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DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator

A generator is one of those tools that you never really think about until you need it. It could be that your power has gone out during a blizzard. Perhaps the power went down during a hurricane. Or, it could be something less harmful such as a simple camping trip. Whatever your reason is for using a generator they can provide you with much needed power and they can be a great tool to add to your collection.

If you are in the market for a generator though the amount of choices and options can be a bit daunting. There are all different features, wattage sizes, outlets, and applications out there. So, which generator do you need? Which one is right for you? In this article we are going to take a deep dive into DuroMax’s DS4000S 4,000 Watt Portable Generator. We will look at the features that are offered, the Pros, the Cons, and anything that else that comes up in between. At the end of this post you should have a pretty firm grasp on rather this generator is the one for you, or if you should be looking at an alternative product.

Before You Buy

Before you consider purchasing a generator rather it be this model or something else it is always smart to stop and take a step back to look at all of the possible considerations that need to be factored in. Generators come in all sorts of sizes, features, and safety concerns. Do you know what to look for? Do you know where to begin? If you do, then by all means bypass this section and move right onto the Product Features.

However, if you find that you still have some questions on what to look for then I highly suggest you take the time and read through some of our guides. These guides will serve as your compass in the maze that are generators. Yes, I know, that was a bad analogy. Oh well. That aside, these guides will provide you the knowledge on what to look for and after reading if you find that this product isn’t the right one for you then we have served our purpose by steering you in the right direction.

  • If you are not sure what size of generator you should be buying click here to be taken to our generator size guide. Also, be aware that sizing your generator isn’t as easy as estimating or guessing. In order to get the appropriate and correct power required you need to take the time to add up all of the wattages of your appliances and figure out the starting/running watts of each.
  • If you are not sure what features you should be looking for then click here to be taken to our top features for generators guide. This guide dives deep into the various bells and whistles that you can get on your generator. If you’re a bare bones guy then this article may not be for you, but if you are looking to get some of those extra features and save yourself some time and headaches then I suggest you check out the guide.
  • Like it or not maintaining your generator and ensuring it is running properly is a must. After all, you want your generator and your investment to last, right? Well ensuring the proper maintenance is done year after year will do just that. Click here to be taken to our Generator Maintenance Guide.
  • Lastly, if you are not quite sure how to safely use and run a generator then please click here to be taken to our safety guide. This could be setting up the system, grounding your generator, or running your generator. Safety is something I just can’t stress enough of when dealing with generators.These machines can be life savers but they can also be very dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. If used incorrectly it can lead to property damage, fire damage, personal injury, or even fatalities. Safety first!

Product Features

The Duromax DS4000S comes in at four-thousand starting watts and thirty-three hundred running watts. (If you aren’t sure what the differences are between running and starting watts I recommend  you click here to be taken to our guide on this matter.) While thirty-three hundred watts isn’t enough power to install a manual transfer switch it does give you enough juice to run a few appliances in your home in a power loss situation. For example, you would be able to run your refrigerator, small air conditioner, and some lighting throughout your home. You will NOT be able to power appliances that are directly wired into your home such as your furnace or central air conditioner. To do this, you would need to install a manual transfer switch. Along with alternative home power this generator is a great selection for those of you looking for a power source either on a job site or for those of you recreational RVers out there. The DS4000S is built to withstand some abuse as it comes with a heavy duty steel frame that helps insulated the generator from being banged around.

DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator
DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator

The power panel of this generator is easily visible and shows you everything from the engine shut-off switch, volt meters, circuit breakers, and your power connections. As shown in the picture to the right the product comes with two one-hundred and twenty volt outlets and one one-hundred and twenty 30A twist lock. This twist lock can be used to hook your generator up to a manual transfer switch, but from what I have read it is best to purchase generators over five-thousand watts if you intend to go with a manual transfer switch. It is better to be safe then sorry when it comes to overloading your generator.

Speaking of overloading, the other day I was writing an article about what can happen when you overload your generator. An overload is when you are trying to pull too much power from your generator, or you are exceeding it’s total wattage. In the article I explained how you can overload your generator and what the consequences could be if you did. Now, hopefully you don’t have that problem, but IF you do end up overloading your generator by mistake you can rest assured as this model comes with a circuit breaker that will stop an overload from occurring. If your generator senses and overload it will shut down automatically to prevent damage to the system. This is a nice insurance policy on an expensive tool

This DuroMax generator runs on standard eighty-seven octane gasoline. That is most likely the same gasoline that your vehicle or lawn mower uses. The product comes with a four gallon tank and can last up to eight hours on one tank. (The eight hours can be variable depending on the load of the generator.) There is also a fuel gauge on this product that will allow you to view your fuel levels as the unit runs. (Remember, never refuel your generator while it is running or still hot.) The recommend oil for this product is SAE 10W-30 and the capacity is twenty fluid ounces or .6 liters. As most of you know the oil needs to be checked and added each time fuel is added to ensure your system is running efficiently. The good news is that if you forget to add oil the DS4000S has what’s known as an emergency low oil shut-off switch. This switch does just what’s described, it shuts your generator off if it gets too low on oil. This protects your generator and prevents any overheating damage. The generator is started with a rip-cord, similar to that of a push lawn mower or hand-held weed-whacker.

Pros

Ok folks so now that we have the Product Features section out of the way let’s take a look at some of the Pros of this Duromax generator. The first one that I am going to mention right off the bat is the overall price of this product. If you compare this generator to others in the same wattage class you will notice a distinct difference when it comes to price. I’m not going to put a specific price in this article as the price can change at anytime, but as I write the product is ranging around two-hundred and fifty dollars. That’s about one-hundred dollars cheaper then some of the other products out there. Yes, you won’t get some of the nicer features that the other generators have, but this is a great buy if you are on a budget.

Whenever I am buying an expensive tool like this I like to know that I have a warranty standing behind the product in case something goes wrong. In this case this DuroMax generator comes with a three year home warranty and a one year commercial warranty. So, if something does go wrong you are covered for three years. Remember folks to start your generator regularly to ensure it is in proper working order.

This model of generator is fully complaint with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. On top of that it is also complaint with what’s known as CARB. CARB stands for California Air Resources Board. What this means is that this generator is able to be ran in all fifty states. While that’s not something you would really think about it is a good peace of mind to know that you aren’t breaking any laws!

I’ve never been a big fan of noise. The quieter the better for me and the DS4000S is quiet… for a generator. Sure, the unit is still going to be loud but there are loud generators and there are LOUD generators. In this case this system comes in at around sixty-nine dbas. I looked up similar noises at this level and the best comparison I could find is that it’s about the same level as your clothes washer. That’s not too bad.

