take more than one pull to get it started.
  6. Let it run for a few minutes, then set the choke back to the open (or “run”) position.
  7. Connect the generator. If you’re using individual extension cords, simply plug them into the outlets on the generator. If you have a transfer switch, connect the generator power cord to the power inlet box in your house.

GENERATOR SAFETY

There is no need for additional safety measures when a standby generator is installed correctly.

In contrast, the three primary safety risks associated with portable generators are fire, electric shock, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Always adhere to the directions in the manual to the letter to avoid these risks. Here are some general safety recommendations to bear in mind:

  • Never Run the Generator Indoors: Always use the generator outside, in a well-ventilated area, to avoid CO poisoning. The amount of carbon monoxide that can build up in even a partially enclosed room, like an open garage door, is enough to be fatal. Keep the generator well away from any doors, windows, or vents that could let in fumes, and at least 20 feet away from the house.
  • Use a CO Detector: Install battery-operated CO detectors on every floor of your home if your generator doesn’t include an automatic CO detector to further lower the risk of CO poisoning. To ensure sure the batteries are functional, test them frequently. Get outside or close to an open door or window as soon as the CO alarm sounds.
  • Keep the Generator Dry: You risk electrocution if you use a generator in damp weather. Use an open, canopy-like structure to cover it if you must use it in the rain, such as a tarp raised on poles. A home center may also sell a ventilated generator tent that has been carefully made.
  • Use the Proper Power Cords: Ensure that you are properly connecting your appliances to the generator if you don’t have a transfer switch. Use heavy-duty extension cords made for outdoor use or plug them in directly. Make that the cord has a three-prong plug, is in good condition, and has no rips or tears. Additionally, be sure the extension cord’s amp or watt rating is at least equal to the combined wattage of all the appliances you are connecting to it.
  • Never Back-Feed: Back-feeding is the risky practice of plugging a generator straight into a power outlet in your house. You run the risk of damaging your electronic equipment or, worse, igniting an electrical fire because it bypasses the circuit board in your home. Back-feeding increases the risk of electrocution for both utility workers and nearby residents who utilize the same power transformer.
  • Avoid Overloading the Generator: Even if your generator is correctly connected, overloading it might still lead to overheating or generator failure. Keep an eye on how many appliances you’re operating at once to prevent this issue, and don’t use more electricity than the generator is capable of producing. According to Consumer Reports, the majority of transfer switches assist with this by showing the current consumption.
  • Cool It Down Before Refueling: Never attempt to refuel a generator while it’s running. If you spill gasoline on a hot engine, it could start a fire. Turn the generator off and give it time to cool down before adding gas. That also reduces your risk of burning yourself on the hot engine.
  • Store Fuel Safely: Use only the fuel that your generator specifies. In a cool, well-ventilated room, keep additional fuel in a safety can that has been authorized. Do not store extra fuel in or next to a fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in the garage, or in the living areas of your home. Instead, put it in a lockable storage space. To learn how much gasoline you can keep on your property and where it can go, speak with your neighborhood fire department.

HOW MUCH DOES A HOME GENERATOR COST?

Protector QS Standby Generator

GENERAC

$11,219.00 BUY NOW

PROS

Runs quietly

CONS

Very Expensive

The engine in this generator is liquid-cooled. Liquid-cooled engines are a great option for residential settings where you don’t want to disturb your neighbors because they manage temperature better and are often quieter than air-cooled variants. It can power the majority of households because it is a 22-kW type, but due to the wattage and cooling system, it is also rather pricey. If you’re prepared to put in the work, a liquid-cooling system could save your life during a summer power outage even if it could take more maintenance than an air-cooled one.

Power Protect Standby Generator

BRIGGS & STRATTON

$4,299.00 BUY NOW

PROS

More Affordable

CONS

Can only power a small home

This little man can’t power a complete house because its output is barely 12,000 watts. On the other hand, a little one can squeeze in the necessities. If you need a power backup for a few needs but cringe at the notion of spending more than $4,000, this generator is a perfect choice. The five-year guarantee, which covers parts, labour, and travel, does mean that it is still an investment, but it does. Additionally, it does automatic weekly power checks at a low RPM to make sure it will function properly without consuming more gasoline than necessary.

