Why 2021 Is the Perfect Time to Invest in a Home Generator
2020 was wild, wasn't it? Truly, there is no other word for it, but here we are now in early 2021 and COVID-19 is still with us.
So, many of us are continuing to cope with drastically altered daily lives, which includes a lot more sheltering in place and working from home than we planned for!
And now it is winter, our longest and most unpredictable season.
This is why we say 2021 is the perfect time to invest in a home generator - or invest in preventative maintenance for the generator you already have. At Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating and Electric, we provide home generator installation and maintenance services throughout the Muskoka area.
In this post, learn what you need to know to choose the best standby generator for your home or workplace.
What Is a Standby Generator?
You have probably heard about, and maybe even used, a portable generator for emergency or home repair power needs.
But what is a standby generator? Is this the same thing or something different?
A standby generator is more commonly known as a whole-home generator or permanent generator.
This type of generator is larger, more powerful and permanently installed on your property.
A standby generator can be used to power a few essential pieces of equipment or appliances. Alternately, you can get a standby generator that seamlessly powers your entire home and property.
One of the most convenient features of modern standby generators is the ability to sense a power outage and automatically switch to generator power - only to automatically sense when power is restored and switch right back to your regular power source.
But how do you know how much generator you need to buy? Read on to find out. Our Gravenhurst Heating and Electrical technicians are on stand-by to provide you with the generator selection, installation and maintenance services you need this winter.
Sizing Electrical Loads for Your Standby Generator
Believe it or not, the actual physical size of your home isn't what matters most when choosing a generator.
The size you want to pay the most attention is called "electrical load." This electrical load tells you how much power your standby generator can output at one time.
Power output tells you how many different items (electronics, equipment, appliances) your standby generator can power at one time.
Unless you are well-versed in power output for each essential piece of electronics, equipment or appliances in your home, this number is best calculated by one of our experienced Gravenhurst Electricians.
Choosing Your Essential Power Needs During a Power Outage
Living in the Muskokas in Northern Ontario, power outages can be a rather common occurrence during the winter months.
At this point, you might be wondering how to know which appliances or electronics you might want to have handy during a power outage.
What we find helps most is to think in terms of a whole day-long power loss, then a two-day power loss and then a week power loss.
In other words, what could you live without for one day? What could you live without for two days? What if the power loss lasts longer? What could you still live without?
This will help you identify your most immediate power needs. Be sure to consider time of year as well as significant investments such as perishable food, home medical equipment, entertainment and home office equipment.
During the Ontario stay at home lockdown order, keeping your home office powered is one of the most important things for your livelihood. For that reason, we recommend ensuring that your home office electrical supplies are properly backed up by a generator.
Power Output Examples to Calculate the Correct Size Standby Generator
Here are some general examples to help you think through how much power different types of home equipment, electronics and appliances require to operate.
- Fan (floor): 10 watts
- Radio: 50 watts
- One floor lamp: 100 watts
- Laptop computer: 250 watts
- Television: 300 watts
- Furnace (electric): 500 watts
- Printer: 600 watts
- Freezer: 700 watts
- Dehumidifier: 785 watts
- Refrigerator: 800 watts
- Garage door opener: 875 watts
- Coffee maker: 900 watts
- Air conditioner (room): 1000 watts
- Sump pump (or well pump): 1000 watts
- Microwave: 1000 watts
- Water heater: 1000 watts
- Washing machine: 1200 watts
- Oven (electric): 2000 watts
- Electric fence: 2500 watts
- Clothes dryer: 3000 watts
- Air conditioner (central, 3-ton): 3500 watts
So this gives you some good generic data to work with as you consider what you will want or need to keep using during a power outage that may last anywhere from one day to several days.
Remember, you only need a standby generator to replace electric power during an outage. This can be surprisingly easy to forget when you are calculating your home power needs!
General Standby Generator Sizes
Standby generator sizes reflect power output capacity. The unit of measurement is kilowatts (kW). One kilowatt equals 1,000 watts.
Here is an example. Say you are looking at a standby generator with an output of 22kW. This generator is capable of delivering power needs of up to 22,000 watts at one time.
There is also another number to consider: starting KVA, or starting voltage-amps. One KVA is equal to 1,000 volt-amps (VA). Starting KVA is the extra initial input of electrical power required to power on a piece of equipment, electronics or appliance.
Finally, it is unwise to run any standby generator at more than 75 percent of its rated output capacity for any length of time.
To make the calculations process easier, Gravenhurst Electricians recommend using Generac's handy online sizing calculator. All you need to get started is your zip code and the square footage of your home space.
Putting Your Home Generator System Together
Home generators work best when equipped with a transfer switch to detect outages and begin supplying emergency power.
Some generators also come with WiFi for remote operation and integration with an existing smart home security system.
Give our friendly, experienced Gravenhurst electricians a call to get started with your generator installation today!
Get All Your Generator Needs Met With Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating and Electric
Gravenhurst is a proud distributor for the full line of high quality, high efficiency Generac generators for residential and commercial use.
We now offer safe contactless service, payment and invoicing options. Contact our qualified technicians online or give us a call at 877-885-3403.
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