After the past few winters and 2012’s Superstorm Sandy we’ve all come to covet electricity more than ever. The best way to combat the nuisance of a power outage is to install a generator, which will keep you safe and comfortable when the grid goes dark. Below is some basic information on generators that will help you decide if it’s right for you.
What is a generator?
Simply, a generator is the main solution to tackling outages. It will power your home when you’ve lost electricity for various reasons. There are numerous sizes and types of generators depending on what you want to keep on during an outage. Portable generators are small and can only handle a limited amount of wattage for a short period of time – ideal for camping or other remote locations. Standby generators are permanently installed outside of your home that will provide backup for days on end. There also exists much larger generators that can power schools, hotels, hospitals, and other sizable buildings.
Why should I get one?
Not only is being without power inconvenient, but it can also be dangerous. Lights, appliances, heat, and air conditioning are just a few necessities you’d have to live without during an outage. Cooking and laundry are out of the question, food can spoil, extreme temperatures will make your home uncomfortable, those who work from home will be disturbed, and if someone living in the home uses medical equipment that requires power you could be in real trouble. But with a backup generator you wouldn’t have to worry about these problems.
How does it work?
An automatic transfer switch is installed, which will disconnect you from utility power when there’s a disruption and the generator will kick on using the home’s electrical panel. It’s usually fueled by a local natural gas supply, liquid propane, or diesel. Once the disruption in service is repaired, the automatic transfer switch will turn off the generator and reconnect you to utility power.
Is there a downside to getting one installed?
Generators can be large and costly, depending on what you want to keep running during an outage. They can also be noisy, disturbing neighbors and potentially violating city ordinances if large enough. If you live on a small lot or in an urban area, installation can be tricky as there are specific codes that require generators to be placed away from doors and flammable materials (usually about five feet). Generators also require a lot of maintenance. The bigger the generator the more upkeep it needs. You want to keep the machine in good condition in order to get you through multiple outages.
If I decide to get one, what should I do?
It’s best to hire a professional. They’re more than qualified to tell you what size you may need, where it can be placed, how it works, and what you need to do to maintain it. Installation also requires advanced knowledge and skills and there are a number of building and electrical codes to follow. If installed incorrectly or standard procedures aren’t followed, generators can put you in danger and cause serious damage to property. Permits and inspections are also necessary, so hiring a professional will relieve you of a lot of headaches.
If you have any other questions about generators or would like to have one installed, feel free to give us a call. You can reach our Newark office at 302-453-4000 and our Georgetown office at 302-856-1006. You can also reach our Service Department at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.