7043 Home Standby Generator

GENERAC

$5,499.00 BUY NOW

PROS

Can run entire house

CONS

Expensive

This generator ensures that all of your needs are addressed in circumstances where waiting for the electricity to come back on could pose a particular hazard. It has a five-year guarantee and Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing you to always check the generator’s status and giving you piece of mind throughout storm season. Since the Generac 22-kW is made to power your complete home, you will have access to all of your usual comforts while you wait for your regular power to resume. For families with children who are still learning at home or for parents who may not have the luxury of going to work or school when the electricity goes out, this is an especially wise investment.

PowerPact 7,500-Watt (LP), 6,000-Watt (NG) Standby Generator

GENERAC

$2,049.00 BUY NOW

PROS

Affordable

CONS

Not a lot of wattage

Although this generator costs less than $2,000, it is more than capable of keeping your home’s interior at a comfortable temperature and preventing the contents of your refrigerator from deteriorating. It is considerably quieter than a portable generator and can supply electricity to up to eight circuits in your home. It is weatherproof thanks to the sturdy aluminium shell that surrounds it. It also has a three-year warranty in case any problems do occur. The generator also has three detachable sides that enable simple access in the event that repair is necessary.

GP6500 CoSense Portable Generator

GENERAC

$899.00 MSRP BUY NOW

PROS

Plenty of starting watts    
Carbon monoxide shutoff

CONS

Heaviest on the test

Generac’s GP6500 CoSense, the largest generator we examined, has a sizable starting capacity of 8,125 watts. This indicates that the generator is capable of handling initial loads from large appliances or tools that may be two to three times their running wattage. This type of larger-capacity generator comes in handy when power disruptions occur. The generator can be directly connected to the home’s crucial circuits with a manual transfer switch rather than using extension cords for each appliance. This device might potentially provide electricity to huge RVs with high power requirements and construction sites.

5,500 Dual Fuel Portable Generator

CHAMPION

$1,050 BUY NOW

PROS

Runs on gas or propane

CONS

No Fuel Guage

With Champion’s 5500 Dual Fuel generator, you can select your fuel or use what is available in an emergency. There are a few advantages to choosing between gasoline and propane, particularly when utilising a generator to provide backup power during or after storms. Contrary to gasoline, propane is extremely stable and won’t clog carburetors or other parts when kept in storage for extended periods of time or throughout storm seasons. Furthermore, you might not experience gasoline shortages after local storms that knock out power grids for days. We found it to be quite easy to swap from gasoline and propane, and the 5500 started just as well on either fuel. The beginning and running wattage will be slightly lower because propane doesn’t have as much energy as gasoline. We tested the 5500 and found that it operates slightly more quietly on propane, with 78.2 decibels under load at 25 feet compared to 81.5 decibels on gas. One thing to keep in mind while using propane: the propane switch on the fuel selection panel turns off both the flow of propane and the generator, as opposed to the main power switch on the panel, which only turns off the unit. By doing this, it is impossible to leave the propane on while the generator is off.

iQ3500 3500-Watt Inverter Generator

GENERAC

$976.81 BUY NOW

PROS

Metal enclosure

CONS

No wheels

The IQ3500’s metal doors and enclosure, along with its two strong handles, give off the impression that it is a robust, well-made device. We were grateful for the push-button electric start’s convenience. We put our 15-amp table saw, two 120-volt loads, and a 10-amp portable air conditioner to the test. The sine wave of the current had symmetrical waves that were constant as the saw was being turned on and off. Although the absence of a gasoline gauge on the tank initially disappointed us, the LCD screen made it simple for us to keep track of performance, fuel level, and run time. A fantastic portable generator for job sites and emergency home backup is the IQ3500.

