Electricity is an essential thing we need every day for home, work, or almost anything we do. Most people dread experiencing power loss at any time of the day.
More so often, we do not think about this portable machine until the time comes that we need one. Hence, it is wise for people to have an electric generator that will provide continuous power to our homes.
When there is a power outage, it would be a big help if you have a portable generator handy.
Living without electricity can be very uncomfortable. Generators help make your life a lot easier, especially if you need to go out in the field where there is no electricity source.
What to Consider
Generators are a big help when we need instant and convenient power. However, some people do not know much about this device. Even if most generators look almost alike, they have various designs, features, and uses that you need to know before getting one.
When selecting a generator as your backup power source, there are many aspects you need to consider. With the many features you will find, it is sometimes daunting which one to prioritize. Is it the fuel, size, power, runtime, outlets, or design?
People on tight budgets usually go for gasoline generators. For those who can pay more to get fuel that does not deteriorate quickly, propane generators are the best choice. Aside from deciding whether to get a gasoline or propane generator, here are some other factors you need to consider.
You might want your generator to have an automatic start. This way, the machine will turn on automatically once the power goes out. It delivers convenience, and you can have peace of mind knowing that you have a constant supply of power at all times.
If you don’t need an automatic start, you might opt for a generator with an electric start. And with just one push of a button, you can quickly turn on the power of the machine. It is much more comfortable than pulling a string to start up an engine.
Gauge and Monitor Panel
When getting a portable generator, it would help if it has a monitor panel and fuel gauge. This feature will allow you to identify whether your fuel, oil, temperature and other vital functions of the generator are working correctly.
It helps prevent overheating or running out of fuel and oil, especially during extended power outages.
Even if you don’t need too many power outlets on your generator, it is still beneficial to have multiple outlets available. The various outlets will come in handy when the occasion calls for it. Just ensure that your backup generator has enough power to sustain numerous devices at the same time.
Additionally, it can also be helpful to have a removable safety console. It will enable you to plug-in devices and appliances without the need for extension cords outdoors.
Portable generators have undergone innovative development over the years. The modern-day models tend to be safer, quieter, and more efficient. One of the most state-of-the-art units created is the inverter generator.
These advanced machines are more user and environmentally friendly than their predecessors. Added safety features include the emission of less carbon monoxide and automatic shutoff when gas and oil reach dangerous levels, among others.
So if you are getting a portable generator, you may want to choose an inverter generator with safety features. Here are two of the most trusted brands when it comes to generators are Champion and WEN. Let’s find out which one works better for your power needs.
Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator
You can depend on Champion products to be durable with well-engineered designs. They boast of powerful machines that make people’s lives easier. So if you are looking for high-performing and quality generators, you might want to check Champion Power Equipment products available near you.
One of the units from Champion you can look at is the Champion Power Equipment 2500-watt portable generator. You can enjoy up to 12 hours of runtime at 50% load, with a full 3.8-gallon fuel tank. Finally, it also has a very noise level of 68 dBA from 23 feet.
Touch and Wireless Start
This convenient generator has a three-way ignition switch. Moreover, it offers a battery-included electric start, which you can use with a simple push of a button. People will also love its Cold Start technology for an easy start, even in icy weather conditions.
Wait, there’s more. IT also has a wireless start from up to 80 feet using a remote key fob. And if all else fails, you can still make this baby run with its recoil start.
RV Ready, Powerful Machine
This generator offers 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts. This power can run your RV and its air conditioner. Further, its 96cc Champion single-cylinder OHV engine machine has a maximum speed of 3600, offering you enough safe energy for several home appliances and devices.
If that is not enough, Champion Power Equipment comes with a three-year limited warranty, including free lifetime technical support from the company’s technical experts.
When using any electrical device, it is always wise to follow safety protocols. It is also prudent to choose a device that has safety features. Good thing that the Champion 3500-watt generator has a Volt Guard that protects the machine and your home appliances against power surges.
Further, it offers an Intelligauge that allows you to monitor voltage, frequency, and running hours. It will let you know if your generator needs some rest, maintenance, or fuel refill. Additionally, it automatically shuts off if the machine is already low in oil.
You also will love it’s easy-grip handle and the included wheel kit for convenience and portability. Finally, this generator from Champion is EPA certified and CARB compliant; hence, you are guaranteed that this machine is safe.
WEN 56352 Gas Powered Portable Generator
If you need instant power when there is a power outage, you can rely on WEN to light up your home and run home equipment for the entire night.
Having a fully-charged cell phone and running television or radio can make a whole lot of difference in times of emergency and crisis. Thus, having a portable generator handy can be helpful.
This durable generator is your perfect partner on any job site and a reliable backup power source at home. Accordingly, it also has a strong 212cc OHV engine that gives more than enough power for your lights, refrigerator, TV, and other essential devices.
Here are the other features of the WEN 56352 that you will find helpful.
Compact and Portable
This sturdy machine from WEN includes a wheel kit, making it easy to use and portable. The two flip-up foldable handles make it an ideal space-saving device for tailgating and camping. You will also feel safe knowing that this generator is EPA III compliant.
It has a spark arrestor; hence you can securely use it in national parks or forests. You can get NGK BP7ES as its spark plug replacement.
