Sizing a generator for your home is the first and most important decision regarding generators. To size a generator, you will need to know a few things about your appliances, including their peak wattage and how long they run on average. This is where a standby natural gas generator can power most households for a few days. A certified electrician can help you determine your exact needs. If you have an appliance that needs constant power, like a pool pump, Mr. Electric recommends installing a whole house generator with an automatic transfer switch to power the entire house in one go. This will achieve a near-continuous power supply with minor wear and tear on your appliances.
Portable Versus Standby Generator
With so many different types of generators on the market, it can be challenging to know what type you need.
Portable generators are a great way to provide power during a power outage or camping. They're also helpful in emergencies when no power is available, like at a construction site where there isn't enough space for a permanent generator station. Portable generators are relatively small, portable units that can be moved from location to location as needed. Portable generators run on gasoline, propane, or natural gas.
Standby generators are permanently installed in one location and provide continuous power to your home or business. You don't have to worry about moving them around because they're typically installed outside your home or business, with an underground trench running from the unit directly into your breaker box or service entrance panel (SAP). The unit is usually located above ground level. It is connected directly to your main electric panel via underground cables that carry power from the generator back into the house or building through an electrical transformer called an autotransformer (AT). A standby generator will automatically shut down when power returns, making them more efficient than portable units.
What Size Generator?
You might wonder what size generator you need for your home. A generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, and it's used to provide power in an outage or emergency.
Generators come in different sizes, depending on how much power they can produce and how long they can run before refueling. For example, a smaller generator will produce less than 500 watts of electricity, while larger generators produce more than 1,500 watts and can even be as large as 15,000 watts.
A small generator is probably all you need if you have an older home with limited electrical needs. However, suppose your home has modern appliances such as air conditioning units or electric stoves. In that case, you may want to consider buying a more sizable generator so it can power everything at once during an outage without having to keep refueling it repeatedly throughout the day.
If you buy too small, it won't be able to power everything that needs power during a power outage. If you buy too big, it will cost more than necessary.
The size of a standby generator is determined by the load and the length of time for which it will be used. The load refers to how many appliances, lights, and other devices it will power. The run time refers to how long it can supply electricity before needing refueling. For example, suppose you have a small apartment with a refrigerator, stove, and overhead light. In that case, you'll need a smaller standby generator than a larger home with an electric furnace, central air conditioning, and other appliances.
If you're planning on using your generator only during emergencies -- when the power goes out -- then you may only need enough capacity to keep your essential items running until the power comes back on or help arrives. In this case, the time the generator runs each day will be limited by fuel availability rather than your energy usage needs.
Suppose you're planning on using your generator as an alternative power source while operating off-grid. More capacity is required since you'll use it constantly instead of just during emergencies. Suppose you have large loads like electric furnaces and large refrigerators. In that case, you'll likely need a larger generator than someone who has smaller loads, such as small refrigerators and portable heaters.
You can best reach out to Mr. Electric to assess your home's specific needs. We are experienced with generator installation and can help make the process as foolproof as possible.
Professional Installation Is Needed For a Standby Generator
If you need to install a standby generator, you must hire a professional for the job. A professional electrician can help ensure that your generator is installed correctly and safely and will perform as expected.
You should only hire a professional to install your standby generator for many reasons. One reason is safety. Generators have some hazardous components, including high voltage wiring and gas-powered engines, and these types of features require special training and equipment to handle them safely. This skill is especially true if you have an older home with wiring that isn't up to code or if your property has underground fuel lines near where the new unit will be installed. The last thing you want to do is take on installation yourself because doing so could lead to serious injuries or even death from electrocution or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Another reason only professionals should install your standby generator is that they are trained in how best to position the new unit on your property so that it works properly without causing any damage to surrounding buildings or landscaping features. Mr. Electric has professional experience with generator installation.