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Backup Generators for the Home: What you need to know


When the power goes out for a few minutes, it is just a simple inconvenience. However, if the outage lasts any longer than that, it can put your family and home at risk. This is especially true if someone in your family relies on medical equipment, such as an oxygen machine, to keep them healthy. In order to avoid going without power during big storms or other disasters, it is important to have a backup generator for your home. A generator can give you enough electricity to preserve your food, help you see in the dark, run lifesaving medical equipment and give you the temperature control you require.

When choosing a generator, it is important to select one that will be powerful enough to cater to all of your appliances, including any medical equipment that you need to run. It is a good idea to go through your home and inspect the wattage and power requirements of the appliances you plan on using during an outage. It also helps to calculate the square footage of your home, as this plays a factor in how much electricity certain devices use. After adding these together, you can choose a generator that has more power than this to avoid overloading it.

Safety Precautions

While home generators are usually safe, misuse can lead to a number of dangerous problems in the home.

Avoid Connecting to Your Home's Wiring and Electrical Outlets

While it might seem convenient to hook up the generator directly into the wiring of your home or by plugging it into an outlet, it can actually be deadly. In some cases, the generator backfeeds electricity in the power lines connected to the house. This will cause them to surge and send powerful voltage into your home, potentially causing fires and ruining your appliances.

The best way to install a generator is to use a heavy duty power cord and then plug needed appliances in directly on the cord.

Watch Out for Carbon Monoxide

Because a generator emits carbon monoxide, it is not safe to use one in an enclosed space. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can cause rapid death. If you do have to keep your generator indoors, rely on a carbon monoxide detector to help alert you of the presence of the gas.

Keep Your Energy Use Controlled

Never use more electricity than the generator can provide. This can cause a fire and seriously damage both your generator and the appliances you have plugged in. Always calculate how many appliances you can safely use at one time.

Which Appliances Are Okay to Plug In?

Depending on the size of generator, you can generally plug in any appliances you would normally use. For example, a 7,500-watt generator is great to keep your refrigerator, lights, and essential appliances running without an issue. With a 12,000-watt generator, however, you can run much more, including televisions, fans, lights, computers, refrigerators, and even space heaters. It all depends on how much functionality you want to have when the power goes out.

If you are still confused about using a generator, call David Gray Electrical Services! We can provide you with expert advice on choosing a generator and even help you install it in your home.