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Information on Gas Generators

Portable Gas Generators simply provide electrical power as needed and where needed.

Gas generators are bought based upon the needed power requirements – i.e., if a few lights only and a radio or laptop is to be run on a camping trip – a 1,000-watt to 2,000-watt generator can be used. If it the generator is to supply electric power on a construction site, the usual sizes are 3,500 watts to 6,500 watts. Emergency backup power for a house ranges from 3,000 watts to 6,500 watts as an average and, in instances, possibly as much as 12,000+ watts.

The quality of the generator is important, as well. It is not simply that it starts readily and is, therefore, dependable; but, that the output involves “clean” electricity. Electrical output is measured in a sine wave, and a good generator outputs a steady, clean sine wave. A poor generator, on the other hand, will output such a ragged, uneven sine wave that the likelihood is that the electrical appliance(s) being operated will be damaged or, in instances, ruined (“Henry, how come our microwave smells and won’t run?”).

It is generally accepted that Honda makes the best portable gas generators in the industry. First, they are engine specialists which is why Honda makes the very best 4-cycle engines in the Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) industry. Next, they are a world-class automotive manufacturer with great experience in electrical systems. Last, they are concerned that anything with the Honda name on it be manufactured to as close to perfection as possible. “Click” here to connect to our webpage on Honda gas generators.

Electrical power outages – for some, almost routine power outages — as well as the outages from the occurrences of Nature have caused a great surge in the demand for gasoline-powered Generators in the United States.

The demand for generators in the USA has traditionally always been more for commercial and contractor use, or, for those who live in more remote areas. Now, however, there is a substantial and growing demand here in suburban USA for emergency backup generators for residential use. People have experienced power outages due to storms and simple, re-occurring power problems in their neighborhoods, and have found that to be without electrical power is a hardship. The simple things such as not having lights are more a nuisance than anything else; the more important issues deal with not being able to run a necessary sump pump in the finished basement, or not being able to power the refrigerator or freezer to adequately preserve the food, not being able to cook, etc.. Then, there’s always the “biggie” of wondering whether the power is going to go out in the dead of winter and not being able to heat the house, etc., in which case the pipes might freeze and burst.

THE GENERATOR SUPPLIES EMERGENCY POWER: An emergency, backup generator provides the solution to all these problems. A generator is kept for emergency situations and, when the power goes out, is available to power lights, household appliances including refrigerators and freezers, sump pumps and furnaces. What could be a major expense and headache if, for example, the sump pump could not run and a finished basement floods in a storm, can be averted by simply running the generator and supplying the electricity to run the pump.

TYPE OF GENERATORS: Generators come in different sizes made by a variety of manufacturers. Typically, the most immediate need is to confirm the quality of the generator, as a generator that either is hard to start or simply will not run when needed can result, to say the least, in considerable frustration. Then, there are noise issues, maintenance considerations and run times — i.e., how long will the generator run before it needs to be refilled with gas. The best generators, therefore, such as Honda, use overhead valve (OHV) engines, as they use considerably less gas than standard engines.

Honda in particular features a unique invertor technology whereby some of their popular generator models match the engine speed to the necessary electrical output –i..e., the engine runs only as fast as needed to provide the electricity rather than at full speed (which is the norm if even only a light bulb is switched on). This tremendously reduces gas usage so that oneself isn’t getting up in the middle of the night to refill the generator. Lastly, a good-quality generator — for home use — will probably last indefinitely. While a quality generator like this absolutely represents a higher initial investment, the pay-off is in reliability and longevity.

ELECTRICAL QUALITY: As mentioned already, another, related, primary issue is the quality of the electricity which is output by the generator. Good electricity has an even sine wave. Run-of-the-mill generators produce an extremely ragged, uneven sine wave. The result is that, if such a generator is used to operate an appliance – a refrigerator, for example – for any length of time, it will possibly ruin the appliance. Any initial monetary savings over the investment cost of a good generator is immediately eliminated (and then some). One of the reasons that Honda “owns” the generator market internationally is that the electrical output of a Honda generator is typically equal to – or, in some cases, actually exceeds – the electrical quality of the utility supplying the electricity.

SIZE OF THE GENERATOR: After a good-quality brand generator is selected, the next requirement when considering the purchase of a gas generator is to determine the needed size. By the size, we mean the wattage output – although, of necessity, there is a correlation between wattage output and physical size. Generators are usually selected based upon the electricity needed to operate various electricity-using items, measured in wattage. For example, a typical sump pump might have an 900 watt motor. However, because the motor is an induction motor, it will require as much as 2200 watts of electricity to get it up and running when it first starts
— something called the “power surge”. If a 1000 watt generator was purchased to power the sump pump, the sump pump cannot start. “Click” here to connect to our webpage on sizing a generator properly – i.e., a listing of the necessary electrical requirements for a variety of appliances.

5000 WATT AVERAGE: As a result, the average generator used today for the home is 5000 watts. This gives “elbow room” to assure adequate electricity to run a variety of electricity-using appliances at the same time. If a smaller generator is used, the need is to then run appliances sequentially rather than simultaneously — i.e., turn off the refrigerator, run the sump pump for a while, turn on the freezer and run it for a while, etc.”

TRANSFER SWITCH: The easiest way to utilize a generator is to have an electrician install a transfer switch. This enables the generator to be plugged into a weatherproof electrical receptacle – typically mounted on the outside of the house (gas generators must be run outside due to exhaust fume considerations), and certain electrical circuits in the house are then powered so that the homeowner can use appliances as usual. If this is not done, the need, then, is to run extension cords into the house to different appliances. That’s not a good solution. A transfer switch also handles considerations such as the electrical power being restored by the utility company at the same time a generator is supplying power in the house. This prevents any electrical conflicts.

NOT IF BUT WHEN: Major storms and electrical outages immediately highlight the need for the homeowner to have backup power. It has become less a question for many of “Will I need emergency backup power?” than “When will I need emergency backup power?

FORETHOUGHT: Benjamin Franklin ably said that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” An additional “word to the wise” is that natural disasters immediately result in severe generator shortages – sometimes generators are unavailable for as long as several months. The need is to buy in advance of natural disasters, etc. – i.e., if you agree with the logic of owning a generator for backup emergency power, don’t delay your purchase. Honda makes the premium generator line in this industry, and we can routinely be short-shipped Honda generators as demand issues curtail adequate supply.

“Click” here to connect to our webpage on Honda Generators.