We all understand the Capital District experiences severe weather throughout the year. From intense winter snowstorms to powerful summer thunderstorms, severe weather patterns lead to electrical outages. As a result, families look for ways to protect their homes. And the best solution remains the backup generator.
A home backup (or standby) generator protects your home by offering a constant flow of electricity during severe storms that create elongated power outages. In fact, many generators run on natural gas or liquid propane (LP) fuel and sit outside your home (like a central air conditioning unit). A home backup generator delivers power directly to your home’s electrical system, backing up your entire home or just the most essential items. A.Johnson provides experienced technicians that work with you to install, service and maintain your home generator.
More Info About Backup Generators
Backup (also known as standby or whole house generators) provide power to your entire house during an outage. These generators provide the ideal option for homeowners desiring whole house protection.
Backup generators maintain the ability to receive power from either natural gas or LP, which creates a seamless flow of energy. Plus, these generators work with an automatic transfer switch (ATS), which creates a seamless transition of power.
As a result, backup generators simply work when an outage occurs. During summer and winter storms, this means constant heating or cooling. Plus, power to sump pumps, well pumps and even security systems.
Additionally, backup generators require professional electrical installation. However, working with a quality electrician provides a few benefits. For example, experienced electricians typically help pull local permits, address noise restrictions and finds the proper location. As a result, you can rest assured your family is safe and protected during any power outage.
Finally, Generac, the industry leader in home generators explains the installation process.
“Installing a home backup generator is an exciting time. Your installer will prepare the installation site outside your home, place the generator, run the natural gas or LP fuel line, install the transfer switch, and make all of the necessary electrical connections. And they will make sure that your backup generator runs properly, and is ready for its first power outage.”
For more highlights, Consumer Reports provides additional details about standby generators.
- Requires professional installation, which means labor costs.
- Standby generators start automatically when outage occurs and supplies more power.
- Run self-diagnosis tests and inform homeowners when maintenance is needed.
- Provides multiple fuel options like propane or natural gas. Propane remains less risk in storage. Conversely, natural gas provides an unlimited supply.
- Range from about 5,000 to 20,000 watts.
Determining the Right Generator
Home generators (and backup or standby generators are one of the options) provide power during an electrical outage. However, home generators come in multiple sizes, along with various models. For example, backup generators contain the potential to run on different fuel sources (such as propane, diesel, LP or natural gas).
Additionally, beside backup generators, there are portable or inverter generators that provide limited supplies of power. These generators only power certain appliances. Therefore, prior to deciding on a home generator, homeowners must determine a few critical elements and ask yourself a few questions.
- What do you want to back up during an outage?
- Can you use a pull cord to start an engine?
- Do you have sufficient space (equivalent to a central A/C)?
- Does your home rely on natural gas or LP?
Understand Your Power Needs
Typically, homeowners review the amount of power required during an outage and selects a generator based on that number. Therefore, generators are sold by power output because that determines how many appliance are supported. Additionally, the output determines the quality and consistency of the power.
To help homeowners understand their power requirements, the following lists the standard usage of everyday appliances.
- Refrigerator: 600 watts
- Sump Pump: 750 to 1,500 watts
- Portable Heater: 1,500 watts
- Window Air Conditioner: 1,000 watts
- Lights: 60 to 600 watts
- Computers: 60 to 300 watts
Finally, during consultation with a qualified electrician, ask about the outlets and appliances controlled by each circuit breaker. This helps determine how much power is needed and select the best home generator for your family needs.
In order to determine the proper size home generator (small, mid or large), it is important to understand the power outage required in your home.
“To determine generator size, the easiest way is to add up the wattages of everything you want to power in your home. Keep in mind that some appliances, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, and sump pumps, require more wattage (called surge watts) when they’re cycling on. It can also be difficult to gauge how much power certain hard-wired appliances, such as your furnace, require.”
As a result, experts recommend selecting a generator that accommodates some additional usage. Undoubtedly, any generator must handle your current needs, but as generators ideally last many years, include some extra capacity for any future needs.
Understand the Importance of the Automatic Transfer Switch
For standby generators, the automatic transfer switch (ATS) acts as the operating system of the generator.
“During an outage, it automatically transfers power from the utility to your generator. And when utility power is restored, the ATS turns off your generator and returns your home’s power to the utility grid.”
As Consumer Reports also recommends, install an ATS, for both standby and portable generators.
“Plan to spend a few hundred dollars to install a transfer switch, which allows easier connections for a portable generator (standby generators often come with one. Whenever using a portable generator use a transfer switch. This is the safest and easiest way to transfer power into your home and it protects any utility workers who may be working on the line.”
Understand the Right Time to Buy
Many homeowners experience a significant outage and make an immediate decision to buy a home generator. This is the wrong time to buy a generator.
Every home and family require different power needs. If you rush a purchase decisions, they you limit your research and options. Plus, generators require professional installation, so you run the risk of working with a less qualified pro if you rush into installation as well.
Take the time work with a reliable electrician and you’ll be comfortable with your generator and ensure you’ll enjoy it for years to come!
For example, Generac offers a quick video of a proper in-home assessment.
A.Johnson wants to ensure you and your family are prepared for summer and winter storms. As a result, we install and repair home generators that make residential backup power more affordable than ever. Call us today and get your new standby generator installed or repaired.
You never know when the next storm will hit!