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How proper power management can cut costs and add peace of mind

Peace of mind is something we’re all striving for a little more these days. With extreme weather patterns and an increased need to turn homes into safe havens, standby power may be the solution many business and homeowners are looking for.

Yet, because many aren’t aware of proper power management principles, they don’t believe a standby generator is a feasible addition to their home power needs. However, if homeowners consider what their priority power requirements are rather than a home’s overall electrical footprint, many would be surprised at how attainable true power security can be.

What is power management?

To start, power management is the ability to right-size a generator to the true needs of a house. This is in comparison to the standard method of sizing a generator to match the size of the house rather than the actual power needs, which can result in an over-inflated estimate and therefore a larger generator. While a good idea in principle, this method can be more expensive and excessive.

For true power management, there are various factors that need to be taken into account when right-sizing a generator for both residential and commercial applications. These include analyzing the overall electric footprint of the building, cataloging major appliances that use the most power, and determining the homeowner’s individual priorities. This is completely customizable for each homeowner — you can ensure the refrigerator never stops running and the lights stay on, while also being able to turn on the stove, for example.

Priority power needs

The major applications that typically use the most power are air conditioning systems, electric dryers, electric water heaters, and electric ovens. While it’s certainly convenient to be able to run all of these systems simultaneously during everyday life, that may not be necessary during an emergency situation or a power outage. If you’re comfortable operating one or two systems at a time — while everything else runs as normal, such as lights and general electricity — you can still get all the power you need with a right-sized generator.

Of course, different homes require different levels of power. It’s important to note that air conditioning can require anywhere from 3,000-5,000 watts of power, where other appliances only need 600-700 watts. A good installer will assist customers in finding the right balance between power expenditure and conservation.

Power management as a safety tool

When consumers are aware of what their power usage truly looks like, they can better prepare for a power outage. Good power management can also enable homeowners to enable a proactive system that monitors and prioritizes appliances ahead of time so that the generator never exceeds the maximum power output in an emergency.

In comparison, a reactive system will automatically shut down whenever it crosses the threshold — often without insight as to what caused the overage in the first place. This creates a cyclical pattern in which the power continues to go out and the homeowner thinks they require a larger power output, when that actually isn’t the case.

For example, if the oven is on and you are reaching the maximum threshold, a proactive system will not allow the dryer to run until there is sufficient power. Plus, with the proper setup, you can reprioritize appliances in real time. This ensures continuous power to the areas that need it most during a power outage.

Making power management work for you

Believe it or not, energy bills are not an accurate indicator of a home’s true power needs. To get started in assessing what size generator may be right for your situation, work with a local provider to analyze your power usage and in-home requirements. It could be less than you think — saving money and adding peace of mind.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew Menzel

Matthew Menzel is the director of product management at Briggs & Stratton, LLC and has worked in the electrical power generation industry for more than 10 years. Apart from his work in defining product strategy, he has served in new product development and application engineering roles covering products ranging from consumer power equipment to commercial stationary and mobile power systems. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Indiana University.

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