Cons

Alright folks on to the Cons. While this product is highly reviewed in most places I looked there are always going to be downsides. In this case the number one downside I saw for this product was that the unit did not start at all. In other words, the consumer received a bad product that needs to be warrantied. We all know this happens, but what’s funny and a little sad here is that some reviewers bought this generator and kept it in the box until the time came where they needed it. They didn’t try to turn it on upon receiving it. No. They sat on it until their power went out and then when they tried to start their generator up nothing happened. Heck, that may have not even been the company’s fault depending on how the consumer stored the generator. The point I’m making here folks is to test your generator after purchasing. Make sure that it is working. If it’s not, then take advantage of that three year warranty.

There are a few other smaller Cons that I wanted to bring to your attention. The first is that this unit doesn’t come with an electric starter. While that may not seem like a big deal right now I can assure you that if you are out in the elements trying to get your generator started and you keep pulling that dam rip-cord over and over again an electric starter will sound pretty damn good. This is just more of a convenience factor though and will not affect the overall quality of your generator. The second con that I wanted to mention is the weight of the product. Now, for those of you that don’t know, portable generators can be heavy. Some of them are really heavy. Luckily, the Duromax DS4000S comes in at right about one-hundred pounds. The downside here is that I found no mention of wheels or a wheel kit. This product will have to be moved the old-fashioned way. While I could move this without too much difficulty, I am a big guy. Those of you who aren’t as large may have trouble moving this unit back and forth during setup.

When buying things online there is always risk of damage from the transport carrier. This is moreso when you are dealing with a larger product like a generator. While most people who order this item receive it in fine condition there is still the risk of the unit arriving to your home damaged. If this does happen then I would recommend filing a complaint with Amazon on your order. If you aren’t having any luck in that avenue then you could file a claim on DuroMax’s website under their three year warranty.

Conclusion

The DuroMax Power D000sS is a great buy for those of you looking for a portable generator with just enough power to get you through some hard times. While it cannot power your whole home, it can give you that power when it is most needed rather it be at the campsite, the RV parking lot, or at a construction site. Whatever your reason for purchasing one I can safely say that this is a great product. If you don’t believe me you can check out our Amazon.com product page and see just how many positive reviews there are. As I write this article there are over six-hundred reviews all with an average rating of four out of five stars. That is an impressive rating especially with that many people reviewing. If you are interested in purchasing this product please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner.

However, after reading this review you have found that this generator is not the one for you rather it be for the features it offers, the price, or just the overall size of the unit then let me suggest you check out our Best Generator Guide by clicking here. This guide takes you through what type of generator you need for each application and what our ToughAssTool top picks are in each category.

Lastly, I want to mention the legal stuff. This article was written for advice and informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not responsible nor liable for any property damage, fire damage, injuries, or any other related matters when it comes to purchasing, installing, and running your generators.

Thanks for reading and I hope this review was helpful,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

Important Links

Question

Having a portable generator on hand during a serve storm, blizzard, or hurricane is great for peace of mind. If sometime during this storm your power goes out you can rest assured knowing that you have a backup source of power just waiting to be hooked up. But, the question is, are portable generators dangerous? Or, are they safe to use?

The answer to this question is rather simple. Yes, they are VERY dangerous if not setup and ran correctly. However, if handled correctly and safely then there is little danger. If handled incorrectly then the results can be catastrophic. There are many things that can go wrong when running generators such as carbon monoxide poisoning, fires, and electrocution.

The most common danger when using generators is carbon monoxide poisoning. This can occur when the generator’s exhaust is not properly vented. Remember folks, that generators should NEVER be run inside your home, your basement, or your garage. Generators have engines and engines create exhaust. Think of a generator as your car. You wouldn’t leave your car running in the garage, would you? The same principle applies for generators. Most people recommend setting your generator between fifteen to twenty feet away from your home. This is usually a safe distance. It is also good practice to have carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home just to be on the safe side.

For more information please check out our Generator Safety Guide by clicking here. This guide goes through the proper way to setup and run your generator. Lastly, please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any property damage or personal injuries that can occur when operating generators.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson
ToughAssTools

Having a generator is a nicety for some and an absolute necessity for others. It all depends on where you live and what you can expect from your winters or from your severe weather season. Where I grew up, in rural Michigan, the possibility of a power loss during a winter storm was real and could happen often throughout those winter months. You either had to tough it out and throw some wood in the fireplace, or you pulled out your generator and got some that much needed power back on.

During these power loss events a common question that is asked is how long can my generator run for? Can I run it for days on end? Or, should it be used sparingly? Well folks, to answer this we first have to look at a variety of variables and understand what type of generator that you have.

Can Generators Run Indefinitely?

First and foremost, please remember that generators are used as a backup source to your regular power. They are a temporary alternative power replacement. The key word being here is temporary. They are not intended to replace your utility company and nor should they. Remember, generators are not the same as solar panels or other alternative power sources. Generators are designed as an emergency power source, and nothing more.

If a generator is kept running and running constantly then you are going to run into mechanical problems and maybe eventually engine failure. Generators have an engine and just like any other engine, it cannot be run constantly. I know I wouldn’t do that to my car, would you? So, what is the ideal time? How long should you run it for?

So, How Long Can They Run For?

Ok, so now that we know that generators cannot be run forever, we now need to figure out how long your generator should/can run. This is where things can get a bit tricky. That’s because of the variables that we have to consider. This could be the wattage size of your unit, the capacity or how much power you are demanding, the fuel type, and lastly the fuel tank size.

Let’s take a look at the fuel tank size first. Assuming that we are dealing with a portable generator the fuel tank size can range from a few gallons all the way up to ten gallons. You may find some even higher then that. Obviously, the larger the fuel tank the longer your generator will be able to run. Now, from what I have read a gallon of fuel can last anywhere from one and a half hours upwards to three hours. It all depends on the efficiency of the model you have AND the capacity that is being used. As an example, if you are using only twenty-five percent of your five-thousand watts generator then you can expect to see around three hours per gallon of fuel. (Maybe even closer to four.) But, in the same example if you are at one-hundred percent capacity and are using ALL of your watts then you are going to be around one-and a half hours per gallon fuel.

Westinghouse WGen5500
Westinghouse WGen5500

Now that we have that math figured out lets do a few real world examples. Let’s pretend you have a generator with an eight gallon tank and are running at about fifty percent capacity. We’re going to say you are consuming around a gallon of gasoline every two hours. So, by doing the math we can see that your generator will last sixteen hours before it needs to rest, be refueled, and reoiled. In a similar scenario with a four gallon tank and at one-hundred percent capacity you may only get a few hours out of the generator before it needs to be maintenanced.

Another variable to throw in the mix when dealing with portable generators is that some of these units are able to take propane tanks instead of gasoline. These are the same kinds of propane tanks that you use on your grill. You just pop it in and then you have your fuel source. The good news here is that propane is more efficient then standard gasoline. In fact, it burns less volume per hour by a factor of two to one when compared to gasoline. This could add an additional twenty-five to fifty percent to the gallons of fuel per hour we discussed earlier.

