Is Your Generator Ready For Your Holiday Plans?
Having a backup generator can keep you safe and give you peace of mind all year long. But as the holidays roll around, it can do even more. It can keep you warm if the power goes out during the coldest days of the year. And it can also be your safeguard – your protection plan – for when you head out of town. Nothing is worse than coming back from the holidays and find your home under three feet of water due to a broken pipe.
A standby generator is permanently connected to your electrical system. It goes off automatically when the power goes off.
Standby generators run either on propane or natural gas, eliminating the need to monitor the fuel levels. They are also quieter. And you can buy them in all different sizes, from a smaller unit to protect the most critical circuits in your home, to one large enough to power your entire home.
The difference in cost isn’t as great as you might think. A portable unit requires expensive extension cords and a transfer switch for operation. Standby generators can run on less expensive natural gas, which can ultimately save you in the long run.
Before you consider a standby generator, it’s important to consider maintenance. Yes, you might be able to get a great deal online. But how will you service it locally? The best way to avoid potential problems is to work with a local dealer. Parts will be available locally. And the dealer will be ready and willing to service your generator as it requires.
You should also be sure your generator is properly connected to your home’s electrical system and that no potential fire hazards are in place. Anything that is directly connected to your home’s wiring, including things like a furnace, well pump, or electric water heater, requires a transfer switch. Using a transfer switch is the only safe way to connect your generator to your home’s wiring because it requires you to disconnect the house wiring from the incoming power lines at the same time you switch to generator power. This prevents “back feeding” generated power back into the power lines, which creates a lethal hazard for workers.
Also, remember that not all generators are the same. Computers, televisions, electronics, and any modern day appliances contain sensitive electronics that can be damaged by power produced by less expensive generators. Standby generators that provide the purest power may be more expensive to install in your home, but how much is having your home protected worth? Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) measures the quality of electricity from a generator; look for a THD of less than 5 percent to safely operate most electronics.
To decide the size of generator your home needs, first, consider what needs to keep running in case of a power outage. This determines the wattage of the generator you’ll need. Be sure to consider all appliances when determining your essential items: furnaces, refrigerators, freezers, well pumps, sump pumps. Things like air conditioners use a lot of power, and in most cases, you can go without use for a few days until power is restored. A professional can help you decide.
Have further questions about your standby generator? Give us a call.