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Thread: What is important when buying a generator?

  1. #1

    What is important when buying a generator?

    OK, so after spending three nights and two days without electricity, power is back in Lancaster. I was not too worried, to be honest, the only thing that I was not happy about is the fact that I have two freezers and two fridges full of food. Thankfully with getting 6 hours of power yesterday (after two days of power shortage) and not opening said freezers and fridges, the food is OK.

    It got me thinking though, maybe look for a small generator. So what are the important points to pay attention to, when buying a generator? It will serve as an intermittent solution for a couple of hours a day (if it can handle longer use then so much the better) and will power the freezers and fridges so it maintains low temperature. I am looking at machine mart for example, and they have a couple of diferent types. I have highlighted two, the small portable ones here and what I guess are more powerful petrol driven generators here. What sort of output should I be looking at? the problem is that some state the kW and others the kVA, which complicates things. Any advice is greatly appreciated! thanks in advance.
    Quid enim proderit Homini si lucretur Mundum totum et detrimentum faciat Animae suae?

  2. #2
    Decide what the biggest draw in power will be at any one time in Kw. Possibly a kettle?

    I doubt your fridge's/freezers will have a big power draw, some useful figures here https://www.daftlogic.com/informatio...onsumption.htm

    Next is how long you want it to run - so consider size of fuel tank. If its going to be used a lot you might want to consider a diesel powered genni and source some red diesel from a friendly farmer.

    When I lived on a farm I had a 2,5KW petrol genni, similar to the Clarke "on trolley" models and it would do all I needed - boil a kettle, keep the freezer topped up, run a few table lamps and even power the satellite box and telly!
    Last edited by slider; 08-12-2015 at 12:51. Reason: more info added

  3. #3
    Thanks for that slider. I appreciate it. Makes sense what you said!
    Quid enim proderit Homini si lucretur Mundum totum et detrimentum faciat Animae suae?

  4. #4
    kW and kVA are basically (not quite but no need to worry about it) the same. kW are thousands of Watts. kVA are thousands of Volt Amperes. Volts x Amps. = Watts.

    You say you have 2 fridges and 2 freezers. At worst case these will have a maximum running load of 400 Watts each, but in reality they probably average less than 300 Watts. 300 Watts x 4 = 1200 Watts, or 1.2kW, or 1.2kVA. As it is highly unlikely that all will be running at the same time due to thermostats switching in and out you will be using less than 1.2kW BUT, demand increases when a compressor is starting, by as much as four times. Given this, a 2.2 kW generator will cope without difficulty and leave you spare capacity. If you want to boil the kettle or use a ring on the electric cooker, just switch off the fridges & freezers for the short time you are using the other appliances. If you have a table lamp plugged in it will be no problem. Trying to cover everything from a genset can get expensive due to the capacity needed to cover maximum demand.
    I hope this helps and apologise in advance if it was a bit like teaching you paint by numbers but I wasn't sure how much understanding of the subject you had.

  5. #5
    Petrol
    Nightmare down there at the moment I guess.
    Last edited by Cadex; 08-12-2015 at 12:57.

  6. #6
    Get one that runs silently or you'll get all the neighbours coming round with extension leads

  7. #7
    Thanks a lot pinkfoot1. No, that was useful, especially your explanation on power demands etc. Either way I will not be having them all plugged in at the same time, I will most probably alternate between the four (2 at a time). Hopefuly this is alla academic, I just do not want to have to worry about food thawing again in a case of an extended power cut.

    I do understand the Kw kVA distinction, I only mentioned it as it complicates things when you need to make conversions in order to compare products.
    Quid enim proderit Homini si lucretur Mundum totum et detrimentum faciat Animae suae?

  8. #8
    One with an electric start, then anyone can start the generator up as the compression on the pull cords can be hard work. Happy shopping.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psyxologos View Post
    OK, so after spending three nights and two days without electricity, power is back in Lancaster. I was not too worried, to be honest, the only thing that I was not happy about is the fact that I have two freezers and two fridges full of food. Thankfully with getting 6 hours of power yesterday (after two days of power shortage) and not opening said freezers and fridges, the food is OK.

    It got me thinking though, maybe look for a small generator. So what are the important points to pay attention to, when buying a generator? It will serve as an intermittent solution for a couple of hours a day (if it can handle longer use then so much the better) and will power the freezers and fridges so it maintains low temperature. I am looking at machine mart for example, and they have a couple of diferent types. I have highlighted two, the small portable ones here and what I guess are more powerful petrol driven generators here. What sort of output should I be looking at? the problem is that some state the kW and others the kVA, which complicates things. Any advice is greatly appreciated! thanks in advance.

  9. #9
    remember KVA is NOT KWs my 2.7KVA puts out 2.1 KW this is plenty good enough for my Chest freezer under counter freezer full height fridge and charging mobile phones and a few lights etc
    I have a Honda one its a good reliable quiet unit and starts first go after a couple years not used etc

    luckily its all in the utility room which has its own circuit which I trip the switch for to isolate from the rest of the house don't want it messing with some of the computer stuff and the Solar panels which shut down when power is off (And the main one as well which cuts Live and neutral to the grid ) then can plug the Genny into one of the sockets in the circuit to feed the units where they are I don't have any risk of flooding and use gas camping stoves the Wood burning stove candles torches etc for heat light cooking also doing this it can be turned off for night time etc as the freezers will stay cold etc



    HOwever Modern Petrol Will go off in a few months in the tank and you need to empty it out and clean out the Carburetter etc and fill with fresh it lasts longer in a sealed fuel can but still degrades you can get an additive for long term storage
    Last edited by FGYT; 08-12-2015 at 13:02.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Cadex View Post
    Petrol
    Nightmare down there at the moment I guess.
    It is better now. the smell is the worse. We had the banks of the river Lune breach, as well as a lot of waste water coming back from the sewers as the pressure increased...
    Quid enim proderit Homini si lucretur Mundum totum et detrimentum faciat Animae suae?

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