All that being said, a portable generator can run for as low as a couple of hours all the way up to twenty-four hours. It all depends on those circumstances we mentioned above. Just remember folks, that portable generators are NOT meant to run forever. They are a temporary solution and that is all.

Standby Generators

If you are looking for a generator that can you give you that needed power for longer periods of time then it may be time to consider purchasing what’s known as a standby generator. These generators hook up directly to your home, are immobile, and provide a substantial amount more power/wattage when compared to portable generators. On top of all of that these standby systems can actually hook directly up to your gas line or into your propane tank, and when I say propane tank I do not mean your standard four and a half gallon tank. No, I am talking about your big tanks you see out in the country: The five-hundred gallon all the way up to one-thousand gallons tanks.

With a tank that size you can safely assume that you will be able to run your generator for a much longer time then a standard portable unit. A propane powered standby generator typically burns between two to three gallons an hour. That equals out to about one week of constant power using a five-hundred gallon tank and about two weeks using a one-thousand gallon tank.

Depending on how much you want to invest into your generator some homeowners opt for two propane tanks. One of these tanks is for their standard home usage such as ovens, furnaces, and water heaters. The other tank is specifically meant for their generator. This gives the homeowner peace of mind that if they do have a power loss event that they will be able to run their generator up to two weeks.

While two weeks is a long time, remember that it is not recommended to be running your generators constantly. Just like anything else, they need a break every once and a while. Also, remember to perform proper maintenance on your generator rather it be a standby or a portable system. For more on maintenance you can click here to be taken to our Generator Maintenance Guide.

Conclusion

Well folks, that about covers it for how long you can run a generator for. The short answer is, there is no set limit. It all depends on the model, the watts, the capacity, and the fuel tank. If you are unsure it is always best to consult with your product’s instruction manual.

If you are in the market for a generator then I suggest you check out our Best Generators Guide by clicking here. Within this guide we go through what generator application you need, what size you need, and provide some of the top brands and models for each category.

After purchasing your generator you may find yourself unsure on how exactly to be safe when installing and running your new tool. The best option here is to read through your instruction manual but we also offer a Generator Safety Guide here at ToughAssTools which can be found by clicking here.

Lastly, please note that this article is designed to give advice and is for informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any property damage, fire damage, personal damage, or any injuries from installing or running a generator.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

Duromax XP4400E 4,400 Watt Portable Generator

I am still at the age where I am gathering tools. While I’m in my thirties I still haven’t accumulated enough of those lifelong tools. You know what I mean. The ones that last and last, not those cheap ones you buy for a quarter of the price and that break after only a few uses. I prefer quality, I prefer tools that last. It took me quite a few years to realize that cheaper isn’t always better. That is what we do here at ToughAssTools.

The same can be said for purchasing a portable generator. Adding a generator to your collection of tools is a great addition as it can give you that peace of mind during a power loss event, or it could simply be used for an extended camping trip. Whatever your reason for purchasing a generator you must ensure that you get the right one for you and your needs.

In this article we are going to take a deep dive into DuroMax’s XP4400E 4,400 Watt Portable Generator. We will look at the features that are offered, the Pros, the Cons, and anything that else that comes up in between. At the end of this post you should have a pretty firm grasp on rather this generator is the one for you, or if you should be looking at an alternative product.

Before You Buy

Before you consider purchasing a generator rather it be this model or something else it is always smart to stop and take a step back to look at all of the possible considerations that need to be factored in. Generators come in all sorts of sizes, features, and safety concerns. Do you know what to look for? Do you know where to begin? If you do, then by all means bypass this section and move right onto the Product Features.

However, if you find that you still have some questions on what to look for then I highly suggest you take the time and read through some of our guides. These guides will serve as your compass in the maze that are generators. Yes, I know, that was a bad analogy. Oh well. That aside, these guides will provide you the knowledge on what to look for and after reading if you find that this product isn’t the right one for you then we have served our purpose by steering you in the right direction.

  • If you are not sure what size of generator you should be buying click here to be taken to our generator size guide. Also, be aware that sizing your generator isn’t as easy as estimating or guessing. In order to get the appropriate and correct power required you need to take the time to add up all of the wattages of your appliances and figure out the starting/running watts of each.
  • If you are not sure what features you should be looking for then click here to be taken to our top features for generators guide. This guide dives deep into the various bells and whistles that you can get on your generator. If you’re a bare bones guy then this article may not be for you, but if you are looking to get some of those extra features and save yourself some time and headaches then I suggest you check out the guide.
  • Like it or not maintaining your generator and ensuring it is running properly is a must. After all, you want your generator and your investment to last, right? Well ensuring the proper maintenance is done year after year will do just that. Click here to be taken to our Generator Maintenance Guide.
  • Lastly, if you are not quite sure how to safely use and run a generator then please click here to be taken to our safety guide. This could be setting up the system, grounding your generator, or running your generator. Safety is something I just can’t stress enough of when dealing with generators. These machines can be life savers but they can also be very dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. If used incorrectly it can lead to property damage, fire damage, personal injury, or even fatalities. Safety first!

Product Features

Duromax XP4400E 4,400 Watt Portable Generator
Duromax XP4400E 4,400 Watt Portable Generator

The DuroMax Power XP4400E  comes with forty-four-hundred starting watts and thirty-five hundred running watts. When looking at the product on Amazon we can see it directly advertises the forty-four-hundred surge/starting watts. While this number is true, you should really be looking at the running watts to determine if this generator will have enough power for your needs. Starting watts are only designed to be used for a few seconds and are used for starting an appliance that contains a motor like a refrigerator or an air conditioner. They are not a long term wattage solution. That is where running watts come in. In this case you can do quite a bit with thirty-five hundred running watts. You could use this generator during a camping trip, RVing, on a job site, or for emergency home power. (Please note that if you use this for emergency home power that the generator does NOT have enough power capacity to connect to your power panel via a manual transfer switch.) The wattage that you do have would be enough to power an air conditioner for your RV or you could power both your refrigerator, deep freeze, and some other miscellaneous appliances in your home.

The XP4400E  comes with two one-hundred and twenty volt outlets along with one two-hundred and forty volt outlet. The generator also comes with what’s known as a ‘voltage selector switch.’ This switch allows you to customize the type of power that you need. If you have a two-hundred and forty volt appliance plugged into your generator then you must have the switch in the 120/240v position. Inversely, if you have just one-hundred and twenty volt appliances plugged in then the switch should be on the 120V Only position. This switch makes it easy to move back and forth as needed.

