When it comes to your home’s comfort, your HVAC system undoubtedly plays a pivotal role. However, when you’re in the throes of a power outage, courtesy of a storm or a grid failure, a generator becomes an equally vital piece of equipment. With an array of generators available in the market, the selection process can be daunting. This article aims to equip you with the knowledge required to make an informed choice about generators, with a focus on those that can support your HVAC system in the city of Orlando, Florida.
The Escalating Need for Generators
Recent studies by the Associated Press illustrate a concerning trend of power outages caused by hurricanes, wildfires, and ice storms, which have doubled in the United States over the past 20 years. Notably, the average outage duration also doubled from 4 to 8 hours between 2013 and 2020. This pattern is particularly noticeable in areas prone to hurricanes like the Gulf and Atlantic, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Why Florida Residents Need to Prepare
Given the frequency of these weather events, it is crucial for Florida residents, and especially our Century Air Conditioning & Heat HVAC customers in Orlando, to be well-prepared. In light of the recent Hurricane Ian, having a reliable generator can be a “life-saver” to ensure the continuity of vital services like air conditioning, heating, lighting, Wi-Fi, and other electronics during and after severe weather conditions.
Picking the Right Generator – Factors to Consider
With a plethora of generators in the market, selection can be a daunting task. In this article, we will guide you on how to identify the perfect size, type, and model to keep your home powered during a blackout, with a particular focus on ensuring your HVAC system remains operational.
Understanding Generator Size and Your AC System
Generators cater to your home’s energy needs during an outage, providing power to various devices and spaces. The spectrum of generator capacities extends from a modest 800 watts to an impressive 500,000 watts, with a range of types tailored to meet specific requirements.
Selecting an appropriate generator involves some homework on your part to ensure a good fit. Crucial factors to consider when purchasing or renting a generator include:
HVAC systems and window units usually come with a label indicating the power required, measured in watts. For instance, a standard window AC unit might need 1,000 watts of power to operate for a specific duration, while a central heating and cooling system could demand 10,000 watts for the same period. This difference significantly influences the choice of generator.
Start-up wattage refers to the initial power needed to start the AC unit, which is generally higher than the running wattage. This information is typically provided on the AC unit or in the owner’s manual.
Surge wattage is the temporary increase in power required to run the HVAC system or window AC unit at a higher level. Although surge wattage is needed only for a few seconds, it is essential to consider this when selecting a generator.
Evaluate the power needs of other appliances or electronics that you plan to run off your generator. Depending on these requirements, you may need a larger generator to simultaneously power multiple devices, including your AC.
Determining Your Generator Power Needs
To help you better understand your power needs, the General Wattage Guide on HomeDepot.com can be a valuable resource. Here’s an approximate overview of the wattage needed to run different devices in your home:
- Central Air Conditioning: 2000 – 4000
- Window Air Conditioner: 600 – 1500
- Heater (radiant): 1300
- Water Heater: 3000 – 4500
This list should be used as a rough guide, and it is recommended to refer to the user manuals of your appliances and tools for precise power requirements.
Types of Generators for Your AC System
Generators come in various sizes and types to accommodate diverse needs:
- Whole-house generators provide backup power for your home during a blackout or storm and are directly hardwired into your home’s electrical system.
- Portable generators are versatile and relatively affordable, useful for outdoor activities and providing emergency power during blackouts.
- Inverter generators offer less noise and more fuel efficiency than their counterparts and convert AC power to DC power, making them ideal for RVs and battery-operated devices.
Powering Your Generators
Generators are predominantly fueled by gasoline, diesel, and propane. Gasoline generators are commonplace due to their portability and ease of use, though they can be noisy and produce harmful fumes. A more eco-friendly but less popular option is the solar-powered generator.
Buying or Renting Generators: Where to Go
Before you decide to rent or buy a generator, ensure you do your research thoroughly. If you opt to purchase a whole-house generator, choose a reputable vendor and hire professionals for installation. If you prefer to rent, your local home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s in Orlando are a good starting point.
Safety Precautions for Generators
Always use a generator outdoors, at least 20 feet away from your home, with the exhaust directed away from the house. Ensure your home is equipped with working carbon monoxide alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level before operating a generator.
About Century Air Conditioning & Heating
Century Air Conditioning & Heat was established in 1986. We’re a family owned and operated HVAC contractor in Orlando, FL. For over 36 years, we’ve been a trusted source for air conditioning equipment, heating equipment and related services. Century is an A+ BBB accredited business.
Air Conditioning & Heating Services Offered in Orlando and surrounding Central Florida Areas:
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