Do I Need A Portable Or A Whole House Standby Generator?

Having trouble with a whole house standby generator vs a portable emergency generator?

If you live in an area of British Columbia where power outages are frequent or sometimes lengthy, you may want to consider installing a backup generator. There are two options to consider, depending on your needs, which include:

  1. Portable emergency generator
  2. Whole house standby generator
Natural Gas Powered Backup Generator

Portable Emergency Backup Generator

If the power outages in your area are not as frequent and the power usually isn’t off for very long, you may only need to install an emergency generator vs a whole house standby generator. For most residential uses, a small, portable emergency backup generator is sufficient to power a limited number of lights and power outlets in your home. Portable generators do require a constant supply of fuel to keep running.

Portable emergency generators are usually inexpensive (under $1000) and can be purchased online, at your local hardware store. Our Premium Electric company in Abbotsford also offers generator sales and service. Most small residential emergency generators are under 4000 Watts whereas a mid-sized portable generator can be between 5,000 and 8,500 watts.

Call our Abbotsford electrician at 604-308-6195 to have the proper sub-panel and transfer switch installed so that you can operate your emergency portable generator safely.

Whole House Standby Generator

What if you live on a property that is more rural where power outages in your area are very frequent and the power usually remains off for an extended amount of time. In that case, you may want to consider installing a whole house standby generator vs a portable emergency generator.

Whole house generators are also great options for anyone with a home-based business or if someone in your household uses a medical device that needs a constant supply of electricity.

Whole-house backup generators can be portable (10,000 watts) or they can be permanently installed stationary generators (between 10,000 and 15,000 watts). Whole house standby generators do have a larger upfront cost but they can supply all the power your home needs when there is a power outage. Always have your whole house backup generators properly installed by a certified electrician.

For more information, call our Premium Electric electricians at 604-308-6195.

The other advantage of installing a whole house standby generator is that they automatically fire up when there is a power outage and the generator feeds the electrical panel directly. They can also be hooked up directly to your natural gas supply, which would not be affected during a power outage. Once the power is restored to your home from the grid, the stationary whole house standby generator automatically shuts itself off.

What Does A Backup Emergency Generator Power?

Depending on the size of your backup emergency generator, when there’s a power outage you can still supply a limited amount of power to your home. Backup emergency generators can be used to power your home’s lighting, heating, hot water, and power plugs to keep the electrical appliances in your home running. They can also power your home alarm system and your fire alarm system.

If you operate a farm or acreage that has consistent electrical requirements and you have no city water or sewer services, then a stationary whole house standby generator may be imperative for your livelihood.

Wattage Usage – Emergency vs Whole House Standby Generator

A portable backup generator to get you through a day or two of inconvenience is relatively expensive, but it does have limitations. Every electrical device draws a certain amount of wattage. How large an emergency backup generator you may require depends on your device wattages.

Here are some rough estimates for wattage usage:

  • Lights — 60 to 600 watts (depending on the number of lights)
  • Refrigerators — 600 watts
  • Freezers — 200 watts
  • Portable Heaters — 1500 watts
  • Computers — 60 to 300 watts
  • Window air conditioner — 1000 watts

To power, the items listed above you would need at least a 5,000-watt emergency backup generator. If you wish to power more you may need a whole house standby generator. For portable emergency generators, you will also need to have enough fuel on hand to run the portable generator for a day or two. If your home has no sub-panel or transfer switch, you will need long extension cords to run power from the backup generator into your home.

This post offers great information on Generator Maintenance Tips.

About Premium Electric

Along with 24-hour emergency electrical services, Abbotsford’s Premium Electric provides a wide range of electrical services for clients throughout the Fraser Valley including in Langley, Aldergrove, Surrey, Mission, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack.

Let our certified Abbotsford electricians help you install a standby or whole house backup generator to protect your home or your business. All our electrical work is warrantied.

If you have any questions or need more information about a standby vs whole house generator, please call Premium Electric at 604-308-6195 or send us an email.

See this Consumer Reports article for additional information on How to Choose the Right Size Generator.

You might also like this post entitled, 10 Downed Power Line Safety Tips.

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