You know how difficult it can be to lose power, even for a day or two. Cold showers, spoiled food in the fridge and freezer, having to pack up and stay with friends or family due to heat loss. If you work at home, it can even prevent you from getting your job done.
Unfortunately, we think these incidents may only become more frequent. We’ve read news reports saying that the power companies have been cutting back on preventative maintenance and on the size of their work crews. As a result, many homes are more susceptible to power loss. When power does go out, fewer workers are available to address the problem, and the power companies must rely on additional crews to come in from other states or companies.
It’s no wonder we’ve started to get more inquiries about portable generators.
From Basic to Premium
What kind of backup power system is right for you? It all comes down to the level of performance you need and how much you want to spend.
Low end: For a basic and cost-effective approach, begin with a generator that is sized to provide power to the entire home or at least to all the critical elements. In this scenario, a special circuit breaker on the existing electrical panel shuts off the main breaker and allows
generator power to go to the panel. You must have an outlet on the exterior of the home or in the garage that lets you run a large-capacity cord to the generator. The generator, in turn, must be placed at a safe distance from the home.
When you lose power, you turn on the circuit breaker, turn on the generator manually (with either an electric or pull start) and then refill it with gasoline and oil as needed until the power in your home comes back on.
High end: The most effective and costly approach begins with having a generator that is sized to handle the home’s entire electrical load. This premium generator has a transfer switchboard wired to the existing electrical panel. The switchboard senses when the main power goes out and then automatically converts to generator power. When the main power is restored, it switches back to the electrical panel.
For this type of solution, you could use a gasoline generator (which needs to be filled every eight to twelve hours) or a propane or natural gas generator (which has a very large tank and can run for long periods without shutting down).
There are all kinds of homemade and unprofessional ways to provide
backup power, many of which are illegal. Taking the wrong approach can actually cause harm to children touching live exterior outlets or utility workers who are working on electrical lines.
So always have a licensed electrician install your generator. That’s the key for making sure the generator will work effectively and safely.
If you’re considering a portable generator, please speak with Custom or an electrician you can trust. And when the next snowstorm or ice storm hits, you’ll be prepared.