The other day I was writing an article about what can happen when you overload your generator. An overload is when you are trying to pull too much power from your generator, or you are exceeding it’s total wattage. In the article I explained how you can overload your generator and what the consequences could be if you did. Now, hopefully you don’t have that problem, but IF you do end up overloading your generator by mistake you can rest assured as this model comes with a circuit breaker that will stop an overload from occurring. If your generator senses and overload it will shut down automatically to prevent damage to the system. This is a nice insurance policy on an expensive tool.

I’m not a big fan of the rip-cord start on my weed whacker. It’s a pain to get started each time and at the end when it finally does start my arm is sore. When there is an electric start option I’m apt to take it. In this case with the XP4400E we have just that, and electric starter. That means no messing with the rip-cord. Instead you hit the ignition and call it good. (Batteries are included with purchase as well.)

This DuroMax generator runs on standard eighty-seven octane gasoline. That is most likely the same gasoline that your vehicle or lawn mower uses. The product comes with a four gallon tank and can last up to eight hours on one tank. (The eight hours can be variable depending on the load of the generator.) There is also a fuel gauge on this product that is all white when it is empty and will turn red as fuel is added. (Please note that the fuel gauge may not show correctly if there is less then one third of a tank.) The recommend oil for this product is SAE 10W-30, and as most of you know the oil needs to be checked and added each time fuel is added to ensure your system is running efficiently. The good news is that if you forget to add oil the XP4400E has what’s known as an emergency low oil shut-off switch. This switch does just what’s described, it shuts your generator off if it gets too low on oil. This protects your generator and prevents any overheating damage.

Ok, there are a few more minor things I want to mention before we move on to the Pros section. The first is that this generator comes with a one inch steel frame that serves to protect the generator from falls or from something falling on it. The actual generator sits on this frame as well to ensure smooth and even operation. For those of you that don’t know, portable generators can be heavy. Some of them are really heavy. This particular generator comes with a wheel kit and handles that will make the generator a bit easier to move around.

DuroMax XP4400E Power Panel
DuroMax XP4400E Power Panel

Pros

The Pros section can be a bit tricky as we have already covered a lot of the product features in our previous section. Many of these features can be considered Pros as well. So, how do we make the determination as to what’s a Pro and what’s a Feature? It can be difficult but here is what we have put together for you:

  • This model of generator is fully complaint with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. On top of that it is also complaint with what’s known as CARB. CARB stands for California Air Resources Board. What this means is that this generator is able to be ran in all fifty states. While that’s not something you would really think about it is a good peace of mind to know that you aren’t breaking any laws!
  • Whenever I am buying an expensive tool like this I like to know that I have a warranty standing behind the product in case something goes wrong. In this case this DuroMax generator comes with a three year home warranty and a one year commercial warranty. So, if something does go wrong you are covered.
  • We mentioned the wheel kit that comes with this generator, but what we didn’t mention is that this wheel kit comes with solid state tires. What that means is that your tire is never going to go flat. I can imagine nothing worse then scrounging around for your generator during a power loss. You finally find it tucked away in a corner of your garage and then you realize the tires are flat. Now you have to fix the tire as well as get the power back on. Not fun. These solid tires will prevent that and will always be there for you in whatever situation.
  • I’ve never been a big fan of noise. The quieter the better for me and the XP4400E  is quiet… for a generator. Sure, the unit is still going to be loud but there are loud generators and there are LOUD generators. In this case this system comes in at around sixty-nine dbas. I looked up similar noises at this level and the best comparison I could find is that it’s about the same level as your clothes washer. That’s not too bad.

Cons

Alright folks on to the Cons. While this product is highly reviewed in most places I looked there are always going to be downsides. In this case the number one downside I saw for this product was that the unit did not start at all. In other words, the consumer received a bad product that needs to be warrantied. We all know this happens, but what’s funny and a little sad here is that some reviewers bought this generator and kept it in the box until the time came where they needed it. They didn’t try to turn it on upon receiving it. No. They sat on it until their power went out and then when they tried to start their generator up nothing happened. Heck, that may have not even been the company’s fault depending on how the consumer stored the generator. The point I’m making here folks is to test your generator after purchasing. Make sure that it is working. If it’s not, then take advantage of that three year warranty.

Two smaller Cons that I wanted to point out are the weight and the lack of power for a manual transfer switch. First, the weight. This unit comes in at around one-hundred and thirty pounds. That’s heavy, even for me, and I’m a bigger guy. The good news is that this unit does come with wheels and handles, but it still may be a bit difficult to move around. Yes, it is a portable unit… but you’re going to work for that mobility! Second, is the manual transfer switch. For those that don’t know having a manual transfer switch to hook your generator up to your home is a must if you wish to get your furnace or central air conditioner back on. You see these large appliances don’t really have an outlet, instead they are tied directly into your power panel. The only way you can power these with a generator is by connecting it to your power panel via a manual transfer switch. The minimum wattage amount to do this is five-thousand, so on this case the generator fall short.

When buying things online there is always risk of damage from the transport carrier. This is moreso when you are dealing with a larger product like a generator. While most people who order this item receive it in fine condition there is still the risk of the unit arriving to your home damaged. If this does happen then I would recommend filing a complaint with Amazon on your order. If you aren’t having any luck in that avenue then you could file a claim on DuroMax’s website under their three year warranty.

Conclusion

The DuroMax Power XP4400E is a great buy for those of you looking for a portable generator with just enough power to get you through some hard times. While it cannot power your whole home, it can give you that power when it is most needed rather it be at the campsite, the RV parking lot, or at a construction site. Whatever your reason for purchasing one I can safely say that this is a great product. If you don’t believe me you can check out our Amazon.com product page and see just how many positive reviews there are. As I write this article there are over seven-hundred reviews all with an average rating of four out of five stars. That is an impressive rating especially with that many people reviewing. If you are interested in purchasing this product please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner.

However, after reading this review you have found that this generator is not the one for you rather it be for the features it offers, the price, or just the overall size of the unit then let me suggest you check out our Best Generator Guide by clicking here. This guide takes you through what type of generator you need for each application and what our ToughAssTool top picks are in each category.

Lastly, I want to mention the legal stuff. This article was written for advice and informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not responsible nor liable for any property damage, fire damage, injuries, or any other related matters when it comes to purchasing, installing, and running your generators.

Thanks for reading and I hope this review was helpful,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

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Portable or Standby generators can be a fantastic tool to have on hand at your disposal, especially during a severe storm. Over here in Kansas City our severe weather season starts up around March and extends all the way to early June. While some of these storms are tornado producing most of the time we just get strong winds, rain, and hail. Occasionally during these storms the power will go out. (Sometimes due to the high winds damaging the power lines.) In most cases the power is only out for a few hours, and in extreme cases maybe a couple of days.

