The 2014 Hurricane season is quickly approaching, and with it an influx of emergency preparation tips and guides. Here in Houston, many of us simply start preparing without a second thought; slowly buying extra cases of water, canned goods, batteries, and first aid supplies at each grocery visit. We remind each other to get extra candles, water, food, gasoline, and other items necessary just in case Ike’s little brother wants to pay Texas another visit. Hurricanes and massive power outages don’t just happen in southwest coastal regions; millions of people learned that lesson the hard way when Sandy decided to wreak havoc on the east coast. Emergency supplies are important, and most of us heed the warnings issued before and during hurricane season. However, one of the most important things that most people don’t consider until it’s too late is a backup electric generator.
When the power goes out from a hurricane or severe storm in Houston, everyone races to the store to buy whatever electric generators are in stock. Don’t do this; you could end up with a faulty generator that has been returned, fall victim to price gouging, or worse. Investing in a good quality standby generator or backup power unit will indeed set you back a few thousand dollar. But with various financing options available and an expected 68% return on investment when you sell your home, it’s peace of mind worth considering before a crisis strikes.
Texas summer heat is not a thing to take lightly; it can be severe and unforgiving, especially if you find yourself without power and no discernible idea how long that will go on. It cannot be stressed enough that generators are a purchase to be made before a disaster, not just for your peace of mind but for your family’s safety and security.
Difference Between a Standby, Backup, or Continuous Prime Home Generator
The thought of going a few hours, let alone a few days, without electricity is daunting. One of the first things a consumer should decide on when considering an emergency standby generator for home is calculating how much backup power they need.
Some standby generators, like Kohler, will automatically turn on when the power fails, powering an entire home. Standby generators are also known as whole home generators.
A more affordable but less powerful standby emergency backup generator that will provide power for parts of the home, smaller appliances that can be plugged into the generator.
Some generators are strong and stable enough to power a building, estate, or commercial office continuously with stable power output & internal cooling systems. Many water-cooled industrial and commercial generators like these can also be used to power larger homes.
Residential or Commercial standby generators are rated by kilowatt output, so the higher kW you purchase, the more strength and endurance you’ll get. If you want to power your central air conditioning during a sweltering summer blackout in Houston, look at your unit’s metal data plate on the back of your AC. You will be able to read its tonnage, BTUs or amps. Compare these numbers to the generators you are purchasing. For example, if you have a 60,000 BTU air conditioner, you’ll need at least a 20-kilowatt generator.
Never purchase a generator that will exceed your amps, you would be better off purchasing a smaller generator.
How Many Appliances can a 20 kW Home Generator Power?
It’s essential that you calculate how much power you need for your home. Imagine that your power just went out and your standby generator just turned on, a standard 20kW generator would allow you to use the following appliances:
- · Central AC
- · Coffeemaker
- · Ceiling Fans
- · Freezer
- · Light fixtures
- · Microwave Oven
- · 36- to 42-inch Plasma TV
- · Toaster Oven
- · Water Heater
- · Range (electric)
- · Refrigerator
- · Computer & Monitor
- · Laptop
Comparing Top Standby & Backup Electric Generators for your Home
When you start conducting research on residential generators, you’ll quickly find that Kohler and Cummins Onan make some of the highest rated power generation products.
Both Kohler and Cummins Onan are typically very quiet; some models are at the sound level comparable to an idling car, so don’t worry about being heard a mile away! This is especially vital during blackouts or temporary power outages; you don’t want to be the neighbor that keeps the whole neighborhood awake with your beast of a generator.
Kohler power systems also have some of the top reviewed green generators; they are a reliable and robust package in any power range, from 20 KW and way up. Cummins Onan consumes some of the least amount of fuel compared to other generator.
The following is a chart comparing these two popular residential standby generators. I’ve started with 20kW as a base as this will usually provide power to an entire house or small commercial office.
Choosing the Right Generator for Your Family’s Needs
This comparison of popular Cummins Onan and Kohler generator models will hopefully make your decision a little easier, depending on how much power you need. Both Kohler and Cummins Onan have home generators that can power an entire home. Both also offer emergency utility generators, and with an ATS they can power up your house within 10 seconds of power going out. Cummins and Kohler power products have attractive displays and weather resistant housing. Both are quiet and powerful, equipped with good warranties and high customer satisfaction.
The best way to make your decision is to first decide which appliances in your home you want to power during an electricity outage, then adding up the amps you’ll need to find an appropriate generator for your specific kW output specifications. You budget, power, and specific family needs should be taken into consideration.