Log In   ·   Become A Member

Backup Generators: Is Bigger Better?

Sponsored Guest Post by Thomas Ickovic

  |   1 Comment · Print Article

Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on homes in the Hamptons. (Courtesy Photo)

With fresh memories of Hurricane Sandy, many local homeowners are thinking about purchasing a backup electric generator. Losing power brings the hardships of no lights, no heat, no air conditioning, and in many cases, no water. Without water, your toilets won't flush, the showers are dry, and even brushing your teeth becomes a challenge.

Backup generators come in a wide array of sizes and features. There are many small and inexpensive portable units that can run your water pump, refrigerator, and even a few lights.

Electric ranges and cooktops consume a lot of power, so a portable generator will likely be too small to help. If you have a gas-fueled range, a small generator will easily provide the small amount of power required to ignite the flame (a match will also do it).

Power needs for heating are typically relatively small, but air conditioning is another matter. The A/C compressors consume a lot of power, and would require the larger "whole house" varieties, at much higher costs.

With a "whole house" system, the big decisions are the size of the generator, and equally important, the capacity of the fuel storage system. When the power goes out in a large area, it is often impossible to get fresh fuel supplies. Pictures of long lines at gas stations after major power disruptions are all too familiar.

How big a generator do I need? This is sometimes a difficult decision, as bigger is usually better (more electrical systems will work normally). However, this decision is offset by the increased amount of fuel that bigger generators require.

Most modern homes typically have a 200-amp service entry. To provide the same amount of power, you would need approximately a 48 - 50 kW generator. This size typically uses a large (5.7L) 8-cylinder engine, which is a lot bigger than your average family car uses. Obviously, it will use more fuel than driving your car down the highway at 60 MPH.

On the other hand, a 100-amp generator (22 - 25kW) will use half the fuel, and provide plenty of power. Houses never consume all 200-amps at one time. If you exclude the non-essential, large power consumers (the sauna, steam room, electric dryer and range, etc.), 100-amps of power should be adequate to energize everything else in the house as needed.

In other words, if your stored fuel supply only gets you a day or two, the expense of a "whole house" generator might not be justified, particularly when the power is out for a week or more.

Fuel storage capacity for your backup generator is typically the biggest limitation of any system. When purchasing any backup system, make sure this aspect is not overlooked, or given too little attention.


Tom and his business partner, Bill Milia, are currently working on a variety of projects in the Hamptons, including additions, renovations and new construction. Over the past 40 years they have built a portfolio of beautiful, energy efficient, and highly functional homes. www.designbuildhamptons.com


Guest (Karen Scheuermann) from Exton, PA says::
wondering why the author didn't talk about load shedding for the a/c and other 240volt appliances. this could be a big help in offering power via a 17-20kW generator.
May 29, 2014 2:55 pm

 

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
Location:*
Comments:*
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
Question:*
What color is the sky?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
 
 
 
http://www.hamptons.com/gallery/ads/2362.gif
http://www.hamptons.com/gallery/ads/2003.gif
Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Aimee Fitzpatrick Martin, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Considered a West of the Shinnecock Canal expert with a 5-star Zillow ranking, Aimee specializes in the luxury and waterfront markets in Quogue, Westhampton Beach, Remsenburg, East Quogue and Hampton Bays. With exceptional communication skills and a buttoned-up approach to every deal, she is highly skilled in the art of the negotiation process. Understanding the nuances of buying and selling waterfront homes, especially on Dune Road, is a specialty.