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How to Choose the Right Generator: Powering Through the Confusion

Cartoon home lit up surrounded by homes with no lights on.

Table of Contents

Power outages happen.

Whether it’s a windy storm or a downed line here in Islip, suddenly being plunged into darkness can be frustrating. That’s when a trusty generator can become your most valuable asset.

But with so many types and features on the market, choosing the right one can feel like deciphering hieroglyphics. Don’t worry—our trusted team at HomeOps can cut through the jargon and help you find the perfect power partner!

Why Do You Need a Generator?

Power outages are becoming more frequent in the United States—and you can blame the weather.

According to Climate Central, the average annual number of weather-related power outages in the U.S. has increased by almost 80 percent since 2011.

What Do You Need to Power?

Are you looking to keep the lights on and the fridge humming during a brief outage? Or do you need to run power tools and heavy appliances during an extended blackout?

Identifying your essential needs will determine the kind of generator muscle you require.

Portable vs. Standby: Mobility Matters

Your first decision is whether to choose a portable or standby generator:

  • Portable generators are your workhorses on wheels, perfect for temporary power during outages or camping trips. They come in various sizes, from powering essential items (think lights and a small fridge) to handling bigger loads like air conditioners and sump pumps.

    Their portability is a bonus, but remember, fuel and maintenance are ongoing concerns.
  • Standby generators are built for heavy loads. They are permanently connected to your home’s electrical system. They kick in automatically when the power goes out, offering seamless backup.

    No need to lug them around or refill fuel tanks—just sit back and enjoy peace of mind, knowing you have power. However, standby generators require professional installation and are a more significant investment.

Powering Your Generator

Next, you will need to decide how you want to power your generator:

  • Natural gas: For a permanently installed standby generator, natural gas might be the ideal fuel. It is readily available through your existing gas line, eliminating refilling woes. You just need to extend your gas line for a permanent connection.
  • Gasoline: Gas generators are readily available and affordable. However, they are noisy, require regular refueling, and emit fumes. 
  • Propane: Clean-burning and quieter than gas, propane generators are a good choice for indoor or enclosed spaces. However, propane tanks can be bulky, and refilling is less convenient.

Smooth Power for Sensitive Electronics

Consider an inverter generator if you have delicate electronics like laptops or medical equipment. These generators produce smoother, cleaner power, preventing voltage fluctuations that can damage sensitive devices. They’re also quieter than traditional generators, making them ideal for camping or tailgating.

Watts Up? Sizing Matters

Now comes the crucial part: figuring out the wattage you need. Add up the starting and running wattages of the appliances you want to power. Remember, choosing a generator that can handle your needs at 75 to 80 percent of its capacity for optimal performance and fuel efficiency is best.

Not sure if your numbers are accurate? No worries! HomeOps can help you choose the right equipment based on the appliances you want to run.

Bonus Generator Features

Some generators offer additional features to enhance your experience. Electric start eliminates the need for manual pull cords, while remote control lets you operate the generator from a distance. For extended use, look for models with automatic shut-off for low oil or overheating.

The Final Spark: Choosing the Right Generator

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, you can trust HomeOps to find the best generator for your Islip, New York, home. A reliable generator is an investment, ensuring you are never truly powerless. Call us today at 631.509.2000 or request service online and schedule your free consultation.