PacB Group // Some Points You Should Consider Before You Buy a Generator


Some Points You Should Consider Before You Buy a Generator

At one time, the need to buy a generator would have been largely restricted to the industrial and commercial sectors. In the former sector, it is generally required to power exceptionally heavy loads for which the mains supply alone is often insufficient. In such cases, one or more large diesel-driven units will typically be employed as a means to augment the mains supply during times of peak loading. Sometimes, however, because of their remote location, mining and construction operations may need to rely solely on power generated on site. By contrast, in commercial circles, their use tends to be primarily as a backup option to be called upon only in an emergency.

Emergencies, however, have become considerably more frequent in recent years, prompting even many residential consumers to buy a generator. The explanation lies in a problem that affects most of the developed world, but which has been particularly disruptive in South Africa. In a nutshell, the demand for electricity is exceeding the capacity of service providers to produce it. Practical economics dictates that price increases are the answer, and Eskom certainly seems to have embraced this solution. However, while residences and small businesses may be able to find ways to save a few kilowatts, industry continues to require more.

For residents and small businesses, inconvenienced by the schedule of rolling blackouts introduced by Eskom to sustain the reserves necessary to meet industry’s needs, buying a generator may seem like a reasonable enough solution. Before doing so, however, there will be a couple of important factors that must first be considered to ensure purchasing the right tool for the job. Some of these considerations, such as calculating the anticipated total power requirement, will be necessary to determine what will be expected of the intended purchase, and are common to all end-users. Other factors, however, may be more specific to the individual circumstances of the particular installation.

With the exception of a solar power installation that draws its energy from ultra-violet radiation, these backup and emergency power sources are driven by an engine, and must burn some form of fuel. Whether you should choose to buy a generator powered by petrol, diesel, or natural gas depends on several factors, which includes cost. Generally, petrol-driven units produce less power than other units, but are cheaper. The lower output will normally be adequate for residential use, but care needs to be taken with the storage of inflammable fuel. On the other hand, this is a precaution that is unnecessary when opting for a diesel unit. In either case, it will be necessary to locate them in an area where noise and exhaust fumes cannot cause problems

For the domestic user, cost is often a major consideration. While factories need to remain fully-operational during an outage, a homeowner is free to buy a generator that will meet only the more basic needs of the family, or to choose one with the potential to power the entire home, as budget permits. It should be borne in mind, however, that while users will be relieved of the need to pay for mains power during an outage, the cost of the fuel consumed when generating backup power can be substantially higher than provided by the national service provider. Consequently, a unit that is sufficient to just maintain lighting and refrigeration, while powering a kettle, the TV, an alarm system, and a mobile phone charger will definitely be the more economical choice. Eating out or braaing are great alternatives when power-hungry electric stoves are unavailable.

Those who plan to buy a generator may need some insight regarding how to determine its size. First, it will be necessary to check the wattage of each item to be powered. When summed, the figure obtained is a measure of the total power requirement and the output capacity of an adequate machine.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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