Charlottesville has seen its fair share of power outages over the years and a generator can often provide that extra level of security and comfort you seek when unexpected blackouts occur.
Whole House Generators Bring Peace of Mind
You’ve seen what can happen during natural disasters, storms and power outages. A home generator will ensure your family has the power needed when faced with unexpected outages.
Portable or Whole House Generator?
For powering your home during an outage, there are 2 types of generators available:
- Portable generators can power 1 or more home appliances during blackouts. You’ll need to have fuel on hand and be able to add it to the generator as needed.
- Whole House Generators are installed permanently and connected to a fuel source, usually propane or natural gas. Some generators will power a few appliances. Others will power every appliance and electrical device in your home, including at-home medical equipment. Most whole-house generators start automatically during power outages.
How to Select the Right Generator For the Job
You know you want an alternate power source for your home. But how large a generator do you really need? If you’d prefer to skip the calculations, we will come to your Charlottesville area home and calculate this for you at no charge.
Have your calculator ready? Here’s how to calculate what size generator to buy:
Make a list of the appliances (and rooms in your house) you wish to power during an outage:
- Hot water heater?
- Well pump?
- Sump pump?
- Heat pump, boiler or furnace?
- Refrigerator and freezer?
- Lights, computers and home electronics, too?
- In-home medical equipment?
Calculate Power to Start Each Appliance
Ensure you’ll be able to start (not simply run) your appliances. The “starting wattage” is the amount of wattage needed to start an appliance with a motor; and it may be 2 to 3 times the wattage required to run the appliance. If you have owner’s manuals, check for your appliances’ listed start-up wattages (vs. the running wattage or the rated wattage). If you don’t have owner’s manuals, use our wattage calculator to estimate your power needs.
Calculate Your Total Power Needs
This is a two part equation.
- Total the “running wattage” for items you wish to power simultaneously. This number is the total running watts your generator needs to produce to run your equipment.
- Add to that total the highest of the “starting wattages” you wrote down in the step above. Now you know how much power you need to start and run your appliances and equipment!
With the knowledge you now have about your power needs, you can comparison shop for generators within your wattage requirement.
Warning: Never Connect a Generator to Your Home’s Wiring!
If you intend to connect a generator to your home’s electrical system, hire a qualified electrician to install a transfer switch.
Shopping for Portable Generators
Portable generators provide dependable power during power outages, and can also be used to run your power tools or to make recreational areas more comfortable where there is no electricity. All Briggs & Stratton portable generators are powered by high-quality Briggs& Stratton gas engines that offer power you can count on.
To shop for a portable generator, follow these steps:
- Determine your power needs. Portable generators can range from 900 to 10,000 watts
- Consider the ease of transporting your generator. Most Briggs & Stratton portable generators come with wheels, and some are light enough to carry. If you require wheels, you’ll love our never-flat, puncture-resistant wheels for easier transportation over rugged terrain like construction sites.
- Choose a generator with at least 10 hours of run time. This allows contractors to make it through a full day’s work and home owners to get a full night’s sleep without re-fueling.
- Count the outlets you’ll need. This depends on how many appliances you’ll need to power at once. Check your appliances to see what type of outlets you’ll need. See diagram below for outlet types.
- For recreational or job site usage, list the tools or appliances you will use at the same time.
- Lights and tools? Will you need to power work lights along with your tools?
- What about a radio?
- On camping or fishing trips, how many outdoor cooking, heating or entertainment appliances or accessories will you and your family or friends be using at once?
Portable Generator Features to Consider
- Weather Protected Control Panel Protects your control panel from rain, dirt, dust and debris.
- Outlets All outlets are circuit breaker protected. Select the generator with the types of outlets you need.
- Fuel Tanks Larger fuel tanks provide longer uninterrupted run times.
- Alternator Produces the electricity. PowerSurge™ Alternators deliver greater surge wattage for extra starting power.
- Engine OHV (OverHead Valve) engines provide longer life, longer run times, greater fuel efficiency and quieter running.
- Muffler Helps reduce engine noise. Look for the SuperSilencer™ muffler for extra noise reduction.
- Wheels Look for pneumatic wheels for easier transportation over rugged terrain like construction sites.