A record number of people are buying generators—here’s why to consider one

Power outages can happen in an instant and without any warning. Not only are they inconvenient, but outages can pose danger when critical appliances aren't available to use such as heating and cooling systems, refrigerators and medical gear like CPAP machines. With increasingly severe weather on the rise, along with aging utility infrastructure, power outages are predicted to be more frequent and to occur for longer periods of time.That's why backup generators are becoming a popular home purchase for many. Over the past 20 years, generator sales have seen a steady increase in standby generator installations, making it clear that generators are becoming a top priority product for emergency situations.

There is a lot to consider before buying a generator. There are many different types on the market ranging in wattage, run time and budget. No matter which you choose, they must be operated properly and safely or they can pose real risks to users. Before investing in a generator, here's what you should know, including the types of generators you can buy, how to use generators safely and our top picks for generators you can buy right now.

Types of generators to choose from

Standby generators, while a major investment, can efficiently power your entire home. If the only reason you’re buying a generator is to provide total coverage during a power outage, a standby generator is your best bet—just keep in mind it won’t come cheap. In addition to the high cost of the unit itself, you also need to factor in the price of on-site installation. 

Portable Generators often used on construction sites, for tailgating and camping, and at barbecues and other events such as 5k runs, parades, fairs, or anyplace that can't be reached by an extension cord.  There are only a few that run on Natural gas and/or Liquid Propane.  The WINCO tri-fuel generator is an excellent portable option vs the whole house standby.

PTO, Power Take-off, Generators are used primarily for agriculture or farm use.  They are tractor driven power.

How to safely use and maintain your portable generator

Portable generators can be useful products when a power loss strikes, especially in the case of emergency situations. However, they can come with their own set of risks, especially when used improperly. Here's what you should know before getting your generator set up.

Generators produce carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas, which the excess presence of can result in sickness or death and pose other dangers like electrocution or fire when used improperly.

The first rule of thumb when it comes to generator safety—no matter the kind—is to never, ever use them indoors. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping generators outdoors, at least 15 feet away from the home or open windows to keep exhaust fumes from entering the home.

Many power outages come as a result of severe weather like a hurricane or strong storm. While you may want to use your generator right as the storm passes through, you should not use it in rainy or wet conditions. Your generator should sit under a “canopy-like structure” to keep it dry and you should never touch the generator with wet hands. 

In addition to these safety tips, you should also maintain your generator just like you would any machine. You should change the oil regularly, after about 50 or 60 hours of use, or earlier if your generator is brand new. The expert recommend changing the oil filter every time you change the generator's oil.

You should also inspect your air filter regularly, changing the filter every two years or more frequently depending on your environment's air quality.

Finally, spark plugs should be checked and replaced every 400 hours—no, you won't need to keep track of this, but you'll know it's time for a replacement if the engine is idling rough, the engine misfires or the unit is going through more fuel than normal.

For more details on generator safety guidelines, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s site.

Why choose a Winco Generator?

Winco generators have been on the market for over 90 years and the company continues to excel in power generation field. Having being in the field for a long time, Winco has perfected their generators and all of their products are top-notch.

They are a small company with deep roots in a little town in Minnesota.  They pride ourselves in our building and our manufacturing capabilities and do much more than assembly here.

Seventy-four families rely on WINCO for a reliable place to work. They haven't laid off an employee since 1991, how is that for reliable!