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Your Guide to Choosing a Generator

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a generator, there’s probably a good reason. Maybe you recently had a power outage, or you know another satisfied generator owner such as a neighbor, friend, or relative. Even so, the decision to purchase and install a generator is a big one. And your needs may differ from theirs.

With some expert guidance, you can sort through your options and confidently make an informed decision that’s just right for you, your family, and your home.

Natural Gas/Propane Home Generators

Natural gas and propane generators are for occasional power outages. They use a small carbon footprint because they’re used for the short duration when a power outage occurs. This makes them convenient and environmentally friendly. They offer flexibility because depending on the model, they run on either propane or natural gas.

Portable Generators

Best used for: Powering up a few major appliances during an emergency outage

Portable generators run on gasoline. If your electrical needs are small to moderate, a portable generator may meet them. You'll connect appliances to the generator using extension cords. Although portable generators are less expensive than whole-house generators, which one you choose depends on your individual requirements.

Whole-House Generator

Best used for: Keeping the entire house running during a power outage

Whole-house generators are the best option if you must have all appliances operating continually, uninterrupted. Items such as medical equipment, HVAC units, and hot water heaters are a few examples. In addition, whole-house generators commonly power freezers, refrigerators, computers, lights, garage doors, and security equipment during short or long power outages. While it's true that other generator types can power a few of these items; a whole-house generator handles all the appliances in a home. The totality of coverage is its biggest benefit.

Diesel Generators

Best used for: Supporting large electrical loads in commercial establishments where natural gas or propane fuel is unavailable

Businesses such as construction sites where the work is long-term and businesses with office buildings are appropriate for diesel generators. The main advantage of a diesel fuel generator is its ability to provide power on a large scale for a long period with little fuel. In a natural disaster, diesel fuel is much easier to find compared to natural gas or propane too.

Select-Circuit Generators (or Standby Generators)

Best used for: Smaller homes and the budget-conscious homeowner

Select-circuit generators are a great choice when you want a limited number of appliances—the basics—to power your home when there's a power outage. These may include lighting, kitchen appliances, HVAC, and/or medical equipment. Installation involves an automatic transfer switch that connects to a breaker panel. By comparison, a whole-house generator costs more than a select-circuit generator. If you are on a tight budget, own a smaller home, or both, a select-circuit generator may be your best option.

Maintenance Plans Help Extend Your Investment

Just like automobiles require oil and periodic oil filter and air filter changes, your generator needs regular upkeep as well. Since your generator uses an engine, you must have its spark plugs checked annually. Switch Electric offers basic and extra value generator maintenance plans so you can get the most out of your investment.

Safety First

Carbon monoxide is odorless, but deadly. Because of this, be sure to keep your portable generator outside to avoid inhaling carbon monoxide fumes that emit from the fuel. Never place your generator indoors, in your garage, by windows or vents. Make safety a priority for you and your family. Put your trust in trained, licensed, and insured professionals to install and maintain your home generator.

Choosing a generator for your home is a wise, but difficult decision. Time is precious and losing it to a power outage can be inconvenient or outright dangerous. The efficient, expert electricians at Switch Electric are here to answer your questions. We can help you decide on the best generator for you and your family’s needs. Give us a call or contact us today!

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