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Energy Supply Problems Create Unprecedented Interest for Home Power Generators
The realization that continuous, uninterrupted power is something that can no longer be taken for granted is increasingly driving consumers to rely on gasoline-powered home generators for emergency use. Portable generators, once relegated to construction sites and critical emergency applications, enjoyed a surge of interest during preparations for Y2K. Since then, the growing numbers of outages from hurricanes, ice storms, or distribution problems like the one last week are bringing home generators into the mainstream.
Using a portable home generator to the best advantage requires a little advance planning. The experts at Honda Power Equipment, which produces some of the world's quietest and most dependable generators for home and recreational use, offer safety tips and user information to help consumers make a safe, affordable transition from utility power to portable power.
"As with anything else, the first step is preparation, knowing your needs and budget," said Tom Pernice, a Product Planner with Honda Power Equipment. Since home generators range in capacity from 1,000 watts to more than 10,000 watts, a homeowner should understand his or her electricity requirements and estimate the real needs during an emergency. Refrigerators or freezers will run on about 700 watts, but need as much as 2,200 watts to start, while the average computer draws 600 to 800 watts. So the power to run a refrigerator, minimal lighting and a computer or TV set could require a generator that delivers 2,500 watts or more. Consumers can find helpful tables and charts at the web site www.honda.com, and can match basic needs with a generator in the same power range.
Once the generator is delivered, the next step is connecting it to the house through a transfer switch installed by a licensed electrician. The switch serves as a breaker device that cuts off the utility power source while the generator is in operation, and helps limit the number of appliances powered by the generator. When the utility power is restored, the generator and transfer switch are disconnected and turned off so that the two power sources do not collide. However, in a pinch, a high quality extension cord and power strip may be used temporarily. A generator must never be plugged, or back fed, into a standard household outlet. "If you want to operate the generator safely, these are rules that cannot be overlooked," Pernice said.
The Honda generator line, including the EU3000is and the EM5000SXK1A offer variable wattages and other features, such as inverter technology or automatic voltage regulators that protect the generator and electric tools from damaging power surges, large fuel tanks, full frame protection, and electric starters. Consumers can match their needs and budgets with these and other options.
A generator can be stored in a garage or vented storage area away from flame or sparks, but it must be operated outside. Because portable generators run on gasoline, they must never be operated in a confined area like a basement or garage. Most home generators have gas tanks with a three to five gallon capacity, which can provide five to eight hours of electricity, depending on the load being powered.
Honda generators are designed to deliver high quality electricity to power an expansive range of home and professional equipment, even computers and other sensitive electronic devices. All of Honda's generators are among the world's quietest, powered by advanced Honda four-stroke engines that meet or exceed all EPA requirements and the more stringent standards of the California Air Resources Board (CARB.)
Whether a power outage occurs in winter or summer, and lasts for a few hours or a few days, a portable generator won't normally replace all of the electricity provided by the local power company. But it can make life a lot more comfortable and safe until the utility power is restored. More information on generators and generator safety is available at www.honda.com.