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A Power Generator Shopping Guide

A Power Generator Shopping Guide

Power outages across the United States are occurring more frequently and for longer durations. The number of weather-related power outages increased by roughly 78% during 2011–2021, compared to 2000–2010, according to a report by Climate Central. And, at that same time, the duration of power outages in the U.S. grew from an average of 3.5 hours to more than seven hours. Getting stuck in the dark without air conditioning, a furnace, water heater, a cooking source and electricity for medical devices and other emergency equipment has caused many homeowners and business owners to purchase generators for power outages. 

Climate data and weather tracking shows that Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama residents are most at risk from the increasing severity of tropical storms. Still, from 2000–2021, Texas had the most weather-related major power outages, which are defined as events impacting more than 50,000 customers. In the South and on the East Coast, hurricane season brings with it extreme winds and flood waters. And that season leads right into deep winter in the Northeast and Midwest with the potential for freezing rain and blizzard conditions.

What is a Power Generator?

So, what is a power generator and why is it useful? Running on a gas-powered engine, a generator provides electricity in the case of a power outage. It does so by turning an alternator. The engine starts automatically when the outage occurs and starts generating power through this unit. The alternator takes the mechanical energy created by the engine and converts it, thus providing electrical energy. Portable generators are ideal for camping trips and small projects far away from an electrical socket. However, these compact power stations are not large enough to power an entire house or large, heavy-duty machinery.

What Size Generator is Needed to Power a House?

So, what size generator is needed to power a house? A residential or business structure typically requires a home generator that can produce at least 5,000 watts and has a large gas tank, which can run for many hours and potentially overnight. The T08071 FIRMAN Tri Fuel Generator is an excellent option for a house power outage. It uses an electric start and can operate off natural gas, propane or gasoline for up to 12 hours.

How to Use a Generator to Power a House

Safely operating a power generator is crucial, especially at a time when emergency responders are likely overwhelmed. Never operate a propane generator inside a small, enclosed space that can fill up quickly with carbon monoxide from the exhaust. Best practice is to keep your emergency generator outside. The National Fire Protection Association requires five feet of clearance from openings in your home, such as windows or doors. Before operating, make sure you check out these four generator maintenance tips from the NAPA experts.

The Best Power Generators at NAPAonlineFIRMAN P03607 PORTABLE GENERATOR

Under NAPA’s Tools & Equipment category, we offer a wide selection of power generators from top brands like FIREMAN, BE Power Equipment and Milwaukee Tool. When shopping for a power generator for home use, you should first determine your most likely needs in an emergency. Do you need a battery-powered generator that is small and quiet? Are you searching for a diesel power generator or natural gas power generator that have excellent fuel efficiency? 

One of the most popular FIRMAN generators is the FIRMAN P03607 with 4,550 starting watts and 3,650 running watts. The 5-gallon tank provides up to 14 hours of run-time on a cool engine. The FIRMAN 4550 is perfect for any long-term camping in an RV thanks to the multi-feature control panel with covered outlets. You can also check out the slightly smaller FIRMAN W03383, often called the FIRMAN 3650, for camping and tailgating. Additionally, the WH03042 FIRMAN inverter generator comes with a 1.8-gallon gasoline tank that is designed to provide 10 hours of run-time, which is guaranteed quiet enough to meet National Park standards. 

While the cost of an emergency power generator is a factor, the best generator for backup power is convenient to store, easy to maintain and outfitted with a range of plugs and ports. The NAPA 6000 Generator has a durable roll cage frame design, folding handle, 10-inch heavy-duty wheels, a multi-feature control panel and a low-oil shut off mechanism. Additionally, take a look at our line of Schumacher Electric power generators. These lithium portable power generators can run for up to 14 hours and recharge in less than 7 hours depending on the model. 

Purchasing Portable & Home Power Generators

Of course, the best advice when purchasing a portable or home power generator is to routinely inspect it when operation is not critical so you can avoid unexpected problems during an emergency. Nothing should stand in your way of preparedness during hurricane season or blizzard conditions. Participating NAPA Auto Parts stores offer a convenient Buy Online, Pick Up in Store option, as well as Free One-Day Shipping on more than 160,000 items. Join the NAPA Rewards program now to start racking up points on all your garage tool purchases. You will earn 1 Point for every $1 you spend. Collect 100 points, and automatically get $5 off your next order!

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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