Tips on Purchasing a Standby Generator for Your Home

Purchasing a back-up generator is a good idea, especially if your area is prone to power outages and severe storms. However, you need to put some thought into the purchase and make sure that you follow certain steps to maintain the effectiveness and safety of your generator.

The following are seven tips you should definitely be aware of as you make a purchase on a generator:

Make Sure You Can Get Your Generator Serviced in Your Area

At some point in the future, you're likely to need service on your generator. You might be tempted to purchase a generator online because of a great deal you find. However, you need to look into the availability of parts and electrical services in your area before making such a purchase.

Don't Keep the Generator Too Close to Your House

Keeping a generator too close to your house can put you at risk of certain hazards like carbon monoxide poisoning or fire. Make sure that you're not storing your generator within 20 feet of your home

Get the Appropriate Transfer Switch

While you may be able to hook devices with plugs up to your generator, running certain appliances in your home like water heaters and furnaces will typically require a transfer switch. 

The manual transfer switch that works along with a generator is a small circuit breaker that should be set up next to the generator's electrical panel. When you purchase your generator, ask the salesperson about which manual transfer switch you will need to get things up and running. 

Buy Some Heavy-duty Extension Cords

If a time comes when you need to run devices in your home off your generator, heavy-duty extension cords may come in handy. Extension cords are especially necessary if you don't have an appropriate transfer switch.

Consider the Size

One of the most important considerations in purchasing a generator is finding the right size. You can calculate what amount of wattage you'll need by adding up the wattages on all of your different appliances. Again, you might want to ask a salesperson or someone with expertise in generator operation for advice on the appropriate wattage for your generator. 

Protect your Electronics

Some inexpensive generators might damage sensitive electronic devices like computers and televisions. If you want to protect your electronics, you need to invest in a good quality generator.

Inverter-type generators are the least likely to cause damage to electronics. However, they also tend to be expensive. Look for generators with "power conditioning" if you wish to prevent generator use from damaging electronics in your home.