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What To Look For When Buying a Portable Generator

Updated on August 15, 2016
Portable Generator
Portable Generator

How to Choose the Right Portable Generator

From time to time, some people have found themselves needing an alternative power source. Wheather it is a cold, hard winter that has knocked out your power due to snow and ice conditions, or perhaps a strong spring thunderstorm has struck your area and left downed power lines. What ever the reason may be, you need an alternative source of power. A portable generator is a wonderful item to have as a backup power source. As with any other purchase, there are many sizes and types of portable generators and the choices can be quite confusing. I would like to make your decision making a little easier for you.

Here are a few things that you should look for when purchasing a portable generator.

  • The electricity created by a portable generator is measured in voltage and watts. When choosing a generator, first determine your specific voltage needs and then you can pick a generator model that supplies enough wattage for everything you want it to run. Your main uses will be heat, some lights, stove, refrigerator, television or radio and maybe a water pump.
  • Choose the type of fuel you will be using for your generator. Portable generators commonly run on gasoline. However, gasoline can't be stored for very long, so once it is no longer needed, be sure and drain the fuel tank. Propane is another option for fuel. It can remain in the tank without doing damage for extended periods of time and may be a good idea if you think you may need to use the generator several times throughout the year.
  • Portable generators should have large fuel tanks for the best running time. Depending on how long you feel you may need to use your generator, you don’t want to have to continually add fuel.
  • A fuel indicator gauge. I believe all models come with this gauge, but be sure it is easy for you to read. You want to be able to easily see how much fuel it has, as you don’t want it to run out of fuel in the middle of the night!
  • Be sure it has enough receptacles to allow you to plug in all the devices you want to run. Don’t try to run too many on a portable generator. Be sure it has the safety feature that it will “trip out” and shut itself off if it does become over loaded. Again, your main uses will probably be heat, some lights, stove, refrigerator, television or radio and maybe a water pump.
  • They should also have solid steel or aluminum enclosures. Be sure you choose a sturdy generator, you want it to last a long time and it should be sitting outside while in use. Portable generators produce fumes that can cause serious health problems or death if used indoors.
  • Good mufflers to reduce noise. If you are going to use it for more than a few days at a time, you may want to spend a little extra to get a generator with a better muffler. Trust me, if you don’t, the noise will get on your nerves before long!
  • Be sure it is fully compliant with all relevant emissions regulations.
  • Look at new generators that have a two-year parts and labor warranty. Make sure you know what the warranty covers: some only cover certain parts of the generator.

Always follow the directions for use supplied with your portable generator and I hope you have a safe and wonderful year!

Have you ever been out of power in the winter?

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