How Do You Know What Size Generator To Buy – Business generators play an important role in your business continuity plan. By providing emergency power or emergency power to your building during a power outage, commercial standby generators allow critical facilities such as elevators and security systems to continue operating. A standby generator also minimizes business and data loss caused by a computer system failure.
However, properly sizing a generator depends on a number of factors. Before you proceed with purchasing your commercial generator, you must consider your business’s needs and your building’s technical limitations.
How Do You Know What Size Generator To Buy
Commercial emergency generators power a number of important security systems that function in an emergency, including fire alarms, fire pumps, security systems and emergency lighting. Different buildings require different levels of emergency power to keep these life-saving systems operational in the event of a power outage.
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For this reason, most large commercial generator installations in the United States require an engineering plan and engineering oversight to ensure compliance with the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In addition to regulatory compliance, not knowing how to properly size a generator can lead to other problems.
First, make a list of all the things you want to power with your backup generator. This varies greatly depending on the nature of your business. So don’t make the mistake of quickly glossing over this step.
Factors for sizing a commercial generator include, but are not limited to, single- or three-phase power, voltage selection, and overall power output. Note that most commercial applications require reserves or additional capacity, especially for large engines operated independently by multiple units.
Once you know which devices you need to power with your generator, you need to estimate your business’s peak power usage. Depending on the type of business you have and your electricity needs, you can use different methods to determine your full capacity.
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The square footage method is commonly used for retail locations such as grocery stores, restaurants, and convenience stores.
In addition to estimating your total power needs, it is important to determine the starting load and operating load for each item.
For backup use, you can calculate the load on a staggered start for multiple units to distribute the load. Use the highest Lock Rotor (LR) rating of any item you plan to run.
If you cannot determine the wattage of an item, use the formula Watt = Volts x Amps. Only motor-driven items require additional starting voltage. Remember: For accurate sizing, convert all amps to kilowatts.
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After you’ve calculated how much power you need from a commercial backup generator, the next step is to identify the generator unit that meets your needs. To help you choose, manufacturers provide performance charts for every product they sell.
First, find a device with the required power rating to power each of your chosen items. Generators are usually rated in kilowatts and are available in a variety of capacities. If your needs are between normal values, choose the next higher capacity.
To avoid the pitfalls that come with not knowing the size of a generator, consider hiring a backup power expert. General Power can help you find the right generator for your specific needs.
Our energy experts will work with you to understand your needs and help you choose the right unit for your business. Call 1-888-819-5646 to speak with one of our friendly staff. When purchasing a generator, the question that often arises is, “What size generator do I need?” This guide will help answer that question so you know what to get.
What Size Generator Do I Need?
According to electricity company statistics, there are 147 major power outages in the United States each year. In most cases these are weather-related events. Experts say this will only get worse as climate change impacts our world.
Some utilities spend billions to protect their systems from superstorms and other natural disasters. Still others are hesitant to spend because of costs and community resistance.
This is why more and more people are investing in generators for home use. If you’re thinking about doing the same thing, you’re probably wondering what size generator do I need?
Well, it depends on a few factors. Let’s take a look at some important questions that need to be answered before purchasing a power generator.
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How you choose a generator depends on what you need to plan for or manage. In the electrical world, everything is measured in watts. Your larger appliances like refrigerators, freezers, and ovens require a lot of wattage to operate. Light bulbs, fans and radios don’t need anything to operate.
Heating and air conditioning systems typically use the most electricity, especially large, commercial units. You can look around your home and find each appliance’s wattage, usually on the factory label. Or you can download the Watt guide online.
Like everything in the electrical world, generators are measured in watts. Typically, two wattages are listed for each generator. These are running votes and startup votes.
Your devices use more power or watts when starting up than when they are running. You must know both numbers for each device or you will overload your generator.
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A good tip is to go room by room in your house and list all of your devices. Don’t forget to include temporary appliances such as vacuum cleaners, blenders, coffee makers, etc.
Now that you’ve made your list, you need to decide which devices you don’t want to be without. If you live in a cold climate, heating should be a priority. Snowstorms can knock out power for days, and you and your family can be in danger if you don’t have heat.
The same applies to the air conditioning. If you’re experiencing a hot summer with extreme heat and a storm or hurricane knocks out power for a week, how do you stay cool?
Next comes your freezer and refrigerator. Everyone needs to eat something and you don’t want your food to spoil before you can eat it. After that, you’ll need your oven or another way to prepare your food. You may also need it to boil water if a disaster impacts drinking water sources.
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After you’ve prioritized your electricity, you’ll want to come up with two numbers. The first is the minimum wattage you need. Everything else is the maximum number that can be operated as if the power was still coming from a utility line.
The more electricity a generator produces, the higher the cost. So when pricing a generator, start with your maximum. If you can afford a new generator to power everything, you can call a competent supplier and have it installed.
If you think the generator that powers everything is too expensive, you should work backwards until you find a generator in your price range. Luckily, at Vance Electric, we have a wide selection of generators to power homes of all sizes. We also offer competitive pricing to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
You have chosen a generator and now you need to power it. The most popular fuel source for running home generators is propane. You may already have a tank on your property.
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Propane is relatively inexpensive and you can store enough of it to power the generator for days or even weeks. Gasoline is another option. This requires planning to ensure you have gas before the power goes out. Both fuels are flammable, so storing gas in your garage is a problem you don’t have to have with a propane tank outside the home.
Just because you don’t have the power to run everything at once doesn’t mean you can’t run everything. You have to turn some things off while others are running. Yes, that means you may have to skip cooking while you do laundry, or you may need to turn off the heat or air conditioning.
A Vance Electric factory-trained technician will install your generator using what is called a transfer switch. This transfer switch redirects power from the utility company to your generator to power your home. One of the benefits of a transfer switch is that we can choose where your power goes.
We can install a small fuse box that only supplies power to the appliances, rooms, etc. that you want your generator to shut off. This allows us to control the total wattage you can draw at one time.
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Another way to avoid overloading your generator is to turn off all circuit breakers and then only turn them on when you need them. This requires some management. Therefore, make sure that these circuit breakers are closed when you are finished using the circuit.
The preferred method is to use a transfer switch as it limits the amount of current your system can draw.
For this reason we can always adjust this number to be less than what your generator can handle. Manually monitoring the process leaves room for human error and can overload your generator.
When you have done your
Choose The Right Size Generator
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