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What are Home Generators?

By S. Mithra
Updated May 17, 2024
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Home generators bring gas-powered electricity to your home in case of emergency power outages. They can be temporarily connected to a few critical appliances whenever required; alternatively, they can be permanently attached to your home's electrical system and automatically triggered by a blackout. Depending on their capacity, home generators can power your furnace, refrigerator, and a few lamps, or your entire home's power grid.

During a loss of power, home generators allow you to continue to use important appliances such as air conditioners, heaters, alarm systems, freezers, refrigerators, telephones, and lights. One could mean the difference between the mild inconvenience of unplugging a few wires and serious healthy risks of days without electricity. It could be very dangerous if a power outage occurred during extreme weather, such as a heat wave, hurricane, earthquake, or blizzard, and you were left without heat, radio, telephone, or food.

It used to be that generators were relegated to construction, industrial, or farm sites as high-capacity appliances providing electricity to remote areas that weren't wired to a central electrical grid. However, with several major natural disasters and electricity shortages that resulted in widespread brownouts, smaller home generators became popular. These portable versions can be stored in a garage and easily rolled outside when needed. Their motors even operate at a lower volume.

Always follow the instructions that accompany home generators. They should be operated outside, unless they have a venting hose, so exhaust doesn't create a hazard. The extension cord that runs from the generator to your house must stay dry and not pose a tripping threat. If you must refill the gas tank on the generator, stop the motor and let it cool. Always check your household devices first to calculate how much juice they need to ensure you don't overload the generator. Different home generators have different capacities, from just 1 kilowatt to 100 kilowatts. Usually, generators use unleaded or diesel gasoline, but some of them can use natural gas or propane for fuel.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By erickamdem — On Jan 16, 2008

Hi!

I ask earlier about the desktop and laptop power consumption is it possible for me to get it in terms of KVA?

Regards

Eric

By erickamdem — On Jan 16, 2008

Hi!

I would like to know what the power consumption of a desktop computer and a laptop combined is, because i want to get a backup generator for these in case of power outage

Regards

Eric

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