Keeping The Lights On: Choosing The Best Portable Generator To Power Your Home During Cyclone Season
Dealing with the occasional cyclone is a fact of life in many parts of Australia, and while modern safety procedures and accurate forecasts have taken much of the deadly risk out of these weather systems, they can still wreak havoc on the power lines and infrastructure in your area.
Consequently, many homeowners in cyclone-prone regions choose to hire portable generators when storms are approaching, to make sure that vital equipment in their homes (such as freezers, air conditioners and medical equipment) receive the power they need even if mains electricity fails.
However, there are a huge variety of portable generators on offer, and deciding which is best for your power needs can be challenging. To help steer you in the right direction, ask yourself the following questions when shopping around for a hired portable generator:
How much power will I need?
Naturally, we'd all prefer to keep all of our electrical systems up and running during a cyclone, but doing so would require massive amounts of power and, subsequently, a very expensive generator. As such, you should try to calculate the bare minimum amount of power you need to keep essential appliances functioning and choose a generator capable of servicing them without going overboard.
To do this, you should calculate the amount of watts each of your essential pieces of equipment requires to function (this information can generally be found on labels or in manufacturer's manuals), and choose a generator that can produce slightly more power than the sum total of wattage you require -- this buffer helps account for power loss caused by extension cords and cheap wiring, and prevents brown-outs which can damage sensitive electronics.
What is the generator's emissions rating?
Portable generators give off a variety of noxious fumes while powered up, including deadly carbon monoxide, and many people have survived the most savage cyclones only to be killed by their innocuous generators. Consequently, you should always run your generator outdoors to prevent toxic gas buildup -- however, limited extension cord lengths mean that your generator may still be located too close to your home for comfort.
You should, therefore, try to find a generator that produces the lowest possible amount of harmful emissions, preventing large amounts of exhaust gases from entering your home through nearby doors and windows. This generally means opting for a modern generator with sophisticated emission-reducing components, such as catalytic converters and exhaust filters; these modern generators may be slightly more expensive to hire but are well worth the extra investment.
How long will your power be knocked out for?
Obviously, there is no way of knowing for sure how long a cyclone will deprive you of power for. However, as a general rule, the larger the storm and the more rural and isolated your location, the longer you can expect to go without power.
If you live in an area that cannot expect power to be restored promptly, you should opt for one of the more fuel-efficient generators you can find, allowing you to stretch out your limited fuel reserves for as long as possible. This often means sacrificing power output in the name of efficiency, but you should be careful not to overload a small, efficient generator with excessive power demands -- try to strike a balance, and eliminate any electronic appliances you don't absolutely require.
Contact a company like Total Generators for more information and assistance.