1. A generator is a major investment for you and your family. Although the initial purchase price can be substantial, a generator is invaluable during a major storm or disaster. The following are steps to help you make the best decision while selecting a generator for your home.

    Step 1: First, you need to determine the size of a generator that will be right for you. To do this, you need to decide what appliances you plan to run on your generator and how much wattage those appliances require in order for them to run. This part is important because the generator has to have a slightly higher wattage than the total of the loads it will be running. Calculating the wattage can be a complicated process and errors can be costly as well as hazardous, so be sure to talk to your dealer first.

    Step 2: Decide what kind of a generator you want. Is it just for emergencies? If so, a standby generator would probably be your best option. Standby generators are usually portable and are powered by a small gas engine. However, there are some safety warnings. First, if the standby generator is not hooked up properly or if it overpowers an outlet, fires can start. Secondly, standby generators need to be kept at least ten feet away from the house because they produce deadly carbon monoxide fumes. Another option is a backup generator. It has the advantages of being able to provide power even if the power is disconnected or inaccessible. Also, it can supply energy any time and can meet more power needs than a standby generator.

    Step 3: Deciding what type of generator to purchase also involves which type of fuel-burning system you are most comfortable with. Gas-powered generators have the advantage of running on easily-accessible fuel, and they are generally dependable. On the other hand, gas prices can skyrocket and fuel supplies can run out during a natural disaster. There are some other options, though, like diesel, natural gas, propane, and hybrid.

    Each of these systems has their pros and cons. One of the pros about buying a diesel system is that the engines in diesel generators tend to last longer than gas-powered systems. In addition, diesel fuel can usually be purchased at any gas station. A con is that if you plan to run your system a great deal, diesel might not be the best choice because of the unpleasant odor and health risks. Natural gas is a good choice because it is the cleanest burning fossil fuel with fewer emissions. Natural gas powered generators are also less expensive to run and are more efficient. Propane is another worthwhile option. Like natural gas, propane fuel is cleaner and does not produce as many hazardous fumes as gasoline or diesel. There are also hybrid systems that you can purchase that use either alternative energy or a combination of electrical grid and alternative energy sources. In addition, some alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and hydrogen are available. Do your homework to determine which one will be the most appropriate for your needs.

    Step 4: Compare the prices of different brands and styles of generators to determine which one best fits your needs as well as your budget. Small recreational generators and portable emergency systems can be purchased in the $700 – $4000 US dollar range. Larger generators begin around $2000 and can run well up into the $20,000 USD range depending on the model and the usage.

    Step 5: Purchase your machine and test it thoroughly to make sure that it will meet your needs. After you are satisfied with its reliability, be sure to start it up on a regular basis to make sure that it is still operating correctly.

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