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This article has over 596,085 views, and 12 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader approved badge. A portable generator can provide emergency electrical power to a home when the main power source, especially that from the national grid, goes out. It does not have to provide power to all the appliances in the home but only to essential services like lighting, TV, fridge, etc. Stoves, air conditioners and tumble driers among others use too much power to be supplied by a typical portable generator. Determine the essential appliances in the home you cannot do without. A petrol-driven generator with a rated power of about 3500W will serve for lighting, TV, fans and a fridge or freezer.
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The rated power is usually written on the body of the generator and it is that power the generator can deliver continuously for an average of 12 hours on a single tank of fuel. List the appliances and electrical devices you plan to use, then look at their wattage or power requirement. A typical microwave, for instance, uses 1500 watts, while a whole circuit of lights with CFC bulbs may only require 150 watts. Refrigerators use about 1200 – 1500 watts, but have a starting capacitor which increases the wattage momentarily when the compressor starts.
There are several different wiring systems that can be used to connect a generator to a home. The main two are discussed here. Contact your local Department of Labor and Industries, Planning Department, or Power Company to find out what is legal in your area. This is a slightly more expensive piece of equipment which will require a professional install. However, it is the only guaranteed legal option and it is accordingly the safest.