How to Select a Generator

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A generator is very handy to have in emergency situations. But before you go shopping for one, there are a few things you need to consider. In this article I have outlined some key points to consider like, power output, restive loads, reactive loads, and other requirements you may also need to consider.


QUITNESS – How quiet does your generator need to be? Consider where your generator is going to be located when it’s running. Don’t forget your generator can not be in or near your living area since it is a gasoline engine.


GENERATOR USAGE – Is your generator primarily going to be used as a standby home power source in case of a blackout? Or will you be using it in recreational boating and camping? This will help you determine how frequently you will be using the generator.


POWER OUTPUT – A generator rated at 2000 watts could provide power to 20 one hundred watt light bulbs at the same time. This would be the maximum power output the generator could produce. Light bulbs fall under the category of RESTIVE loads.


MAXIMUM AND RATED POWER- A generator should never be operated at its maximum power output for more than 30 minutes. RATED power is a more reliable measure of generator power. It’s the power that a generator can produce for long periods of time. Typically the RATED power is 90% of the maximum power.


GENERATOR LOADS – A RESTIVE load are things like toasters, convection ovens, hot plates, curling irons, coffee makers, stereos and TV’s. REACTIVE load is anything that uses a motor like, air conditioners, refrigerators, furnace fans, well pumps, ceiling fans and air compressors.

When determining the proper generator for REACTIVE type loads, you must consider three things: (1) STARTING – The electric motor requires more power to start. The starting power required can be 3 times the running amount. (2) RUNNING – The power required to run the electric motor after it has been started. (3) LOADED – When the electric motor begins to work its power requirement will increase. This is not applicable for most household appliances.


Always check out the DATA TAG on any generator and ask the sales person to show you the LOAD CODE Chart. If you plan on powering a refrigerator or other appliances that uses a motor, the LOAD CODE Chart will help you determine the right size generator to purchase.


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