Here’s what you should know before you purchase a portable generator.

1. Which Type of Generator Is Best?

There are two main types of generators to choose from: home standby generators and portable generators.

Home Standby Generators

Home standby generators make the best choice for emergency generators. These permanent units are installed by a professional and start automatically anytime your power goes out. While these typically cost more, their permanence and automatic start provide ease of mind for all emergencies. These work best with propane fuel or natural gas.

2. What Size Do I Need?

The size of the generator you need depends on the energy usage of your house.

Portable generators are smaller than the alternative and generally range from 3,000 to 8,500 watts. These work best for homes with small furnaces that run off of city water.

Standby generator sizing usually runs from 5,000 to 20,000 watts. These are great for homes with large furnaces that rely on a well pump for water.

Emergency generators are meant for emergency situations. During an emergency, you should conserve your energy and fuel usage because you never know when power will return. A small generator is always better than no generator at all.

If you want a more detailed information of what each generator size can cover, please see specifications provided or call Rick at I-80 Forklift, 707-451-5100.

3. Where Should I Put My Generator?

After you’ve chosen your generator type and size, you need to find a place to keep your new generator.

Like mentioned previously, portable generators are movable and not in a fixed location. This means you can try out different locations to find the best one that works for your household. Just make sure you keep the generator 20 feet away from any structure.

A professional will help you install your standby home generator so they can help you choose the right location. You’ll want to pick a location that is convenient for regular maintenance and away from any areas in your yard that may flood. Also, you’ll want your generator close to your fuel supply.

Before you decide on a location for your generator, you should check to see if your town or county has specific codes requirements.

4. What Extra Features Are There?

Not all generators are created equal. Beyond choosing your generator type, fuel, and size, there are also extra features to consider.

  • Some of the most popular features include:
  • Fuel gauge – allows you to monitor when you are getting low on fuel.
  • Low-oil shutoff – shuts off your generator if it has low oil to prevent damage.
  • Cold weather kits -protects your generator against extreme temperatures.
  • Enclosure lighting – lights up your generator for easy maintenance or refueling.

Just like with a car, the more features your generator has the more expensive it becomes. Sit down and consider which features you feel are worth investing in before you start shopping.

5. Can I Run My Portable Generator From Inside My House"

NO! Since portable generators run on gas and use oil, they emit exhaust which contains carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless poison that can kill an entire household within minutes. Even if it is raining or snowing, you cannot operate a generator within your garage, carport or screened porch-not even with the door open. Portable generators need to be located at least 15 feet from your home, away from doors and windows. To better ensure the safety of you and your family, make sure that you have carbon monoxide detectors installed within your home.

6. Is There A Warranty??

The last question you should always ask before buying a generator is, “Is there a warranty?” Most generators come standard with a warranty. These warranties can range anywhere from one to five years. If you are offered a generator without any warranty, you should look elsewhere.  Many companies will let you buy an extended warranty for a higher cost. If you are making a big investment with a state-of-the-art generator, an extended warranty may be wise.

Contact Rick for questions or pricing by calling (707) 451-5100 or email at

*All Wacker Neuson generators come with a 1 year warranty.