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 Emergency Generators

Power when you need it most

Having backup power for Emergencies has always been important for  Hospitals (and other Institutions), Utility Companies and some Businesses. In recent years it hasPortable Generator become more popular with Homeowners as well. Especially now, with the Y2k coming and with concerns about possible power outages after Jan. 1. Generators are being sold in record numbers. Even with this increased popularity there are many misconceptions about these Generators. First, let's talk about the most common types of Generators readily available in the Discount Warehouses and Home Centers. 

  • They are typically in the 4kw to 5kw range (4,000 - 5,000 watts)
    These will not Run the whole House (Electric Stove , Dryer A/C etc.), but they may be all that you need.
  • These are either Electric Start (Can start from pushing a button, however a charged battery must be on hand) or Pull Start - just like starting a Lawnmower. (Automatic Start is available but not from these stores)
  • They run on Gasoline, so the size of the tank and Fuel Efficiency is Important (Propane Generators are available, but usually not from these stores)
  • They are not all alike. Some are louder than others, they may have different surge ratings, different warranties on component parts, and other features such as Low Oil Shutdown, Maximum Runtime, Gfci Protection etc. Do some research before you buy.
  • Finally, just because you are buying (or bought) a Generator, that does not mean that you can just start it up and run your House off it.

For the Generator to serve it's purpose it must run Heat when needed, a Well Pump if it applies, as well as other loads for Lighting and refrigeration. The main problem here is that some of these items cannot simply be plugged into the Generator! The Generator must be connected to the House Wiring System in some way. It is almost always a surprise to the Consumer that connecting the Generator to the House can cost almost as much (or more) than the Generator itself. One of these reasons is that it requires special equipment connected in certain ways so that the Generator power cannot feed back (back-feed) into the Utility Wiring system (or Utility into Generator) This is not something to be attempted by the inexperienced!   A wiring mistake here could injure or kill a Utility Worker trying to restore your power. I will not go into methods of connecting the Generator to the house for fear that it might encourage some people to try it themselves. One of the other major cost factors is location. Where is the Generator going in relation to the existing Electrical System Panelboard? Will it be located a distance away from the house (for noise considerations) ... That means Trenching   Will it be sheltered? ... it must be vented. If you're storing it inside and bringing it out when needed ... Did you buy a Wheel Kit? 

The Bottom Line, is that this is an Important item to be considered and it should be done right by a Qualified Licensed Electrician.

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