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Although there is no sign of the rainy season so far, this is the time of year when we start to prepare for floods and the inevitable power cuts that come with them. Power cuts are undeniably disruptive and irritating. Having a generator will ensure that the food in your fridge and freezer will not spoil during a prolonged outage as well as providing you with power to pump water from your well, keep your home entertainment systems running and, of course, ensuring that your workload does not have to be abandoned if you work on computer. At the first sign of the rain it is very tempting to rush to the nearest Homepro to buy a generator, but, before you do, there are a few points to consider in order to ensure you buy the model that is right for you. Before you buy you need to decide which tools and appliances you wish to operate with your generator. Do you just need a fan and a lamp, perhaps your laptop or, do you wish to run everything in your home?
If you are going to have your generator permanently connected to your electric system it is essential that you have it installed by a reliable and well qualified electrician. It goes without saying that this is one job that you must never do yourself. In order to choose the right model you need to make a list of the electrical appliances you wish to run during a power cut and establish the wattage for each of them and add them together so you can arrive at the total wattage you will require to run them all simultaneously. Then choose a generator that meets or, preferably, exceeds this wattage requirement. If you do not know the wattage requirements you can normally find a label on the appliance and apply this formula Volts x Amps = Watts. Broadly speaking an air conditioning until requires around 3000 running watts, computer and monitor 700, an oven 6000, hair dryer 300 – 1500, microwave 500 – 1500, refrigerator 600 – 2500, well pump 800 – 2800, CD player 50, TV 100 – 350. Lamps and lighting are shown on the bulb 40 – 200. If you are not sure what you will require then it is advisable to ask an electrician rather than just guessing.
Portable generators are designed only to be connected to selected lamps and appliances and must never be connected directly into your homes wiring system. Portable generators are far more affordable than permanent ones and can offer some relief during a power out. Always make sure you read the manufacture instructions before use. Locate it in a place with adequate ventilation and be sure the total load on the generator will not exceed the manufacturer ratings. Keep leads from extension cables out of the way so you don’t trip over them in dimly lit environments and never run cables under rugs where the heat buildup will go largely unnoticed.
Please note that generators can pose serious safety hazards to you and others and as well as being expensive. They are also very noisy, something you need to take into consideration when you live close to others. Generators very quickly produce high levels of carbon monoxide, an odorless and deadly gas, so choosing the right and highly ventilated place to keep it is essential.
When comparing the different models you also need to keep motor staring in mind as it may require up to 2 times the running watts to start or even 7 times for air compressors, pumps and air conditioners.