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Running your HVAC System with a Generator
With hurricane season kicking into high gear, it is important that homeowners and residents are prepared. We all know the need for clean water, packaged dry or canned food, toilet paper, medical supplies, games, and books, but we often forget about auxiliary power. Auxiliary power can be a life saver in emergency situations. It will return power to refrigerators, ac units, medical devices, and security systems that are vital to survival during and after storms.
The best way to take advantage of auxiliary power it by using some form of generator. Depending on your specific needs, it may not be as easy as just plugging in cords, you must understand what needs to be powered, how much energy it will need and how long you will want it to run. There are a couple of options to look at when selecting the right generator for your home such as size, capacity, fuel, connection and price. We recommend that you make a list of what you want to power, the wattage necessary to start it up, the wattage needed to keep it running and if it will need constant power or short-term power. Things like water heaters may not need constant power, so they might be able to be used during non-peak operation.
There are three primary types of generators available to homeowners: recreational, portable and standby.
Recreational generators produce 800 to 5,000 watts of power and are designed for short-term use. They aren’t powerful enough for a HVAC system, but can definitely keep your fridge going and power fans. These generators are often battery operated or will run off of gasoline.
Portable generators produce 1,000 – 17,000 watts of power and are designed for longer use. They have enough power to keep the fridge running and several rooms of a home. These generators may be able to handle small ac units like window units or single room cooling units, they will not handle the load a whole home heating and cooling system would require. It is always best to read the manufacturers label to make sure you have the right wattage generator and consult your local ac professional. These generators will also run on gas. It will be important to have storage for enough fuel as this generator will need refilling at least 3 times per day.
Standby generators produce 6,000 – 59,000 watts of power are designed specifically for emergency situations where the power is out. These hard-wired generators must be professionally installed well ahead of hurricane or storm season. Once installed, standby generators will make life much easier as you deal with any emergency or disaster situations. Propane or natural gas is the preferred fuel for standby generators; it will allow them to run for days on a full tank!
Whats the best way to restore power to your HVAC?
The best way to restore power to your HVAC unit during or after a storm is by using a stand by generator. Before you go buying to first stand by generator you see, there is some prep work that needs to be done.
First, look at the types of stand by generators available and note their wattage. Some generators are in kilowatts while others are in watts.
Next, look at your HVAC system and know what power it needs to start up and what it will need for constant running. These two figures may be quite different ac units will need more power to start up than to stay running.
Another important factor to consider is the needs of the household. What additional power will be required? Will other appliances be plugged in? Consider their power needs so that your generator doesn’t become over loaded.
Installation of a recreational or portable generator will be pretty easy, most will accept standard plugs. Standby generators on the other hand will require a professional to wire them into the circuit breaker and install a switch that will allow home owners to engage them when the time is right.
Don’t wait until the storm is looming and you have to scramble to get your home ready. Call your local ac fixer and let them show you the best options for your household.