The weather outside will soon be frightful but a standby generator can make your life delightful when the power goes out.
A standby generator senses an outage, turns on automatically and delivers backup power to your home. The generator will continue to run until the utility power returns.
Without any backup, this is what you can lose:
Do you remember the notorious ice storm of 2013? About 200,000 Toronto homes were without power due to downed power-lines and fallen tree limbs – some homes were without power for a few days- and you can thank 30 millimeters of ice accumulation for that. But power outages aren’t limited to the winter months. You can expect an outage any time of the year.
There are two types of generators homeowners can invest in depending on the home’s needs:
A portable generator is a gas or diesel-powered device that provides temporary electrical power. Homeowners can plug electrical appliances or tools directly into the generator’s sockets; the generator can also be wired into the sub-panel of the home by an electrician. Before plugging any appliance into the generator, homeowners should add up the total number of watts they are looking to power and compare this number to the generator’s wattage rating. Your generator needs to produce an equal or higher amount of wattage in order to work safely.
Portable generators offer a limited supply of electricity, providing enough power for two to four outlets or a few specific circuits -when plugged into the panel.
This type of generator is designed for temporary use only and is measured in hours of use instead of days. A portable generator also requires manual operation and close monitoring when in use. This means you have to be home to start your generator and you will have no electrical backup in the event of a power outage while you are away from your home.
As you now know, a standby generator starts automatically during a power outage.
This type of generator is installed permanently beside the home and will provide uninterrupted backup power for days. A Standby generator is installed directly to the home’s electrical panel and is fuelled by natural gas, liquid propane or diesel.
A standby generator consists of two devices: a generator unit and an automatic transfer switch. The two work together to ensure that when power is lost, the backup power will kick in right away.
The automatic transfer switch is responsible for disconnecting from your utility power after detecting an interruption in service. The switch tells the generator when to turn on and transfer power to the home’s electrical panel.
The standby generator gets its power from an internal combustion engine which is usually fuelled by the local natural gas supply. But in the event that natural gas is not available the liquid propane or diesel stored in a tank nearby will kick in. Once you’re back on the grid, your transfer switch will shut down the generator and reconnect your home to its utility power.
Like any mechanical device, your standby generator requires maintenance. After 24 – 48hours of continuous use you should have a professional change the oil and filter; otherwise this service should be performed every year. You should run your standby generator at no more than 75 per cent of its rated capacity and replace overworked or deformed brushes.
Survey on Generators – According to The Consumer Home Survey:
22% of people who operated a portable generator ran out of fuel;
10% said the generator didn’t power what they needed it to;
9% said it didn’t start at all;
Nearly nine out of 10 consumers with standby generators were completely satisfied with their purchase.
What does Birnie HOME SAFE Prefer?
The reliability of a standby generator is priceless. If you’re looking for a long term solution to keep your home running like normal when the power goes out, a Standby Generator is the preferred investment. This is especially true for families who have have vital medical equipment running in the house, or who run their own businesses from home. A standby generator gives you that piece of mind in knowing that your family will stay protected during an emergency.
ELEVEN Reasons why we love standby Generators:
1. Fast, automatic delivery of emergency power, after power lines failure.
2. Allows you to maintain comfort level at home or work during emergencies.
3. Ensures that you may keep adequate food supply and water during extended power outages.
4. Units conduct self-diagnosis every week and display alerts about its status.
5. Fuel autonomy to last several days or weeks of operation.
6. Allows you to normally operate your home or business including use of internet, heating and air conditioning, TV, etc.
7. Standby generators can be sized to keep your entire house going or just the critical areas or appliances that are most important.
8. Automatically disconnect your house or building from the utility lines when power fails, isolating you from the utility during power failure protects you and your electronic devices from violent power surges, spikes, and brownouts.
9. When power returns, generator does not transfer to the utility until the voltage has stabilized, protecting from dangerous surges and voltage fluctuation when power is first turned on.
10. They are permanently installed. No need to run extension cords and set up your unit in the middle of a storm or other natural disasters.
11. Allow you to remain at home and in familial surroundings during a storm or extended power outage, rather than fleeing to a hotel which may not be available as they too may be out of power, or full.
How do I install my standby generator?
A specially trained and licensed electrician can safely install your generator and make sure the device is plugged into the transfer switch and is wired directly to your service panel. A professional also ensures that your loved ones aren’t at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
A licensed electrician also calculates the adequate wattage a generator needs to power your home or certain rooms in your home safely and without overloading your circuits.
How many watts do you need to power your home?
The following infographic shows the average wattage for devices in your home:
Generators are becoming a necessity especially with our unpredictable climates. Let Birnie HOME SAFE help you keep the lights on all-year-round. To find out more about pricing, sizing and installations, click here.