The best solution for a scenario like this is to have either a portable or a standby generator hooked up to your home. The problem though is that generators can be quite expensive, especially if you opt for a standby or a larger wattage portable unit. I’m talking thousands of dollars here. The question is, do you want to spend that kind of money for peace of mind? And, if you do spend that much money how long is the generator going to last you in the long run? Is it still going to be working for you ten years down the road? Twenty? Thirty? Let’s take a look.

How Long Will Generators Last?

From our research here at ToughAssTools we have found that most generators last between ten-thousand to twenty-five thousand hours of usage. Now, if you’re like me that number doesn’t sound like anything. Ten-thousand hours doesn’t help me. So, in order to make this a bit more digestible we’re going to illustrate a scenario so that we can come close to estimating how long your generator will last you.

First we need to determine how many times your home will lose power in a year and how long that power loss will be. In this example we’re going to high ball it and say that you will lose power for ten solid days out of the year. Now let’s do the math. Ten  days a year times twenty-four hours a day equals out to two-hundred and forty hours per year.

Ok, so now that we’ve got our yearly hour usage let’s look at the estimated operating hours a generator can last. We’re going to take the lower of the two numbers we mentioned earlier. In this case we’ll take ten-thousand operating hours. Now, let’s do the math again. Ten-thousand hours divided by two-hundred and forty. Our result is forty-one. So, in this example the generator would last up to forty-one years.

Please note that for the most accurate lifetime hours of your generator it is best to consult your products instruction manual or to call the manufacturer directly. Remember, each unit is different.

Points of Note

Now that number we gave you above of forty-one years may seem extraordinary. Well let me tell you that it is obtainable. There are just a few things that you need to do to ensure that your generator can reach that ripe old age.

The first is to NOT buy the cheap generators. Do not buy from an unreputable brand and do not purchase a generator that’s price seems to good to be true. Remember, these tools can be quite expensive but by paying that extra dollar you are also getting a premium product. Here at ToughAssTools one of our top generator picks is the Westinghouse WGen model generator. This unit comes in quite a few different wattage sizes to adapt to your needs and has a one-hundred and thirty year old company standing behind the product. We did a review on this generator which can be found by clicking here.

The second part that you can do to ensure your generator lasts is to ensure that you are doing the proper maintenance and care for your generator. This may seem like such a simple concept but you would be surprised by how many people either forget or just never bother with routine maintenance. For more information on how to maintain your generator please click here to be taken to our Generator Maintenance Guide.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a generator then I suggest you check out our Best Generators Guide by clicking here. Within this guide we go through what generator application you need, what size you need, and provide some of the top brands and models for each category.

After purchasing your generator you may find yourself unsure on how exactly to be safe when installing and running your new tool. The best option here is to read through your instruction manual, but we also offer a Generator Safety Guide here at ToughAssTools which can be found by clicking here.

Lastly, please note that this article is designed to give advice and is for informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any property damage, fire damage, personal damage, or any injuries from installing or running a generator.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

Question

Regardless of what tool you are dealing with the chances are that it requires maintenance to keep it working correctly and at one-hundred percent efficiency. It could be something as simple as a knife that needs to be sharpened or it could be a fifty-two inch deck zero turn mower. Whatever the tool is maintenance is a necessity and generators are no different in this matter.

One of the most important reasons to perform maintenance on your generator is to protect your purchase and your investment. Depending on the wattage and size of the generator you purchased your initial investment could be substantial. Lower sized generators can still be a couple hundred dollars and the higher end models can be over one-thousand. Do you really want to risk not performing maintenance and potentially shrinking the life of your generator?

Most manufacturers recommend performing maintenance on your generator either once per year or after one-hundred hours of run time, whichever comes first. In most cases it’s going to be that once a year marker. If it was me, I would perform this maintenance right before the rough season. As an example, I live in ‘Tornado Alley,’ here in Kansas. The prime season for dangerous storms is March, April, and May. In this scenario I would perform maintenance on my generator either in January or February to prepare for the storms down the road. If I encounter a problem, such as the generator not starting, I now have enough time to correct the problem before I actually need the generator.

What Has To Be Done?

Remember that your generator is an engine and just like with any engine it needs to have the oil changed. It needs to have the air filter either cleaned or replaced. Be sure to consult your manufacturer’s instructions to find the right type of oil, how much, and what type of air filter that you need.

Along with that, it is always wise to run the generator during this maintenance period to ensure that it starts and that it is able to keep running. You may even try plugging in a few simple things to ensure that power is being generated from the alternator. While the changing the oil and filter is required only once a year, many manufacturers recommend starting your generator every few months (Maybe even once a month) to ensure that the unit is starting. Better to have that peace of mind that the unit WILL start when it comes to crunch time.

Building on that, If the generator you have has an electric starter you should also check to see if the battery is still active and working. If it is not you can either attempt to recharge the battery, or if need be purchase a new one. This isn’t the end of the world if your electric starter’s battery is no longer working as most generators come with a backup ripcord, so this is up to you.

Lastly, is storing your generator. While this isn’t necessarily maintenance it is still very important to extend the life and to protect your generator from the elements. Most homeowners store their portable generators in their garage or in their outbuilding. Ensure that your generator is safe from water, rain, and other elements. Also, please note that you should NEVER run your generator indoors, in your garage, or in an enclosed area.

Conclusion

Ok folks, so now you have a good idea what it takes to maintenance your generator. Depending on the size of the generator you purchased, especially if it’s a standby system, your installer may offer a annual maintenance package. With this package you get a worry free generator that will get maintained each year by a professional technician. These are great for those of you who want to buy it and forget about it until you need it.

If you are in the market for a generator then I suggest you check out our Best Generators Guide by clicking here. Within this guide we go through what generator application you need, what size you need, and provide some of the top brands and models for each category.

After purchasing your generator you may find yourself unsure on how exactly to be safe when installing and running your new tool. The best option here is to read through your instruction manual but we also offer a Generator Safety Guide here at ToughAssTools which can be found by clicking here.

Lastly, please note that this article is designed to give advice and is for informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any property damage, fire damage, personal damage, or any injuries from installing or running a generator.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

Portable generators are one of those tools you never think about until you realize that you need one. So often you see on the news people running to all of the big box stores trying to find a generator before the hurricane or big blizzard arrives. Instead of making an impulse buy decision don’t you think it would be smarter to purchase a tool like this with a clear mind and while not under a time crunch? I think so.

Over the past few weeks here at ToughAssTools we have been focusing on generators and anything and everything that goes with them. We have researched and written various guides, questions, and reviews on a variety of generator products. Our goal here is to have one comprehensive guide on these very useful tools and to provide you, the consumer, with everything that you need to know. In this latest article we are going to be doing a product review on Westinghouse’s WGen portable generator.

