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Mark Donovan of HomeAdditionPlus.com discusses tips on buying portable generators and how to use portable generators safely.
Tags:How to Properly Use and Buy a Portable Generator,Buying Portable generators,Gas powered portable generator,Portable generator safety,Portable Generator transfer switch,Portable Generators
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Portable Generators by HomeAdditionPlus.com
Hi, I am Mark Donovan from HomeAdditionPlus.com and today, I am going to talk you about portable generators and how to properly select one, and how to use one around your home.
The first thing to look for when looking at portable generators is the maximum power rating of the device and the surge power rating of the device. In this particular model, it operates 5,700 watts running and up to a surge of 7,125 watts. It is important to understand that because a portable generator is not going to run all the appliances in your home.
When selecting a portable generator for your home, it is important to understand the power requirements in terms of watts for the various appliances within your home. In particular, you look at a table like this that is in the operator manual, this particular unit, and you will see items like a water well pump is a thousand watts continuous running, a peak or surge of 1,500 watts. Electric water heater is 4,000 watts running, whether it is surge or continuous. And light bulbs are approximately 75 watts or 75-watt bulb, et cetera.
So when designing a portable generator for various appliances in your home, you need to sum up the important things that you are going to have operating in your home during a power outage and determine whether or not of the portable generator that you want to buy is efficient enough for the items you need to operate. Normally, you would want a water well pump, a refrigerator, a few lights, and your furnace system to enable to heat the house.
After purchasing a portable generator, it is important to read the manual fully. There are a lot of safety precautions that need to be taken prior to turning on a portable generator. First and foremost, it is important that every portable generator be properly grounded before turning it on. Second of all, you need to understand how to fill it with gasoline properly, how to use with extension cords, et cetera. Again, make sure you fully read the operator’s manual before even turning on a portable generator.
Another to look out when purchasing a portable generator are the outlets that allow you to plug in extension cords into the generator itself. Here, we are putting a 120 full extension cord. There is also even a slot for a 240 volt, 30 Amp extension cord, that would normally be used to power transfer switch. It is important when using extension cords that you use the appropriate gauge extension cord for the appliances that you are trying to power via the generator.
When your portable generator has been designed to fit a transfer box within your home, you need a 240 volt outlet plug and your appropriate gauge wire. Here, we have 10-3 wire for 30 Amp-type circuit breaker, and then this plugs directly into the generator itself. And at the far end, it plugs into an outlet fixture that is appropriately designed for handling again a female 240 volt plug. If your portable generator is designed to operate in your home, you will have a box mat on the outside of your home, in this case, with a 240 volt plug, 30 amp gauge that can mount to the underside of the box to drive a transfer box within the home or garage.
If you have designed your portable generator to work inside your home to see multiple sources within the home, then you are going to need a transfer box or in this case, a sub panel that has been appropriately designed so that it works in conjunction with the main panel. And basically, what is going on here is we have a 60 Amp, 240 volt circuit breaker that can be turned off or turned on to allow the main panel to drive the sub-panel or have the generator drive the sub panel. There is an interlock mechanism here that prevents the main panel from being turned on when the generator is being turned on and vice versa. This is extremely important so that you do not back drive your system and the lines out to the telephone poles and potentially injure our line work.
The remaining circuits that we have in here are the key ones that are important to think about when using a portable generator. You wan