It's been tough weeks for many Québécois, as freezing rain has left hundreds of thousands of households without power. When an ice storm knocks out the electricity, it's not just an inconvenience – it can be a serious threat to your safety and comfort. That's why it's important to have a backup plan in place, and for many people in Canada, that means owning a generator.
In this blog post, we'll discuss the importance of generators during emergency situations, highlight some of the most popular models in Canada, and emphasize the importance of regular maintenance and servicing. Whether you're a seasoned generator owner or considering purchasing one for the first time, read on to learn how this powerful tool can help you weather the storm in Canada.
Standby Vs. Portable Generators: Powering Through the Storm
Standby generators and portable generators serve different purposes and have different features. Here's a breakdown of the main differences between the two:
Power output: Portable generators are usually smaller and less powerful than standby generators. Unlike portable generators, which are typically designed to power only a few appliances and devices, home generators are designed to power whole homes or businesses.
Fuel source: Standby generators are usually powered by natural gas or propane, which is supplied by a permanent connection to your home's gas line. Portable generators typically run on gasoline, propane, or diesel fuel.
Installation: Standby generators are permanently installed outside your home or business, and are connected to your home's electrical panel through a transfer switch. Portable generators are designed to be moved around and are not permanently installed.
Convenience: In the event of a power outage, standby generators automatically begin to run. Manually connecting and setting up portable generators can be time-consuming and inconvenient during an emergency.
Cost: Standby generators are typically more expensive than portable generators, due to their larger size, power output, and permanent installation. Portable generators are more affordable, but may not provide enough power for larger homes or businesses.
The decision between a standby generator and a portable generator ultimately comes down to your specific needs and budget. If you require power for your entire home or business during an outage and have the budget for a larger, more powerful generator, a standby generator may be a better option.
If you only need to power a few essential appliances and devices and want a more portable and affordable solution, you may want to consider a portable generator.
Can I Use a Portable Generator to Power a Whole House?
It is technically possible to use a portable generator to power a whole house, but it is important to understand the limitations and risks involved.
In general, portable generators are designed to power only a limited number of appliances and devices, including a refrigerator, a few lights, and a television. The wattage capacity varies from 1,000 to 10,000 watts, depending on the model. In order to power your entire home, you would need a generator with a large wattage capacity, and even then you would need to carefully select the appliances and devices you want to use.
In addition, running a portable generator to power your whole house can be risky. If not installed properly, a generator can back feed electricity into the power grid. This can be dangerous for utility workers and cause damage to your appliances.
A transfer switch is essential for connecting your generator to your home's electrical panel. Also, when using a generator, it's crucial to follow all safety precautions.
While portable generators are capable of powering a whole house, they aren't recommended due to their potential risks and limitations. It might be a better idea to use a standby generator to power your entire home during an outage.
What is the Best Generator for Home use during blackouts?
There are many different types of generators on the Canadian market, each with its own set of features and benefits. When it comes to choosing the best generator for home use during blackouts, there are several factors to consider, including:
When you experience an outage, you have to figure out how much power you'll need to keep your home running. Make a list of the essential appliances and devices you'll need to power, and look for a generator with enough wattage to handle your needs.
Generators can run on a variety of fuels, including gasoline, propane, and diesel. Consider which fuel is readily available in your area, and choose a generator that runs on that fuel.
Look for a generator with a long run time, so you don't have to constantly refuel it during an outage. Some generators also have fuel-efficient features, such as automatic idle control, that can help conserve fuel.
Generators can be loud, so if you have close neighbors or live in a quiet neighborhood, look for a quiet generator with a lower noise level.
If you need to move your generator around frequently or take it with you on the go, consider a portable generator with wheels and handles for easy transport.
These factors suggest that Cummins Quiet Connect series, Generac, Winco, Champion and Honda generator in Canada are some of the best generators for home use during blackouts. You should research generators and choose one that fits your budget and needs.
How to Keep My Generator Running Smoothly?
Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring that your generator operates efficiently and reliably when you need it most. Here are some important steps to keep in mind for maintaining your generator:
- Check the oil: Check the oil level in your generator regularly, and change the oil according to the manufacturer's instructions. Dirty or low oil levels can cause your generator to run less efficiently or even cause damage to the engine.
- Replace the air filter: The air filter in your generator should be replaced regularly to ensure that the engine receives adequate airflow. A dirty air filter can reduce the performance of your generator and cause it to overheat.
- Inspect the fuel system: Make sure there are no leaks or damage to the fuel system, and replace any damaged components. The fuel tank should also be stabilized with a fuel stabilizer to prevent deterioration.
- Clean the spark plugs: The spark plugs of your generator can become dirty or worn, resulting in poor performance or failure to start. In accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, clean or replace the spark plugs.
- Test the battery: If your generator has a battery, check the battery terminals for corrosion and make sure the battery is fully charged. A dead or weak battery can prevent your generator from starting.
- Check the cooling system: The cooling system in your generator should be checked regularly to ensure that it is operating correctly. Check the coolant level and replace any damaged hoses or belts.
- Run the generator regularly: It's a good idea to run your generator for a few minutes every month even if you don't need it. This will keep the engine lubricated and prevent corrosion.
By following these maintenance steps, you can ensure that your generator is always ready to provide reliable backup power when you need it most. It's also imperative to consult the manufacturer's instructions and schedule any recommended maintenance tasks, such as oil changes and filter replacements, according to the recommended intervals.
After the Freezing Rain: Why Servicing Your Generator is Vital
If you own a generator and have used it repeatedly during freezing rain and blackout situations, it's a good idea to get it serviced by an expert after the storm has passed. Using your generator often in harsh weather conditions can put extra strain on its components, and you should keep them checked and maintained so that they are ready for the next time.
The rule of thumb is to have your generator serviced by a professional at least once a year, even if you haven't experienced any problems. This annual service should include a thorough inspection of all components, as well as any necessary maintenance or repairs.
Even so, if your generator has been used extensively during an emergency, such as multiple power outages due to freezing rain, it's a good idea to get it checked sooner rather than later. A professional generator inspection should be performed as soon as possible in these situations to ensure that your generator is functioning correctly and ready for the next crisis.
Our Staff Pick: Best Generators for Power Outage
Reliability, efficiency, and noise level are all factors to consider when choosing a generator for power outages. Volts Energies experts selected the Cummins Quiet Connect series of generators as our top choice for home use during an emergency power outage following extensive research and testing.
The Quiet Connect series standby generators are designed for reliable backup power in the event of a power outage. A key feature of the Quiet Connect series is its low noise level, making it the perfect choice for residential areas.
The generators in this series operate at a noise level of around 65 decibels, which is comparable to the sound of normal conversation.
Along with quiet operation, the Quiet Connect generators also offer a range of advanced features that ensure efficient and reliable operation. These include a weather-resistant enclosure to protect the generator from the elements, as well as an intelligent control system that monitors the generator's performance and automatically adjusts its settings as needed.
Overall, the Quiet Connect series of generators from Cummins is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a reliable, efficient, and quiet standby generator for their home. With their advanced features and low noise level, these generators are sure to provide you with peace of mind and reliable backup power in the event of a power outage.