4,650-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

CHAMPION

$1,049.00 BUY NOW

PROS

Uses gas or propane

CONS

Needs adapter to use with a transfer switch

Starting with the option to run on either gas or propane, Champion crammed a lot of value into one product. When we turned on the saw or planer while watching the current, we noticed a symmetrical sine wave. THD remained at 0% even though it briefly spiked to 3.7 when we turned on the saw. This generator has a 30-amp RV-style plug that can power a midsize camper, and although though it lacks a 240-volt outlet, it can be useful in case of a home emergency.

HOW WE TESTED AND SELECTED THESE GENERATORS

Performance

Our skilled experts load up each model of generator with a range of necessities such as a space heater, refrigerator, or window air conditioner in order to test each one for performance. We test the generator to make sure it can support the load it claims to be able to manage. We also evaluate what will happen in the event of a rapid spike in voltage, such as what would occur if the compressor in your refrigerator turned on while the generator was already nearly at capacity. The greatest models deal with that without complaining, but others struggle or even stop. We also consider a generator’s portability, ease of operation, fuel efficiency, and the amount of time it can operate on a single tank.

Safety

We put each generator through a series of tests meant to simulate the various ways a user may unintentionally abuse a generator. When a generator is running, we measure the levels of carbon monoxide (CO) throughout the vessel using calibrated CO sensors. We also note how soon each generator shuts down when the levels reach potentially hazardous levels.

MAINTENANCE OF A GENERATOR

You must properly maintain your generator if you want it to be ready to use when the power grid fails. Taking care of your generator should be covered in depth in the manual, however there are several fundamental precautions that everyone should do.

  • Have Enough Fuel: For a generator to run continuously for 24 hours, 12 to 20 gallons of gasoline are required.  That equates to roughly 16 to 28 gallons of propane because propane has a gallon energy content that is 0.73 times greater than that of gasoline. You probably don’t need to operate your generator constantly, though. It might just need to be turned on once every few hours to keep your freezer and fridge running. Food will normally stay cold in an unopened refrigerator for about four hours and in an unopened, fully-stocked freezer for about two days, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Propane can be kept for an endless period of time, but gasoline must be brand-new for the generator to function properly. Experts advise adding a fuel stabiliser, which extends the shelf life of gasoline in cans by up to a year. Additionally, by doing this, you can avoid draining the generator’s fuel tank after use.
  • Check the Oil: Before you turn on your generator, ensure sure it has enough oil to prevent damage. But take care not to fill it up too much. Just enough oil should be added to reach the full mark on the dipstick.
  • Change the Oil: After five hours of operation the first time you use your generator, change the oil. Then, it ought to be able to go for roughly 100 hours without an oil change. You may find out what kind of oil to use by consulting your owner’s manual.
  • Check the Filters: Check the filters after each use of the generator. Change the paper filters if they are clearly dirty. Or clean foam ones that have been washed. As instructed in the handbook, let them dry before lubricating them with foam filter oil. If the fuel tank of your generator has a filter cup, clean it by tapping out any debris and cleaning it with a clean rag. Finally, the fuel pipe of certain generators has a gasoline filter fitted. To learn when and how to modify this filter, consult the manual.
  • Check the Spark Plug: Spark plugs for generators typically need to be changed after a specific number of operating hours; this information should be provided in the manual. If your generator doesn’t have an hour indicator, keep track of how many hours it has ran so you’ll know when to replace it.
  • Run It Dry: Before putting your generator away, drain the gasoline lines if you anticipate leaving it idle for at least two weeks. Turn off the gasoline valve while the engine is running and let it run out to do this. This keeps the lines and carburetor clean and stops leaks by clearing the fuel from them.
  • Run It Regularly: Start your generator once a month and let it run for roughly 20 minutes. In addition to lubricating the engine and recharging the battery, it burns off moisture. Consider performing a test run with the generator connected to the transfer switch every few months to make sure it can power all you require.
  • Store It Properly: Never store your generator outside after using it. Instead, keep it inside a garage or shed where it will be sheltered from the elements.

WHY DOES AIRPLUS CHOOSE GENERAC GENERATORS?

