What type of backup power generator should I buy for my home?
The most common backup generator in the United States is the portable type powered by a small gas engine. Yet, thereís more to using one of these than wheeling it outside and firing it up. The key to using a generator safely is preparedness. Size it adequately, then plan where and how youíll use it.
It takes a lot of calculation to properly size a home generator. The machineís wattage has to be slightly larger than all simultaneous loads. First, add the running watts of the appliances and devices you will use at the same time. Now add the startup wattage of the largest motor-operated load liable to come on line with the other loads. Calculate accordingly.
Now along with where to place it, what system fuel should it use? There's a lot to choose from as in gasoline, propane, natural gas, and diesel fuel. Keep in mind the availability, cost and storage of the different fuel types.
The most logical way to determine your needs is to envision your home without power! What would you like your living conditions to be? It is recommended that you to talk to an authorized dealer or licensed contractor to be sure youíve got it right.
Why should I buy an automatic standby generator instead of a portable generator?
The automatic standby generators give you the peace of mind especially for those people who travel and are gone a lot. The automatic systems protect your house while you are gone, which is a big concern, especially when you have a basement.
You donít have to deal with a regular portable generator where you are pulling it out of the garage, setting it up and hooking up extension cords running into the house. And then having to deal with filling it up with gasoline (if available) while the outage is going on.
With the home standby generator systems, they automatically come on when the power is out, and when utility power is restored, they automatically shut off. So there is almost a seamless transition, which allows you to go about your life normally during an outage.
Can I install the generator myself?
For safety reasons and to ensure adherence to all local, state and national electrical codes, it is recommended that you use a licensed contractor to install your system.
For more information to help answer these questions I've added these links.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)
AFCIs are electrical devices designed to protect against fires caused by arcing faults in residential electrical wiring. The AFCI resembles a normal breaker that is placed in the electrical panel except it contains a reset button in the event a trip occurs and the arc problem is fixed.
A large electrical ON/OFF switch. Typically 20 to 100+ Amps. Normally found on main electrical panel, in sub-panels and inside air conditioning/hot tub breaker panel boxes.
A building permit required for electrical work, can be issued to home/ property owners and licensed electrical contractors for residential applications. Can only be issued to licensed electrical contractors for commercial and industrial projects.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
An ultra sensitive outlet or breaker designed to shut off all electric current. Typically used in bathrooms, exterior outlets, and wet areas like hot tubs, saunas and whirlpool tubs. GFCI breaker outlets have a small reset and test button on the plug or breaker. Testing a GFCI outlet monthly is recommended to ensure its proper operation.
Typically a black or red wire that carries electricity to a receptacle or device.
Typically a white wire that carries electricity from an outlet back to the main electrical service panel.