Parts of the United States regularly experience power outages caused by natural events such as hurricanes, floods, blizzards, and earthquakes. Many homeowners are now seriously thinking of installing a standby generator. Power outages are often dangerous and cause expensive losses to affected residents. Standby generators, also called permanent generators, help prevent serious problems whenever electricity from utilities is cut. Installation is performed by licensed electricians, and they provide electrical power to a house automatically during outages.
Installed outside a home, a standby generator interfaces with a home’s electrical system via a transfer switch. When a power outage occurs, the transfer switch disconnects the home from the grid and activates the generator, which is usually powered by natural gas or propane from the home supply. Within seconds, the home’s electrical system is powered back on. After utility power is restored, the standby generator turns off, and the home reconnects to the grid. The transfer switch is crucial because it prevents electricity generated by the generator from back feeding to utility lines and harming anyone working on them.
A generator’s rating is determined by the number of watts it is capable of producing. Small portable units can produce about 1,000 watts while whole house generators start at 6,000 watts to over 22,000 watts. Since 1,000 watts equals one kilowatt (kW), manufacturers classify a 20,000-watt generator a 20kW unit. Their websites often provide calculators to help consumers determine the proper generator size to use in their homes. A licensed electrician can also provide assistance with this task.
Kohler: Home Backup Generator Sizing Calculator
Installation will be significant in cost and effort. A 20-22kW standby generator will cost $8,000 to $12,000. A building permit will be required before it can be installed on an approved gravel surface or concrete 5 feet away from any house opening. A transfer switch installation will be needed, and setbacks from the property line must be followed. A direct hookup to a natural gas line will add expense, but it ensures a dependable power source. Cables buried underground will run from the generator to the home’s electrical panel.
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Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where they are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, their team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (866) 403-4752.