Generator | Backup Power

How to Select a Generator for Your Home or Business


As the frequency of scheduled blackouts increases, the need for a generator as an added power source is growing. However, choosing the right one is crucial. Whether the government or Eskom is responsible for the service provider’s failure to generate sufficient power to meet the needs of South Africa’s homes and businesses is of little consequence.


The fact remains that, despite the regular tariff hikes, when load-shedding is active in a nominated area, residents must still spend numerous periods each week without power, and the length of those periods can vary according to the designated stage. Nevertheless, despite the inconvenience, the planned interruptions are necessary. Without them, the entire power system would fail.


In the home, an alternative power source can ensure that refrigerated and frozen goods will not spoil and that families can keep the lights on, continue to charge their mobile phones, and ensure security measures like electric gates and alarms remain functional. For a business, it can mean far more. An emergency power source could mean the difference between a profitable operation and bankruptcy.


What Size and Type of Generator Will You Need?


The type and size of generator you need depends on your requirements.


  • Domestic Use: Price is often an issue for home users. The more powerful the unit, the more it will cost. It might, therefore, be more expedient to prioritise those facilities you and your family most need rather than attempting to provide backup power for your entire home. Whatever your choice, there is a simple formula to help determine the best unit for you. Every electrical item in your home, from the fridge freezer to the TV, set-top box, and the globes in your bedside lamp will have a label or stamp bearing its wattage. To guide your choice, select the items you wish to remain operational, sum their wattages, and add 20%. Now divide that figure by a thousand to convert it to Kilowatts. The answer will indicate the size of the generator you need. A portable petrol-driven unit should suffice, but adequate ventilation and a safe place to store spare fuel are essential, and you should seek professional help with the installation.
  • Business Use: The size of your generator is determined in the same way as for home users. However, you will probably want to continue operating as usual during an outage, so your total power requirement will be substantially higher – a job for a diesel model. It’s okay to power it up manually if your tasks are not crucial, but, for example, if your business requires you to constantly store, process, and retrieve data, a standby unit will kick in automatically in response to anomalies with the mains supply. You will need an engineer to install Automatic Mains Failure (AMF) and Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) panels, as these are necessary to detect power fluctuations and seamlessly switch between sources. On the downside, a large diesel unit can be noisy. Where possible, it will help to house it outdoors in a soundproof and weatherproof canopy. However, shopping centres, office blocks, hospitals, and farms often opt for gas-fired units. They are cheaper to run than diesel-driven models and are an eco-friendlier option.


Professional Help with the Selection and Installation of Your Generator


CCI Technologies is a contractor registered with the ECB (Electrical Contracting Board) and the ECSA (Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa). We specialise in turnkey electrical and power solutions, including reticulation and infrastructure, uninterruptible power supplies, generators, and AMF panels.


In addition to providing cabling, connectivity, and security solutions for data centres like banks and other institutions, we also provide bespoke backup and standby power solutions for homes and businesses. If brownouts and planned blackouts constantly disrupt your family life or business activities, we can help. Why not get in touch, and we will make a plan to meet your unique needs?

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