It’s easier than ever before to install a backup generator at home. From affordable choices to an Interlock that simplifies connecting a generator unit to a house electrical system, having a generator available is quite practical. There are many reasons to purchase one and homes across the U.S. have backup power systems. Also, there are numerous factors that affect what your ultimate decision will be.
Think about what you want the generator to do. The size of the unit will determine if it can support the power needs of an entire building, or just a few vital things such as the refrigerator if the power goes out. Examine the emergency circuits that are installed; installing a generator may require some technical electrical work, such as splitting these circuits from the main electrical panel. You would require an electrician for this, as setting up a separate emergency panel and the associated wiring can be complicated.
Generators are also ranked by the type of fuel they use. Gasoline is rarely used because it burns too quickly and isn’t stable compared to other fuels. Diesel and natural gas are common with emergency standby a system, as is propane, but the cost varies considerably based on the size of the system.
One factor is having a fuel source nearby because the generator may have to be refilled if a power outage persists. Natural gas, however, can be drawn from local utilities. Sometimes, your choice of fuel is limited by local regulations; a few cities have a ban on propane, so you wouldn’t be able to install or operate a propane generator.
The professionals you will need vary depending on the situation. A licensed electrician is a given, and some systems require a plumber as well. You might not know who to call if you have little experience. A reputable company can provide you with expert service and advice on installing the generator. If you don’t know of a specific company, a referral can be very useful.
A backup generator should be in an accessible location, although not in the way of your daily activities. It should be in a place where you can get to it for maintenance, and if repairs need to be done. Elevating the unit will protect it in case there is a flood. If you are installing it outside or on the roof, be aware of local code requirements that set minimum distances from things like doorways and combustible walls and materials. Indoor code requirements deal with ventilation, fuel supply, exhaust ducts, and also distance from combustible materials.
Maximizing Your Backup Generator Installation
A few other factors to think of when you buy a backup generator include enclosure type, if installing it outdoors, and the voltage requirements. The type of transfer switch is also important. You might choose from automatic or manual switches depending on the generator, in addition to the size and location of it. Accessories such as remote annunciator panels, remote monitoring systems, and cold weather kits may be factors you need to consider as well.