Want to buy a generator? A generator is a big purchase for a homeowner or a business owner. They can be expensive, and there are multiple types and brands to choose from. For someone who isn’t ready, the process can be a bit overwhelming, especially since these are not inexpensive. There’s a lot riding on how this one machine runs, especially if the generator is part of an emergency system. But, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating if you’ve done some research.
There are many companies that sell standby and portable generators, and there are many that offer service for emergency power systems. To avoid being overwhelmed, it can be helpful to take a couple of steps before you jump into a purchase. Knowledge and understanding of the various options may make it easier to make this big purchase next time you buy a generator.
Items to include in Your Generator Research
It helps to know exactly what type of generator you’re looking for, what it does, and what it requires. Take these steps in your research and you’re sure to buy with certainty that you’re getting the system you need. Consider these things in your research into specific units:
- Compare the Uses. Not all generators are appropriate for the same uses. Because standby generators are good in some situations and portable generators are good for others, if you know exactly how you exp0ect to use it, you’ll have a good idea of what type of generator you should focus on.
- Compare the Appropriate Run Times. Not all generators can run for long periods of time. (Look at how long each generator type can run, and select a model that has enough power to run for the specific period of time you think you’ll need.
- Consider fuel types. This can sometimes raise the overall cost of a generator. Some models use more fuel than others, and some fuel (like diesel, for example) is more expensive than others. If you choose a generator that must be refilled often and needs expensive fuel, you should budget for increased costs.
- Consider availability of service professionals. The last thing you want is to have a problem and find out that a service professional cannot come out for an extended period of time. A company that installs and services generators that also has a large team of trained technicians to provide system service is a must.
Compare Generator Brands
There are a variety of companies that manufacture and sell generators, and there’s no shortage of information available. The best place to start that research is the different generator manufacturers; you may want to talk with people you know who have the type of generator you’ve decided on as well.
- Look at the Generator Brands and Their Reputations. Depending on the size and style of your generator, there are any number of manufacturers to know. Each designs their generator motor with certain power and efficiency levels in mind. Knowing the power and capability of the engine is important, especially if you’re in an area where a standby generator may be required for extended use. Some questions you might want to consider include: Does warranty include mileage and travel labor? What does the warranty cover- does it include the engine, tanks and enclosure, and automatic transfer switch?
- Learn about the controls for your new generator. If the electronic controls aren’t easy to understand, you may have trouble when you need to use your generator. Get some training in your new generator’s controls when you do have the system installed if they seem complicated.
- Know something about the engine powering your generator. Cummins, Caterpillar, Kohler Generac and MTU are some of the big names in generator manufacturing. To ensure your comfort and confidence in your power source, it’d be good to ensure that you know a bit of the history of the company powering your generator. Knowing the answer to questions like “How long has this engine been used and in production?” can go a long way to relieving anxiety about a big purchase like this.
- Ask questions about the generator if you have them. From reliability, to energy consumption, you’ll probably have questions. Don’t hesitate to ask, whether you’re asking the sales professional who is explaining the different units, or to do your own research.
It’s natural that you might feel like you’re a bit in over your head if you’re faced with the surprise need to buy a generator. But, with a little research and the confidence to ask questions, you should be able to find the perfect generator for your intended use.