Generac adheres to a vertically integrated philosophy, customers can get a generator system designed, manufactured and supported by a single source. All parts of the production and testing process are controlled by Generac. The results? Shorter lead times and high quality standards. With alternators, enclosures, control systems, fuel tanks, communications software and engines all engineered to do one thing: provide power that a facility needs to achieve its mission. This approach ensures generator systems meet the highest reliability and performance standards. Email or call us at (703) 634-5400 to arrange a free on-site estimate!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What size home generator do I need?

A minimum of 5,000 to 7,500 watts are required to power the essential electrical requirements of the typical American home. Because of this, standby generators typically offer between 9kW and 20kW. Power capacities for typical whole-house generators start around 22,000 watts and increase from there, typically peaking at close to 50,000 watts.

Why buy a home generator from AirPlus?

The AirPlus Heating, Cooling & Electrical team is well known for providing excellent service, doing each job right the first time, on time and within budget. Thousands of satisfied customers in the region have come to see that our work is clean, precise and of course, guaranteed.

How do you install a home generator?

Installing your own standby generator is not your run-of-the-mill DIY project. Unlike changing the oil filter in your car or tiling the spare bathroom, home generator installation includes electrical wiring, plumbing and natural gas components. Contact Airplus to book an appointment.

Does a home generator need annual maintenance?

Generator maintenance is a vital part of owning one. Even if your system has not been used at all for a year, it is going to need servicing. Without regular maintenance, a generator will at the very least not function properly at the time it is needed most.

Does a home generator need annual maintenance?

If you own a standby generator, consider signing an annual maintenance contract with a certified service provider to make the most of your investment. With regular preventative maintenance, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your standby generator.

Why does AirPlus choose Generac generators?

Because Generac adheres to a vertically integrated philosophy, customers can get a generator system designed, manufactured and supported by a single source. All parts of the production and testing process are controlled by Generac.

What are some of the other popular home generator brands?

AirPlus offers free in-home assessments so that you will know the exact cost of your home generator installation upfront. AirPlus will listen to your generator.

How long does a home generator last?

On average, a standby generator can run for up to 3,000 hours powering a medium-sized home, though it is recommended you do not run a generator for longer than 500 hours continuously.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What size home generator do I need?

A minimum of 5,000 to 7,500 watts are required to power the essential electrical requirements of the typical American home. Because of this, standby generators typically offer between 9kW and 20kW. Power capacities for typical whole-house generators start around 22,000 watts and increase from there, typically peaking at close to 50,000 watts.

Why buy a home generator from AirPlus?

The AirPlus Heating, Cooling & Electrical team is well known for providing excellent service, doing each job right the first time, on time and within budget. Thousands of satisfied customers in the region have come to see that our work is clean, precise and of course, guaranteed.

How do you install a home generator?

Installing your own standby generator is not your run-of-the-mill DIY project. Unlike changing the oil filter in your car or tiling the spare bathroom, home generator installation includes electrical wiring, plumbing and natural gas components. Contact Airplus to book an appointment.

Does a home generator need annual maintenance?

Generator maintenance is a vital part of owning one. Even if your system has not been used at all for a year, it is going to need servicing. Without regular maintenance, a generator will at the very least not function properly at the time it is needed most.

Does a home generator need annual maintenance?

If you own a standby generator, consider signing an annual maintenance contract with a certified service provider to make the most of your investment. With regular preventative maintenance, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your standby generator.

Why does AirPlus choose Generac generators?

Because Generac adheres to a vertically integrated philosophy, customers can get a generator system designed, manufactured and supported by a single source. All parts of the production and testing process are controlled by Generac.

What are some of the other popular home generator brands?

AirPlus offers free in-home assessments so that you will know the exact cost of your home generator installation upfront. AirPlus will listen to your generator.

How long does a home generator last?

On average, a standby generator can run for up to 3,000 hours powering a medium-sized home, though it is recommended you do not run a generator for longer than 500 hours continuously.

Contact Airplus Today

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Our team is here to answer your questions. Contact us today at (571) 470-7235 or complete the form below.

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