With our increased reliance on electrical appliances and devices, our homes can be rendered non-functional in the event of a local or regional blackout. Combine this with an aging electrical infrastructure and the increase of severe storms, purchasing a generator for your home is becoming more of a necessity than a convenience.
There are two types of generators – portable and automatic – that do essentially the same thing, they produce electricity to appliances you've chosen as being necessary to keep powered when there is a disruption in power to your home. The automatic (a.k.a stand–by) generator will automatically start and generate electricity to designated circuits and automatically stop when power is returned. The portable generator will require you to manually power on the generator and hook up specific appliances with electrical extension cords then manually power down the generator and unplug appliances when the outside power resumes.
Over the years, as our electronics have become more sophisticated and sensitive, residential generators had to improve in order to provide electricity that is more akin to utility–grade power. With circuit boards in our HVAC systems, refrigerators, washing machines and ranges, as well as our TVs, computers, tablets and phones, manufacturers had to fine tune the total harmonic distortion or THD of their generators, which has the potential to damage sensitive electronics. Look for a residential generator that has a THD at or below 5 to 6–percent.
Even as residential generator technology has improved, the price has actually gone down over the past years making generators more affordable and attractive to more home owners. Homeowners of all ages may now see the sense and cents in having a generator for their home.
There are a couple of things to think about when choosing a residential generator. One is the type of fuel you will have access to if power is out for a long time. Automatic generators often run on propane or LP, portable generators may run on diesel, gasoline or propane. The second consideration is noise. Generators are engines, not motors and therefore create a considerable decibel (dB) level of noise. A stand–by generator has to run once a week for a test period. Today automatic generator manufacturers are using an enclosure to dampen the dB level or they suggest setting the test to run during a specific time of day.
Read our other sections on residential generators for additional information:
- Service & Maintenance
- Warranty Repair
- Standby Generator Selection
If you are thinking about purchasing a residential generator please give SME a call at 206-788-3824, one of our representatives can help you select the right size and type of generator for your home. Don't wait for the next outage – protect your home appliances and your family's comfort before the lights go out.
SME Inc. is a select and certified service dealer of Generac Residential and Commercial generators