Electric generators have been around for some time that it is becoming common in several households, shops, malls, and offices. Most people do not know much about it, except that it provides electrical power in case of a shortage. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at different electrical models that are available in the market. Establishments in the industrial sector usually use electrical options as standby generators in case of an outage so that the power source automatically switches to the backup source.
An electrical generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy to electrical power using different sources of mechanical energy, such as but not limited to water turbines, gas turbines, wind turbines, steam turbines, and internal combustion engines. Home generators typically use an internal combustion engine. Some home options are dual fuel. These are commonly called home generator dual fuel, and we’ve written a post about them, which you can read as well by pressing the highlighted link.
Now that we have defined several facts about them, it is time to look into one of the most common questions people have before buying one: which capacity should I pick when purchasing one for your home or business? They come in several capacities, such as 2,500, 3,000, 6,000, 7,000, and 20,000 watts.
Determining Which Capacity You Need
Determining which capacity you need depends on the items you intend to power up with this source. The first thing you need to do is identify the items you wish to run in case of a power outage. Look into the specifications of each of those items to determine its requirements. You can typically find this in a sticker label attached to the item. You can also look into its box or instructions manual. List all these down because you will need to sum it up later on.
After summing everything up, multiply with 1.5 to account for the power it needs when starting up. The result is the minimum you need to supply power to these items from your source. A refrigerator typically needs 700 to 1,200 watts, whereas a freezer needs 500 to 1,000, depending on the make and model. Should you wish to run both these appliances at home, you will need an electrical one that is at least 3,300 watts. Whatever result you get, make sure to pick one with a capacity that is 10% to 20% more than the total demand of your appliances.
If you are looking for a whole house generator, you may need to consider getting one with high capacity. Some users prefer to have a standby generator, a type that automatically starts up in a matter of seconds of an outage.
Importance of choosing the correct size
To some people, it is tempting to pick the cheapest model available in the market. The cheap ones are usually the ones with lower capacity. Although there is nothing wrong with choosing a low-capacity model, it is not a good idea. It may also be dangerous if the requirement of your appliances exceeds the capacity specified by the manufacturer. You will not only damage your appliances, but you can damage the unit itself.
On the other hand, here are a few benefits of picking one with the correct capacity.
- Guaranteed consistency in the performance it delivers
- Increase in the life span of the unit
- Minimized occurrence of overloading
- Minimized occurrence of unexpected system failure
- Decrease in the risk of fire as a result of overheating or electrical failure
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Single Generator vs Paralleling
Some users have a lot of needs. There are two possible options you may want to consider in this situation. You can go with a single electric unit or split the load between two or more generators. For example, if you have a requirement of 10,000 watts, you can install two 5,000 ones. This method is paralleling, and it can be beneficial in certain circumstances.
|Practical||Lighter load on the unit|
It’s more cost-effective
There are several factors in considering cost-effectivity. These factors include brand, used vs. new, price in your location, and several others. Assuming all these factors are equal, there is a certain point that it becomes more cost-effective to use parallel ones instead of one.
One of the leading reasons people purchase these machines is additional reliability, which is most useful in outages. Having only one means you won’t have a backup if it breaks down or goes into maintenance.
On the other hand, with multiple running in parallel, backup power will not be completely interrupted if one of them breaks down or goes into maintenance. You will only have to shift the burden temporarily to the others.
Lighter load on individual units
Sharing the burden between two or more generators can extend the overall life of each of them since it lessens the risk of putting too much load on a single one. Depending on the make and model, loads of up to 80% of the capacity are ideal when using continuously.
It is more practical
This factor is greatly dependent on the physical space you have. In some cases, fitting two or more small units is easier than one large one in a room.
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Apart from the gauge wire sizes, it is equally important to pick the correct wattage capacity.
2,500 – 3,000 watts
Generators that are in the 2,500 to 3,000 watts range are ideal in RVs and camping. Units in this capacity range are portable, which means you can easily carry them around with you.
An 11,000 BTU RV air conditioning unit would usually require 1,600 watts to start and 1,000 when it is running. An RV refrigerator requires 600 to start and 180 when it is running. These are only some of the things you may find in an RV.
To summarize, as long as the sum of the appliances you intend to power does not exceed 3,000, then a portable model will not be an issue. We can also conclude that requirements, such as 800, 900, and 1,800, will work flawlessly with a 2,500 to 3,000 watts models.
6,000 – 7,000
Now, let us move on to the 6,000 to 7,000 watts range of generators. A total requirement of up to 7,000 will work fine within this range. Requirements below 6,000 will also work fine, such as 3,100, 3,400, and 4,500.
The Powerstroke 6000 Portable model is a 6,000-watt beast by Powerstroke. It features a large 6-gallon steel fuel tank, which runs up to nine hours at a 50% load. The conveniently located controls allow for easy starting of the unit. The unit also comes with an Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR). Lastly, it has wheels for easy and hassle-free transport.
Another great one worth mentioning is the Westinghouse WGen7500 model. With a run time of up to 11 hours, its peak is 9,500 watts, and its running capacity is 7,500. For convenient ignition of the unit, the WGen7500 comes with a push-button electric start. The wireless remote key fob that pairs with it make effortless ignition possible. For real-time updates on frequency, voltage output, and lifetime hours, you may refer to the VFT display that comes with the unit.
Aside from these two brands, there are several other brands available in the market. Some of these brands are All Power, Kingcraft, Honda, Pulsar, Steele, Troy Bilt, Champion, and Powermate.
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The 20,000-watt generator has the largest capacity in this article. A great pick to consider is the Generac Guardian 20KW Home Backup model, an air-cooled unit that can provide reliable backup power to an entire house.
The Generac 20KW model comes with mobile link remote monitoring, a feature that allows the user to monitor the status from anywhere using a tablet, PC, or smartphone. It lets users quickly access information, such as maintenance alerts and operating status. The 200-amp NEMA 3R smart switch allows for up to whole-house protection. For a smooth, clean operation of appliances and electronic devices, True Power Technology delivers quality power with less than 5% harmonic distortion.
On top of these amazing features is its 24/7/365 customer support team, ready to answer any questions or concerns with their Generac 20KW beauty. All their automatic standby units come with a 5-year limited warranty.
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