4 Tips When Buying a Whole House Standby Generator

Whole House Standby Generator Best Practices

Two-thirds of people in the South wish they had a Whole House Standby Generator. They are like having a power plant installed at your home in case of severe weather, natural disasters, and overloaded electrical grids. Years ago, electricity was considered a luxury, but now it is essential for life in the U.S. Whole-house backup generators provide electricity to a home, even when the local power utility cannot provide power. If you are considering a Whole House Standby Generator, there are four important decisions to make in advance of a purchase.

  1. Fuel Source. The first option to nail down is “What will power the generator?” Natural gas is a good option . . . if a natural gas utility is available in your neighborhood. The generator can be connected by a buried line and will be available whenever needed. If natural gas is not available, propane and diesel are also options. Both fuels require storage and that becomes a matter of planning; be sure to investigate local ordinances for fuel storage in your neighborhood.
  2. Proper Size. When deciding upon a whole-house generator purchase, determining the right size generator is important. But size does not refer to physical dimensions, but electrical output. The goal will be to energize every essential circuit in your home during a power outage. What is essential? That is for you to decide.

Making this determination can be hard or it can be easy; some homeowners complete an energy audit, and some make an educated guess. Energy usage is recorded on your electric utility. When you determine your home’s high energy usage month, add 20 to 25% to that amount to determine the correct size, since a generator works best at approximately 80% output.

A decision might be made not to power some non-essential spaces, such as bedrooms, as it is not necessary for a Whole House Standby Generator to power every circuit in the home. A determination as to which circuits to empower will help determine the generator size.

  1. Transfer Switch. Electricity produced by a home generator MUST not electrify the community power grid. This can endanger other homes and repair technicians who are trying to restore power. The solution is called a transfer switch—an essential component for a backup generator installation.

The transfer switch automatically senses the loss of power and immediately isolates the home power system from the utility grid, keeping everyone safe. Within seconds, the generator is activated, empowering the home’s essential circuits. The transfer switch will sense the restoration of the power grid, deactivate the generator, and restore the home to the power grid.

  1. Adequate Shelter. The footprint of a Whole House Standby Generator is between 12 and 20 square feet, and it will need to be installed at least 20’ from the house to safeguard the occupants from exhaust. It will be advantageous to protect the generator from the ravages of weather and may be necessary to store enough fuel for extended usage. In some locations, the generator will need to be elevated to keep it out of the reach of flood waters. Local ordinances might determine where the installation can take place.

Have Questions About Buying a Whole House Standby Generator?

With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skills and expertise to help answer your Whole House Standby Generator questions.

We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our team of Electricians at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Whole House Standby Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.

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