If you have been looking at setting up a wind generator for your home or small office that will assist in generating electricity for you and reducing your overall electric bill, then good for you! But, you may want to do a little bit of research before jumping right into this. After all, you'll want to make sure you do it right the first time and that you don't waste a large investment of money right up front - Right?
On homes and small buildings/offices, the smaller wind turbines (either home-built or bought ready-made) are ideal for this. Small home wind turbines come in all sizes, shapes and colors and can present you with a somewhat confusing array of choices. The key is in understanding your specific needs.
Here are 3 of the things you need to consider when looking at wind turbines for use on your home or small business:
- 2 or 3 blades - It has been argued by many people as to what number of blades are the "perfect" number. After carefully testing many units over several years in the industry, it has been found and proven that a 3 bladed unit has a better overall balance and therefore can last longer (less wear and tear on the motor and moving parts from imbalance over a long period of time).
- Overspeed Control - A turbine needs to be able to control its own speed in high winds to prevent it from breaking or overheating. Most home units are fitted with a spring-loaded hinge that allows the blades to bend away from the directional (with what's known as a furling tail) during higher winds to prevent "overspeed". Some more expensive units will have a braking system (but this is usually only found on the larger commercial size turbines and not typically on the smaller home units).
- Type of Tower - You need to decide what type of tower you want to use for your wind turbine. There are 3 basic types - free-standing lattice, free-standing pole, and a guyed mast with cables supporting it. Which one you choose is dependent on how high your turbine needs to be placed, what ordinances (city or county) you need to comply with, and the ease of getting to the unit for any repairs or maintenance (For Example: Will you have to climb up the tower to get to the windmill? Or can you lower the unit to the ground?, etc., etc.)
Safety and Location
The greatest obstacles you will have to overcome to install and use your own wind turbine are "Where can I put it?" and "How safe will it be?"
Some of the things that have to be considered when first installing a turbine are:
- Tower Height - The height of your tower needs to be tall enough to get away from interference caused by buildings and trees, but yet be a height that you can safely tolerate if it happened to collapse and fall and yet still get good wind. You don't want it possibly causing damage if pieces of something fall off of it and you want it to clear other things (like your neighbor's yard or house) if it DOES fall.
- Distance from the House - The distance your turbine is from your house (and your neighbors) can be too close if it causes you or them too much noise when it is operating, but it can be too far if the electricity has to travel too far to get to your system for use (more distance = more resistance in the wiring).
- Safety - You are (we will remind you) after all, dealing with something electrical. Always remember that these units generate electricity when they are spinning and use caution around them and the battery systems that may be in place.
After considering these points, you will have a better grasp and understanding of what type of system you'd like to install and use. You'll also be better able to get good estimates on costs associated with setting this type of system up. And yes, you'll not only be at the cutting edge of technology, but you'll be reducing your electric bills significantly.