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Picking a Generator for Your Portable Construction Office

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Finding the best generators for your mobile office rental takes more than just hooking one up and turning it on. Selecting a generator that is not sized correctly can lead to annoying circuit breaker trips, faulty equipment and undue wear and tear on the generator.

We’re often asked what portable office generators are best for construction sites. In this post, you’ll learn how to figure out the required wattage and tell you what to look for when considering different generator options.

Important Notes

  • Only a certified electrician should connect power to a mobile office.
  • Improper connection could cause injury or damage to persons or equipment.
  • Never run a generator inside your office, and direct exhaust away from workplace spaces.

How to Calculate Power Requirements for Your Portable Office Generator

When considering generator power, you need to know the wattage of all the equipment used inside your portable office, including HVAC units, lighting, computers, printers, TVs and coffee machines.

Most devices will list either their total wattage or their amperage and voltage. Add up the total wattage of each product that the generator will power to figure out how much generator power you need. If you only know the amps and volts of your equipment, multiply amps by volts to get the wattage.

When you rent one of our portable offices, we recommend a generator wattage size for the office you select, if requested. This will help narrow down your generator choices.

A portable office generator providing emergency power.
Choosing the best generator for your portable office rental doesn’t need to be a challenge. Being aware of your total wattage for the devices you’ll be using goes a long way in picking the right generator to power your construction site.

How to Choose the Best Portable Office Generator

Your construction project will dictate which portable office rental you’ll need, which, in turn, help to determine the size of the generator. For our offices, you may use a portable generator between 3 kW and 10 kW or a trailer-mounted generator between 10 kW and 30 kW, depending on the office and your needs.

You shouldn’t operate portable office generators for more than 30 minutes at maximum power. However, if you plan on using it as a primary power source for your construction site, the generator should be a size that can operate within 70-80% capacity, which will help with overall performance and allows for any further power requirements.

Portable Office Generator Checklist

When choosing a generator for your construction portable office rental, there are several factors you should consider when selecting the right one for your needs. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Size & Capacity

Portable office generators come in various sizes and power capacities, typically measured in watts. Look for a generator that can handle your total power requirements with additional capacity for future needs or power spikes.

If you choose an undersized generator, you may have no trouble turning on the lights or charging your cell phone, but you may trip the generator circuit breaker if you try to turn on the heater or air conditioner.

While it’s better to have a generator with a bit more capacity than you strictly need, aiming for one that closely matches your expected power requirements is ideal. If you choose a generator that is significantly oversized in relation to your office’s power demands, you can damage the generator.

Additionally, running generators at low loads for long periods leads to increased maintenance costs. Consult your generator manual for more information regarding operating procedures at low loads.

 

Old Style Office

Office SIZE (FT)

Style

Recommended Generator size (W)

10

Open Bay

7,500

20

Combo

7,500

20

Open Bay

8,000

40

Combo

8,000

40

Open Bay

15,000

New Style Office

Office SIZE (FT)

Style

Recommended Generator size (W)

20

Open Bay

6,500

20

Combo

6,500

20

Open Bay

7,000

40

Combo

7,000

40

Open Bay

14,000

Fuel

You can power portable generators with different fuel types, such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane and solar. Consider the availability of fuel sources on your construction site and choose a generator that aligns with what works for your operation.

Keep in mind that gasoline can expire, typically only lasting 6 months to a year. Propane lasts for much longer, with most tanks expiring after 12 years, although even this number can be stretched with proper storage. Some generators can use both fuels, giving you more flexibility depending on your needs.

Run-Time

Evaluate the generator’s run time on a full tank of fuel. Construction projects often require generators to run for extended periods, so you’ll want a model that offers sufficient run-time without refueling.

Additionally, look for portable office generators with fuel-efficient features to minimize operating costs.

Noise

Construction sites can be loud environments, but it’s still important to consider the noise the generator produces. Look for generators designed to operate quietly, especially if your construction portable office is near working areas or residential neighborhoods.

Traditional generators can reach noise levels as loud as 100 decibels, which is about the same as a power tool or a car horn. Meanwhile, inverter generators are much quieter, with levels up to 70 decibels, about the same as a regular washing machine.

In addition to this, open frame generators are louder than closed frame generators, but they’re also more affordable, so consider this tradeoff before selecting a portable office generator.

Durability

Construction sites can be demanding environments, so choose a generator built to withstand the rigors of such conditions. Look for generators with durable construction, weatherproof features and solid warranties to ensure reliability and longevity.

Safety Features

Portable office generators should have safety features such as circuit breakers, grounding mechanisms and low oil shutoffs to protect against electrical hazards and prevent damage to the generator itself.

Budget

Consider your budget constraints and balance them with your power requirements. While it’s important not to compromise on quality and reliability, portable office generators are available in various price ranges. Compare prices and features to find the best fit for your budget.

A portable office generator refueled with gasoline.
You can power generators with different fuels, like gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane and even solar.

Summary

Your mobile construction office is only as good as the generator that powers it. An unreliable generator can result in additional challenges, especially during periods of high heat or low temperatures. That’s why it’s essential to get a quality generator that can power the office effectively.

In addition to mobile offices, we also offer custom storage containers that can meet your storage needs. Contact us today to receive a container quote from a container sales representative, who can answer any additional questions you may have about generators or power requirements for portable offices.

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