Large Fuel Tank Capacity
The WEN 56352 gas tank can hold up to 4 gallons or 15 liters of fuel. It will be enough to supply your home power for 11 hours at 50% load. Just make sure to use regular unleaded gas with an octane rating of at least 87.
You will also love that this generator has a grounding terminal that keeps users safe and prevents electrocution.
This device has an oil capacity of 20 fluid oz. You can use SAE 30 oil when running in open areas, but this is not recommended if the temperature goes below 40⁰ Fahrenheit. Likewise, you can use 5W-30 or 10W-30 oil when the weather is colder.
The generator will automatically shut down when the oil level falls below the recommended level. Thus, it is prudent to check and change your engine oil to prevent performance regularly.
Multiple Outlets and Control Panel
You will find the following outlets very handy for home, work, or any DIY project requirements:
- Two 120V three-prong receptacles (NEMA 5-20R)
- 120/240V twist-lock receptacle (NEMS L14-30)
- 12V 100W 8.3A DC connector
The voltage selector switch will enable you to change between 120 and 240 volts, depending on your requirement. Its fuel gauge will allow you to determine the remaining fuel in the tank. It helps you make gas refills at just the right time.
You can use the circuit reset buttons to prevent electrical overload. It also features a digital hour counter to help you know the remaining runtime hours. The instruction manual is beneficial for you to recognize the various parts of the generator and its purpose.
After knowing the various features portable generators can offer, you might think that you are now ready to get one for yourself. But before you make that final decision, here are some questions and answers that can guide you with your purchase.
How does a portable generator work?
To understand how a generator works, we must first learn the various parts of the machine involved in the process. You might get intimidated by how the generators look, but they function almost similarly to other devices that have fuel engines.
Here are the essential parts of a generator to keep it running:
- Internal combustion engine
- Fuel tank
- Control panels
- Power outlets
- Safety and protective devices
And to understand the process more clearly, below are the primary steps that help generators work.
- You fill the fuel tank with either gas, diesel, or natural gases.
- Start the engine, either by a switch, remote, or pull cord mechanism.
- The combustion engine turns the alternator and converts mechanical energy into electricity.
- Then, the electricity is converted by a regulator into usable wattage that goes through the built-in power outlets of the generator.
Where is the proper place to put a running generator?
It is best not to put a portable running generator in an enclosed area like a boat, garage, cabin, or tent. There must be circulating air around the machine.
The reason behind this is that the combustion process that powers the generator produces carbon monoxide (CO), which is a toxic gas.
It is hard to detect the existence of CO in the area since it is odorless and colorless. It will help if you have a carbon monoxide alarm, but not all establishments and houses can afford to have one installed. This deadly gas can quickly build up when the generator is running; hence becomes a health risk for people and animals in the area.
Therefore, generators must be operated outdoors where the exhaust is directed away from homes and buildings. Always be aware when people within the area get dizzy while using the generator. If this happens, immediately turn off the machine and go outdoors away from the generator.
Finally, ensure that the device has thoroughly cooled down before storing it. Also, do not keep fuels near any flammable materials. It is advisable to read the user manual carefully for its proper safekeeping.
Can I leave my portable generator out in the rain?
Portable generators are not built waterproof; hence they must never get wet either by rain or snow. If the machine absorbs moisture, it poses a severe risk for people in the immediate area. However, if it cannot be avoided to use a generator in the rain or snow, you must ensure the following:
- Users must have dry hands before touching any part of the generator. Also, make sure that the part of the machine is dry before touching it.
- The generator is placed on a dry and raised surface level surface where water cannot puddle under.
- The generator is covered under an open-sided structure, awning, or tarpaulin cover while running.
- The structure or tarpaulin should never touch and be at least two to three feet away from the device.
- Immediately turn off the portable generator if it gets wet or water seeps into the area where you placed the machine.
What is the proper way of maintaining a generator?
First and foremost, you must follow the maintenance schedule as recommended by the manufacturer. This schedule will depend on the brand, model, and type of generator you have.
Regular checkup and safety maintenance can make a big difference in the performance, usability, and lifespan of the device.
Below are the general maintenance requirements of a portable generator:
- Fuel cleaning and filtering
- Cooling system checking and upkeep
- Battery checkup and testing
And as a final tip, never put used fuel or oil into your generator; always use fresh ones instead. Gasoline must not be kept for more than three months. If you have to do so, you can add a fuel stabilizer.
Why do I need to ground my portable generator?
Always ground a portable generator properly when in use; otherwise, you and other people can get electrocuted. The grounding for various models and units may be different. But, the general steps are relatively similar.
Primarily, you will need the following tools and supplies to ground a generator:
- Copper wire
- Copper ground rod
- Wire strippers
- Mallet or sledgehammer
- Wrench or spanner
Improperly grounded generators pose risks and hazards, hence ensure that you know how to do it accurately. If you have doubts about the proper process, it would be best to consult the instruction manual or ask for professional help.
Do not be afraid of using a portable generator. As long as you use it properly, and follow the things that are written in the instruction manual, you are good to go.
It might also be wise to consult with experienced technicians and professional electricians before making any repairs to your machine.
Portable generators provide us with a reliable backup power source that we can move around wherever and whenever we need them.
Therefore, it is vital to keep your device safe and follow its proper maintenance. By doing so, you can ensure that your generator will last for many years, if not for a lifetime.