Before You Buy

Before you consider purchasing a generator rather it be this model or something else it is always smart to stop and take a step back to look at all of the possible considerations that need to be factored in. Generators come in all sorts of sizes, features, and safety concerns. Do you know what to look for? Do you know where to begin? If you do, then by all means bypass this section and move right onto the Product Features.

However, if you find that you still have some questions on what to look for then I highly suggest you take the time and read through some of our guides. These guides will serve as your compass in the maze that are generators. Yes, I know, that was a bad analogy. Oh well. That aside, these guides will provide you the knowledge on what to look for and after reading if you find that this product isn’t the right one for you then we have served our purpose by steering you in the right direction.

  • If you are not sure what size of generator you should be buying click here to be taken to our generator size guide. Also, be aware that sizing your generator isn’t as easy as estimating or guessing. In order to get the appropriate and correct power required you need to take the time to add up all of the wattages of your appliances and figure out the starting/running watts of each.
  • If you are not sure what features you should be looking for then click here to be taken to our top features for generators guide. This guide dives deep into the various bells and whistles that you can get on your generator. If you’re a bare bones guy then this article may not be for you, but if you are looking to get some of those extra features and save yourself some time and headaches then I suggest you check out the guide.
  • Lastly, if you are not quite sure how to safely use and run a generator then please click here to be taken to our safety guide. Safety is something I just can’t stress enough of when dealing with generators. These machines can be life savers but they can also be very dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. If used incorrectly it can lead to property damage, fire damage, personal injury, or even fatalities. Safety first!

    WGen6000 Portable Generator
    WGen6000 Portable Generator

Product Features

Now when looking at this product on Amazon we can see that there are many different model types such as WGen6000, the WGEN7500, the WGEN5500, and many more. For the most part these various model types differ by the wattage, or power, provided from the generator. There are a few other differences between models such as the ‘DF’ models can also take Propane as a fuel source. Along with the different model types you can also find accessory items such as additional power cords, transfer switch power cord, and a power inlet box. Before we go further in this review, I want to make clear that this product review is focusing on the features of the WGen6000 model. While the other models are VERY similar there may be slight differences between them.

Once you have chosen the right model of generator for you the next thing you are going to look at is how many outlets it has and what you can do with it. In this case on the WGen6000 we have four separate one-hundred and twenty volt outlets. You may see these labeled as ‘duplex outlets.’ What that simply means is that there are two right on top of each other and the other two are next to each other. These are your basic outlets that everyone is familiar with. That being said, there are a few added benefits to these outlets. The first is that they come with what’s known as Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, or GFCIs. These GFCIs protect your generator and your appliances if an excess of current begins to occur. These are the same types of safeguards that you have in your kitchen. The other benefit is that these outlets come with a rubber covering to help protect them when not in use.

If you are looking at this generator for a quick and easy solution to get a few things running during a power loss then these are the outlets you are going to be using. However, if you are wanting to hook this generator directly up to your home’s circuit breaker box then there is good news. This generator comes ready to be hooked up to your home via the 120/240v 30a outlet. That being said, in order to do this correctly you will need to have a manual transfer switch installed and a power inlet box. You will need a professional electrician to install both of these to ensure everything is setup correctly and safely. Please do not try to do this yourself. Leave it to the professionals.

The other day I was writing an article about what can happen when you overload your generator. In the article I explained how you can overload your generator and what the consequences could be if you did. Now, hopefully you don’t have that problem but IF you do end up overloading your generator by mistake you can rest assured as the WGen model comes with a circuit breaker that will stop an overload from occurring. If your generator senses and overload it will shut down automatically to prevent damage to the system. This is a nice insurance policy on an expensive tool.

I’m not a big fan of the rip-cord start on my weed whacker. It’s a pain to get started each time and at the end when it finally does start my arm is sore. When there is an electric start option I’m apt to take it. In this case with the WGen we have just that, and electric starter. That means no messing with the rip-cord. Instead you hit the ignition and call it good. (Batteries are included with purchase as well.)

Depending on the model you select your generator will either take standard eighty-seven octane gasoline or could also take propane. (Most of the models take gasoline.) The unit that we are looking at, the WGEN6000, has a 6.6 gallon fuel tank. This generator is rated to run for eighteen hours with a twenty-five percent load and up to thirteen hours with a fifty percent load. The recommended oil for this generator is SAE 10W30 and it can handle up to 1.1 quarters. The good thing here though is if your oil does end up getting to low there is an automatic low oil shut off so that your generator is protected from running hot.

Before we get onto the Pros section of the review there are a few more features that I wanted to mention. They aren’t as fancy as the other benefits but they are still worth reviewing. When the generator is running it has a digital display that shows you current volts, frequency, and the lifetime hours. You also have roll bars installed on the generator to prevent damage in case the unit tips or if something falls on it. Lastly, the wheel kit is included with this generator and the wheels that come with it are ‘never flat’ which means you never have to mess with a flat tire. That’s the last thing you want to deal with during a power loss.

Wgen6000 Portable Generator
Wgen6000 Portable Generator

Pros

The Pros section can be a bit tricky as I feel like a lot of the Pros we have already mentioned above in the Product Features section. With the risk of sounding like a cheesy infomercial salesmen I’m going to say, ‘But wait, there’s more!’ No seriously folks, there are a few more features or ‘Pros’ that I saved specifically for this section. I’m going to make this section pretty short but don’t let that alarm you. This generator is a solid machine and is made by a solid company that has been around for over one-hundred years. They know what they are doing.

Warranty

  • These generators from Westinghouse come with a three year limited warranty for home/residential usage and a one year warranty for commercial usage. Along with that they also provide a nationwide customer service and support phone number that can be reached by dialing 1-855-944-3571. This is outstanding product support and just goes to show you how much effort Westinghouse puts forth in their brand and their company.

EPA

  • The Westinghouse generators in this review are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and they are also approved by the California Air Resource Board, or CARB. This may not sound like a big deal, but it really is to be approved by both agencies.

Noise

  • Usually with these larger generators people expect a lot of noise and commotion. It’s par for the course. Now, I’m not going to claim this unit is quiet as a mouse or anything like that, but it IS quieter then the competition. These generators come in at around seventy-two Dba. I looked this up before writing this to see what I could compare it to. Guess what? It’s about as noisy as running a vacuum. That’s not too bad.

Cons

This generator is truly a ToughAssTool. I looked around for a while folks for the Cons on this product and I honestly didn’t find much. Here is what I did find. The most common complaint there is on these WGen units is that the electric starter eventually stops working. Some customers stated that it stopped after only a few times and other stated that theirs stopped after months of use. The good news here is you can still physically start the generator, you just have to use the manual option. While this isn’t optimal it still gets the job done.

