What is a Portable Generator?
A portable generator produces electricity by using a gas, diesel or propane-powered engine to turn an on-board alternator, which converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. The unit has power outlets that allow you to plug in extension cords or appliances. Portable home units typically provide 3kW to 10kW of power.
A portable generator is significantly less expensive than a permanently installed generator. Prices of portable generators range between $500 and $3,000, depending on the wattage. You can find them online, at a local hardware store, or in any big-box stores.
Portable generators are mainly purposed for emergency backup situations, during small natural disaster power outages. Producing 3kW to 10kW of power, a portable generator will run some household essentials, including some lights, a refrigerator and a heater. A portable electric generator may be necessary on a job site for operating power tools or during camping trips for running a few appliances.
Noise, Exhaust and Heat
It is necessary that your portable generator stays outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. However, it is important to note that the generator will remain within an extension cord’s length of your home, and will be emitting foul-smelling exhaust fumes, noise and heat.
Due to the smaller wattage of the portable generator, it does have limited usage. You won’t be able to power an entire household or any luxury items, such as central air conditioning or a plasma TV.
Unlike a permanently installed generator, a portable electric generator will not immediately turn on in the case of a power outage; it requires a manual start. Additionally, the tank holds three to six gallons of gas on average and will need to be refilled as often as every 6 hours, which may be inconvenient during the winter months.