Choosing a welder/generator for emergencies
Hurricanes, ice storms, wildfires and natural disasters of all kinds leave countless people without electricity each year.
Winter seasons bring record-breaking temperatures and an ample amount of snowfall and ice across the country. Summer brings its own set of challenges; severe thunderstorms, tropical storms, tornados and hurricanes can devastate entire regions.
When you desperately need lights, tools and appliances, a generator becomes worth its weight in gold.
The generator that's right for you depends first on how much power you need. Keeping household essentials like lights, furnace, refrigerator, well pump, freezer, microwave, TV and air conditioner running requires 5,000 to 8,000 watts.
Chart on common watt usage for household appliances:
You can plug tools and appliances directly into a generator's 120/240 VAC outlets. Generally, try to limit the load to 90 percent of generator output. Always start non-resistive (motor) loads in order from largest to smallest and add resistive loads last. If a motor does not start within five seconds, turn off power to prevent motor damage. The motor requires more power than the generator can supply.
You can connect a generator into your house, garage, barn or work shed's electrical supply. For safety reasons, only qualified persons should perform this task. Be sure to comply with code and license requirements. For example, the National Electrical Code (NEC) advises that the only legal and safe way to wire standby generator power to your home is through a three-position transfer switch. Also, for safety reasons, never keep a running generator in a garage or enclosed area where the fumes could harm people or animals.
Refer to the generator’s safety labels and Owner's Manual for complete safety and generator power guidelines.
Two for the price of one
While you might not need to weld or use generator power every week, investing in a machine that performs both might make more economic sense. The ability to complete your own welding repairs and generate power with one machine can save you time and money.
Compared to stand-alone generators, Miller® welder/generators will give you:
- Longer runtime: Welder/generators feature a larger fuel tank, so they can run throughout the day or night without refueling. For example, Miller Bobcat™ 260 welder/generators hold 12 gallons of gas and can run for 14 hours under a continuous load of 4,000 watts.
- Total output power: Gas welder/generators provide outputs that range from 4,500 watts to 12,000 watts, which may be sufficient to run an average-sized house.
- High ambient temperature performance: Due to the inherent nature of electricity, a generator's output power declines as temperature increases. Miller rates the output of all of its welder/generators at 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). Even in hot summer conditions, they deliver all of the power promised.
- Strong motor starting capabilities: Some electrical loads require three to seven times more power to start than to run. Often, generators may boast a high starting (or peak) power, but their peak power duration is so short that it cannot start a motor. To create a standard, Miller developed the Accu-Rated™ system, which guarantees that its generators will deliver useable peak power for a minimum of 30 seconds. That power is ideal for maximum generator loads, such as starting the motor of a central air conditioner or sump pump.
- Stiff voltage output: Because they are designed to run industrial tools and motors, Miller welder/generators with Accu-Rated power provide a stiff voltage output that won't droop under rated loads. Comparatively, the voltage of most generators and competitive welder/generators droops under medium and heavy loads. Instead of a 120-volt output, they may only be able to deliver 105 or 110 volts. Unfortunately, appliances run off total power, which is voltage times amperage. If voltage droops, amperage increases, which in turn generates more heat. Heat reduces the life of appliances and usually deters performance.
- Smooth power output: Miller welder/generators deliver smooth power, not the spiked power of some other units. This means that Miller machines can run electronics sensitive to voltage variations, which may include furnace and air conditioning controls.
- 24/7 operation: Designed with rugged, heavy-duty components, Miller welder/generators continuously operate at rated loads, stopping only for refueling and scheduled maintenance. In situations that cause other generators to overheat and burn out, Miller machines keep running.
- Resale value: Miller gas welder/generators hold their value better than other gas generators or welder/generators. If you purchase a Miller machine for an emergency and decide to sell it later, you can get more of your money back.
For more information about the Miller lineup of engine-driven welder/generators, visit MillerWelds.com/industries/Emergency-Prep.