The other two Cons aren’t necessarily a major negative, but I wanted to mention them anyways. The first is the overall cost of the unit. Yes, you are getting a quality product with a reputable company to stand behind it but in order to get that you are going to have to pay pretty penny. Depending on the model you choose you could pay anywhere from a couple-hundred dollars all the way up to and over one-thousand dollars. (Prices are subject to change at any time.) The other somewhat snag in this is the overall weight of the unit. Again, this depends on the model size that you choose but the weight on this could range from ninety pounds upwards to two-hundred pounds. While the ninety may not be too much for you, when you get to that two-hundred pound range it may be a struggle to move around even if it does have those never flat wheels.

Conclusion

Overall folks I would say that this WGen generator from Westinghouse is a definite buy, especially if you are looking for an alternative power source for your home either through standard methods or through a manual transfer switch. This product on Amazon.com has over one-thousand reviews and nearly everyone of them is positive. Let me say that another way, over one-thousand people have rated this unit at four and a half out of five stars. If that doesn’t scream quality, I don’t know what does. If you are interested in purchasing this unit please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner.

However, after reading this review you have found that this generator is not the one for you rather it be for the features it offers, the price, or just the overall size of the unit then let me suggest you check out our Best Generator Guide by clicking here. This guide takes you through what type of generator you need for each application and what our ToughAssTool top picks are in each category.

Lastly, I want to mention the legal stuff. This article was written for advice and informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not responsible nor liable for any property damage, fire damage, injuries, or any other related matters when it comes to purchasing, installing, and running your generators.

Thanks for reading and I hope this review was helpful,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

Important Links

Generators rather they be portable or standby are a great tool to have at your disposal. Rather you are on a camping trip and needing some power for your flood lights, or if you stuck at home during a blizzard and your power goes out. Whatever the situation is generators are there and are able to provide you that power when it is most needed. Over the past few weeks we here at ToughAssTools have dedicated article after article to generators. Our goal here is to find out everything there is about them. In this section we will be an answering the common question of: What Happens if I Overload My Generator?

Watts, Running Watts, & Starting Watts

To answer this question we first have to do a short explanation of watts, running watts, and starting watts. I’m sure most of you are already familiar with what watts are. Watts are a unit of measurement when it comes to power or electricity. The larger the number the more power it has or needs. Generators can range from five-hundred watts all the way up to forty-thousand watts. It all depends on what you need your generator for. Depending on your needs you may only need a small or medium sized or you may need something to power your whole home. In order to determine this we need to understand what running watts and starting watts are.

Running watts are a measurement of how many watts your generator can sustain continuously. In other words, this your standard measurement. Let’s say you have a few appliances that you want to hook up to your generator and they total about two-thousand watts. These could be a coffee maker, a laptop, and a few phone chargers. Nothing major. In this instance the two-thousand watts would be your running or continuous watt measurement. The amount of watts required doesn’t change, it is a constant.

Starting watts, or surge watts, are a bit different. These typically apply on larger appliances like your refrigerators, air conditioners, furnaces, or power tools. Typically, when there is a motor involved then the appliance will have starting watts. These appliances have both starting watts and running watts. When the appliance initially turns on there is significant power needed to start the motor up. This extra power dissipates after a few seconds as the motor gets moving, but this extra wattage is needed in order to power on the machine. This ‘extra’ power is known as starting watts. As an example, if we look at Westinghouse’s WGen7500 portable generator on Amazon by clicking here we can see that it’s running watts are seventy-five hundred and the starting or surge watts are at ninety-five hundred. This is a great example as it states the running and starting (peak) watts right in the description of the product.

Overloading Your Generator

Ok folks, so now that we know the differences between these wattage measurements we can begin to understand how your generator can be overloaded. The first and most logical way for an overload to occur is exceeding the running watts of your generator. Yes, as we mentioned above, an appliance with starting watts DOES exceed the running watts but it is important to note that starting watts are a temporary need. They only last for a few seconds then the appliances tapers back down to running watts. An overload  can occur when having numerous appliances plugged into your generator that exceed the total running watts. It doesn’t matter if you are still below the starting watts. Remember, starting watts are temporary and your generator can only produce them for so long. After enough time has passed the generator will overload and either shut off due to the circuit breaker, or if  it doesn’t have a circuit breaker then it will keep running and eventually overheat which could lead to a fire. Starting watts are not meant to be sustained over long periods of time.

I mentioned the fire risk above but I’m going to expand on it a bit further here. If your generator is not protected against an overload by using a circuit breaker, then the system will eventually overheat. Depending on the length of the overheating the unit could eventually catch on fire. If this fire gets close enough to the gas tank then you could have a rupture or explosion. This can end very badly and there are documented cases of people burning their homes down by mistake due to this.

Even without the risk of fire though, running your generator hot or above capacity can burn out your alternator and other components of your generator which can significantly shorten the life of your system. Not only that but if the system is overload then you could have intermittent power which can damage any appliances directly plugged into your generator. It is very important to pay attention to the running and starting wattage of your generator and to not exceed it not only for safety’s sake but also to protect your wallet.

No matter what, generators cannot exceed their maximum wattage capacity. It will not happen. This capacity is based off of two things. The first is the capacity to generate electricity through the alternator. The second is the power of the engine that drives the alternator. Most generators do come with circuit breakers to limit excessive amounts of current. If after a few seconds of extra current then the circuit breaker will trip and shut down. This security allows starting watts to come through, but if the excess wattage lasts for more then a few seconds then the system trips and overloads. While your generator may survive being overloaded I cannot say the same thing about the appliances that are hooked up to it. It is best to to know exactly how many watts that you need before running your generator to ensure safety and to protect the generator as well as your appliances.

Conclusion

If you take anything from this article I hope that it is the importance of measuring how many starting and running watts you need for your generator. Once you have that number of required watts add an additional twenty or thirty percent just to give yourself some more leeway. If you have more questions on sizing your generator and what to look for then I suggest you visit our Generator Sizing Guide by clicking here. Also, if you are in the market for purchasing a generator then check out our ‘Best Generators’ guide by clicking here.

Remember folks, safety first when it comes to generators. While they can be great tools and can give you that needed power in hard times they can also be very dangerous. There are numerous injuries each year due to improper generator usage. If you are unsure on how to use a generator or how to set one up please check out our Safety Guide by clicking here.

Lastly, please note that this article is meant as advice and is for informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any property damage, injuries, or anything else when it comes to generator installation and usages.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

Over the past few weeks here at ToughAssTools we have been focusing on portable and standby generators for home and commercial use. That’s how we work around here. We find a specific type of tool and then read, learn, and write everything we can about it. Today, with generators, we are going to focus on what’s known as Starting Watts and Running Watts. If you already own a generator or are familiar with the term already then this article may not be for you. However, if you are in the research stage of your purchase then I highly recommend you keep reading to ensure that you get a firm grasp and understanding on the differences between these two measurements. Knowing these two measurements and how they can affect your generator are crucial.

