Who Makes the Best Home Generator Review
Emergency home or small office backup generators are available in three different types – gasoline powered (or, in some instances, diesel-powered), lpg (liquid propane gas) or natural gas. Each has certain advantages.
The only sure way to be guaranteed that oneself will have an operable generator during a power outage is to utilize a gasoline-powered generator. Many people think that a natural-gas generator is a better choice; however, if there is a disruption in the gas main the utility might have to shut down the natural gas – in some instances, entire communities will have no natural gas during a storm or other disruptive event. This leaves anyone owning a natural gas generator with no ability to utilize their generator until the gas main, etc. is repaired. In like manner, a wide-spread power outage can prevent obtaining further lpg since the lumber yard, etc. that pumps the lpg may well be out of electricity and cannot supply lpg until general power is restored.
On the other hand, a gasoline-powered generator is usable at any time – it provides for a self-sufficient scenario in which, as long as there is an adequate supply of additional gasoline on hand, the generator can be used irrespective of natural gas or of lpg limitations. There is no need to store endless quantities of gas – common sense applies. There should, also, be no fears in storing some extra gas in, for example, good quality 5-gallon cans – the car is typically parked on the premises and will itself contain some 20 gallons of gas in its tank.
A quality, whole-house natural gas system has one obvious advantage. If all else is equal, the system will auto-start upon a power outage – no one needs to be present to ensure that this happens. So, if, for example, you travel extensively, this is an immediate consideration. Of course, like anything else in life, you get what you pay for – a good quality (Kohler) natural gas system typically costs $12,000 to $15,000 (some can be higher). That is a sizable investment for the average person – especially when one considers that a premium-quality (Honda makes the best!) gasoline generator sized to do a typical house can usually be installed soup-to-nuts for around $6,000. Of course, smaller generators cost less.
In sizing a generator for home or office use, the procedure is to add up all the important electrical needs – keeping in mind that some types of products have starting surges that are typically two to three times the actual running wattages. For example, an average sump pump might run at 800 watts; but, need around 2,000 watts to start. Without knowing the starting surges on various products, one might seriously undersize an emergency generator.
Speaking broadly, most homes with a sump pump, fridge and typical heating system will benefit from a 5,000 watt generator. In recent years – due to escalating electrical usages (one fridge, one freezer, maybe two sump pumps, etc.) a 6,500 watt generator is preferred. If there are no sump pumps; then as small as a 3,000 watt generator can be selected.
The brand of generator is all important because it will determine, amongst other things, the quality of the electricity being provided by the generator. Many/most over-the-counter big-box-store or internet generators largely use Chinese components. Not only is repair parts availability a major consideration, the electrical output from such generators is what is referred to as “dirty electricity”. This type of electrical output is likely to damage or ruin anything that has any sensitivity to electrical fluctuations. Thus, the circuits in the heating system, fridge, microwave and, of course, TV, computers, modems, etc. are likely to be “smoked” by such generators. If oneself has to replace a fridge or wide-screen plasma TV, or, have a heating system repaired – the price difference between a good quality and a poor quality generator has just been bridged.
There are also noise considerations. Good quality generators are extremely quiet; mass merchandise generators are extremely noisy. Why is this? It is a further illustration of the difference in quality.
In addition, another major consideration is fuel usage. Some Honda generators, for example, can run for up to 12 hours one a gallon of gas. A big-box store type generator is likely to use a gallon an hour.
Honda makes the best portable emergency generators in the world, and has, as this article is written in 2013, enjoyed this prestige for over two decades. It should be noted that Honda makes different series of generators – i.e., a utility/entry-level series, an industrial series, and both an EM and EU series for backup power.
The Honda EU series generators provide the best level of protection for home or office use in a power outage. The level of engineering that is utilized in such a generator is unmatched. The electrical quality output from an EU i-series Honda is what is referred to in the generator industry as “computer clean”. This ensures that there cannot be any damage to even the most delicate electronics – a great peace of mind. As well, they are incredibly quiet and extremely fuel efficient.
So, it is suggested that you protect what is likely the biggest investment for the average homeowner – which is to say, the home – by utilizing a quality gasoline-powered generator. The monthly maintenance on a Honda generator is to simply run the generator for 30 minutes to give it a “workout” and to keep the battery charged. Every 100 hours of use, change the oil – usually a 15-minute job. Make sure, of course, that the generator is made by Honda and is not a Honda “look-alike.”
A straight forward, factual review to enable the homeowner or property manager to cut through the marketplace clutter of advertising so as to properly select a quality emergency backup generator that will perform to expectations and last for years. The different types of generators are discussed and evaluated.
Keith Petersen is an owner of The Eardly T. Petersen Company in Westfield, NJ, USA. This family-owned business has been providing first quality products and service to the Westfield NJ, Union County NJ and metro NY area marketplace for almost 60 years. Additional reviews on Emergency Power Generators and other products can be found at http://www.etpetersen.com
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