If you are in the market for a generator, there are certain things you should consider if you do not want to waste time, energy, and money.
Generator purchases should be based on your needs. The devices should be able to provide the necessary electricity for the projects they are intended for. For instance, buying a small portable generator as a backup system for a hospital would not make much sense; nor would it be wise to install a Lister Petter 22 kVA standby, single phase, fully encapsulated generator with electronic control module, 2-wire start, and full engine protection, just to power a few lights at a camp site.
First assess your requirements, and then decide on the size of the generator you want. There is no shortage of generator models. Research the fuel types that are most readily available in your area, and check the warranty offered with the devices you are considering. You may also want to compare maintenance and repair costs.
You will have to determine if you want a standby generator with an automatic start-up and shut-off during power outages, or a system that is more permanent. To power small appliances and light sources in your home during occasional power black-outs, you may get by with one of the smaller portable generator models.
To determine what size generator will suit you best, you will need to calculate the wattage of the items you want powered in case of an emergency. Add 20 % to cover the initial power surge. To determine the wattage, either read the manuals of your appliances, find resources on the Internet, or check them manually using a watt meter. If still in doubt, consult with an electrician.
Generators are run by various common fuel types. Select a source that is affordable and readily available in your area. Large, permanent generators normally use propane or natural gas rather than diesel or petrol. Portable generators, on the other hand, typically run on diesel or petrol, which can be more cost effective.
Regular maintenance will extend the lifespan of any generator. Diesel generators are more durable and require less maintenance, as they have no spark plugs. Regardless what fuel source you choose, or if your generator has an engine made by Honda, Lister Petter, Paguro, Yamaha, FNM Marine, Doosan / Daewoo and Welling & Crossley, it should be inspected and oiled according to the manufacturer’s service schedule.
Once you have all your requirements together, and have pin pointed the exact generator you want, you will have to find a reputable dealer. Find a supplier who will not only sell you your generator at a fair price, but also has an outstanding customer service department. Even if you are familiar with engines, at one point or another, you may need technical assistance. You may also require parts like transfer switches, locking plugs for receptacles, starters, ignition parts, or air, oil and fuel filters. Only an established, authorized dealer, who has a team of skilled employees at his side, will be able to help you with all these issues, and more.
All generators should come with a warranty. Make sure your supplier will honour yours!