What to Consider When Looking for In-Home Generators: A Buyer’s Essential Checklist

Home Generator Atlanta, GA

Understanding your power requirements and the importance of surge capacity will help you choose the right size generator for your home.  Let’s read what you should consider when looking for in-home generators!

Calculating Power Requirements

Start by listing all the essential appliances in your home, along with their power consumption in watts. Don’t forget your fridge, sump pump, lights, etc. Add the watts together as if they are all running concurrently to understand the power you need in a generator. 

For example: 

  • Refrigerator: 600 watts
  • Sump pump: 800 watts
  • Lights (per bulb): 60 watts

Total Wattage: 600 + 800 + (60 x number of bulbs)

Surge Capacity and Essential Appliances

Surge wattage is when some appliances use more power to start up and then die down a bit. Your generator needs to be able to handle the initial surge, which is common for things like air conditioners and refrigerators. 

Typically, you’ll find that surge wattage is several times the running watts. If your fridge is typically 600 watts, a surge starting wattage would likely be around 1800 watts. 

If you don’t want to spend extra money on a larger generator when you may not need it, calculate the maximum surge wattage by the appliances and add it to the total running wattage for them all. 

You’ll then want to find a generator to handle that surge capacity. Don’t undersize it, as that may backfire and leave you powerless. 

If you pick a generator with a bit more capacity than you need, this can help give you some wiggle room, just in case. Look at the power needs and requirements and ensure you don’t cause damage by under-powering during an outage. 

Generator Installation and Safety

Professional installation is key when considering a home generator. This is because trusting in professionals is the best for safety and hazard-free operation. Maintenance and upkeep are also super important to help your generator last as long as possible. 

Professional Installation Essentials

Find a certified electrician to handle the electrical panel and automatic transfer switches. These must be installed correctly, as they change your power source from the grid to the generator during a power outage. 

Costs to install will vary, but it’s an investment that you need to be ready to pay for in terms of convenience and safety. Here is a simple checklist to go over with any potential installation company: 

  • Certification: Ensure the company or installer is certified and experienced.
  • Location: Find a location that is flood-proof and meets local regulations
  • Clearance: Make sure there is space for maintenance and ventilation around the unit.

Carbon Monoxide and Safety Precautions

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious risk when installing generators. Prevent this silent danger by:

  • Ventilation: Always place your generator outdoors, a safe distance from windows, doors, and vents.
  • CO Detectors: Install CO detectors in your home as a safety measure.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Regular maintenance is needed to help your generator last for as long as possible: 

  • Inspection: Check fuel lines, filters, and electrical connections.
  • Testing: Regularly run the generator to make sure that it’s working properly
  • Professional Service: Schedule service checks by a professional to make sure all is working

Noise Level and Residential Compatibility

Noise level is a major factor to consider, especially in residential areas. Look for generators with sound-attenuating enclosures to ensure quieter operation. 

Residential generators generally have enclosures to comply with local noise regulations, but it’s still good to ask to be sure. 

Convenience Add-ons and Upgrade Options

Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) can be an add-on to avoid the maintenance hassle of a clogged carburetor. Manual transfer switches for a seamless power transition during outages make getting your generator up and running easier than ever.

Look for generators with ample power and the necessary extension cords to run heavy appliances. 

FAQ about purchasing an in-home Generator

What factors should be considered when choosing a generator for home backup power?

Consider the fuel type, wattage capacity, transfer switch, and whether or not the unit can be combined with renewable energy sources for increased efficiency. 

How do I determine the appropriate size generator needed for my home?

You’ll need to calculate the total wattage of the essential appliances you plan to power during outages. As a rule of thumb, most homes require a minimum of 5,000 to 7,500 watts to cover basic needs. Make a list of all your appliances so you don’t overlook them. 

What are the advantages of investing in a whole-house generator versus a portable one?

Whole-house generators are permanently installed and provide automatic, immediate, and longer-lasting power during an outage. Portable generators are more affordable, do not require installation, and can be used for outdoor activities, but they typically offer less power and require manual setup and fueling.

According to recent reports, which generators are ranked highest in reliability and consumer satisfaction?

Recent reports and consumers highlight brands like Westinghouse and WEN for their high customer ratings and reliability. Models such as the Westinghouse WGen9500DF received high praise for performance.

What essential features should I look for in a home generator?

You need to find one with the correct wattage, quiet operation, fuel efficiency, and safety features like an automatic carbon monoxide shutoff and overload protection. 

How cost-effective are home generators, and what are the best options for the value?

The price point will vary, but portable models are generally lower in cost. For long-term value, consider durability and warranty coverage. Speak to industry professionals to get their thoughts and feedback on models and options.

Call Armstrong Specialties at 678-607-6363 today to learn more about our services for your Atlanta, Georgia home,

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