First let’s start with that all generators, rather they be portable or standby, have the amount of power that they can provide measured in watts. Watts are a unit of measurement for power and are used to quantify the rate of energy that is transferred. The higher the number the more power or energy is transferred. Appliances, computers, phone chargers, or anything else that you plug into the wall will have a wattage rating. On some of the larger appliances like refrigerators or air conditioners the watts will be right on the label. However, with smaller things it may not be as obvious. If you were to look at a toaster for example, you may only find amps and volts. Nothing to worry about though as these two numbers can easily be transferred over to a watts. All you have to do is take the amps multiplied by the volts. You then have your watts. Measuring how many watts you need is a key step when figuring out what size generator you need.

Here’s the thing though, it is not just as simple as adding up all of the watts of each appliance. No, you also need to take into consideration what’s known as staring watts. Most appliances, especially larger ones like your refrigerators and air conditioners, will have two different wattage ratings. There will be starting watts and a running watts. Running watts are what we discussed above. These are the required watts to continuously run the appliance. (These watts are also known as rated or continuous watts.) Most of the time when you are looking at a toaster or coffee maker you will only find the running watts. This is also the wattage measurement that most folks are used to.

It is when we get into the larger appliances, especially ones with a motor, that we run into what’s known as Staring Watts. These watts, also known as Surge Watts, are the amount of power required to turn or start one of these larger appliances such as refrigerators, furnaces, air conditioners, and power tools. In order for these machines to start up they need a short and brief boost of power to get the motor going. This boost requires more watts then the standard running wattage. Once the motor has turned on the amount of watts required slowly goes down until it reaches the rated running watt level. Most of the time these extra watts are needed at the start of the appliance being turned on, but there are occasional instances where a compressor or motor will need to run during regular operation of the appliance. Again, starting watts will be used these scenarios as well. Starting watts are only meant to be used for a very short period of time. (Just a few seconds at most.) If you try to run numerous applications and you exceed the running watts but are still within the starting watts you will still overload your system. For more information on exactly what sized generator you should purchase please click here to be taken to our Generator Sizing Guide.

Starting watts are what’s known as maximum watts. When purchasing a generator you should pay very close attention to what the maximum watts of the generator is and the running watts. The worst thing you can do is purchase a generator, get it setup, and then find that you don’t have enough power because you bought based off of running watts and not surge watts. When looking at generators you should be able to find the specific maximum starting watts and the running watts. If it is unclear or you cannot find it on the product either ask for help or move onto a different product. As an example, if we look at Westinghouse’s WGen7500 portable generator on Amazon by clicking here we can see that it’s running watts are seventy-five hundred and the starting or surge watts are at ninety-five hundred. This is a great example as it tells you right in the product description. I’m a big fan of making things easy.

Lastly, if you are planning to purchase a generator check out our Best Generator Article by clicking here and also our Generator Safety Guide by clicking here. Remember folks, it is always best to be safe then sorry. Generators are not toys and they can be very dangerous if not used correctly. Please note that this article is intended to give advice and informational value only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any damage when it comes to using generators rather it be personal, injury, or property.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

Question

Portable generators can be a lifesaver especially for those times when you suffer power loss during extreme weather. It could be a sweltering summer day in Kansas where the temperatures are over one-hundred degrees or it could be bone-chilling cold and snowy in northern Michigan. Whatever the reason for your power going out having a portable generator will allow you to get your lights and appliances back on.

The question though is a manual transfer switch necessary for your portable generator, or can you get your lights back on without worrying about it? Well folks, before I can answer that question there are some factors that we have to consider first.

Manual Transfer Switches

What will you be using your generator for in the event of a power loss? Now that may seem like a stupid question. Obviously, you are going to be using it to get your power back on, but the real heart of this question is what exactly do you want turned back on in your home? In our introduction we gave an example of a hot summer or a cold winter’s day. In both of these instances you want your air conditioner or furnace back up and running.

This is where things can get tricky. Let’s pretend that when your power goes out all you want back on is your refrigerator, a few lights, and maybe your television. In this case you do not need a manual transfer switch as all you have to do is route an extension cord from your generator over to the appliances. This is pretty straight forward. Where it gets tricky is when dealing with appliances that don’t directly plug into an outlet like your furnace or air conditioner. Instead, these are routed directly to your power panel.

Here is where your manual transfer switch will come into play. A transfer switch connects directly to your circuit box, or power panel, and will feed the electricity generated from your generator directly into your home. It is then up to you to determine which circuits you want to turn on and which you want to keep off. (This can be very important as you don’t want to add too much load to your generator and exceed the rated wattage.)

I won’t lie to you, transfer switches are expensive. Sometimes they are just as expensive as the generator itself. On top of that you have to pay for a professional installation from a trained electrician. Trust me, you don’t want to guess your way through this. It’s best to leave it to the professionals. That being said, keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for the switch and the install to get things working correctly.

In order to get around this extra cost some people take it upon themselves to backfeed their generator into their home. Backfeeding a generator is hooking the generator directly into an outlet of your home with a two male sided extension cord. I won’t get into all of the details on what happens when backfeeding, but if you want to learn more you can click here. What I will say is that backfeeding can be extremely dangerous for you, your neighbors, and electrical workers. The most common problem found with backfeeding your system is when the power from the grid comes back on. You now have two power sources running through your home with no circuit breaker to regulate. Eventually you will a get current overload which could lead to a fire.

A transfer switch actively prevents these problems by stopping power from the outside grid from getting into your home. This prevents the current overflow and also prevents a possible fire. It is the safest way to alternatively power your home.

Along with the safety bonus transfer switches also can make things much easier during a power loss event. Even if you do not plan to power on your furnace or air conditioner a transfer switch can still be quite useful by making things easy. If you wish to give power to your living room and living room only all you have to do is setup the generator, turn off all circuits on your power panel except the living room, and then transfer the power over to the generator. Now compare that to having to route wires and cords back and forth for each and everything you want turned back on.

Conclusion

Alright folks so now, hopefully, you have an idea if you need a transfer switch or not for your home. It basically boils down to if you want to power on larger appliances like furnaces or air conditioners, or if you want things to be easier to get back and running during a power loss. Will you pay the extra expense, or will you stick with a standard generator?

If you are not sure what size of generator you should purchase then I highly recommend taking a look at our sizing guide. This will walk you through on how to determine exactly what wattage that you need. Also, before setting up and running your generator it is best to consult our Generator Safety Guide by clicking here. This takes you through the Do’s and Dont’s of generator usage.

Lastly, is our disclaimer. I want to be clear that this article is meant for advice and for informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any financial loss, property damage, or injuries that can occur when working with and using generators.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools