When storms strike, we are all at risk for loss of power. Not only is it uncomfortable, losing power can be expensive. Security systems, heating/AC, and lighting will not work, and food perishables may go bad in refrigerators and freezers. And let’s face it, electricity is never as valuable to us until we are without it!
Here are some tips for your home to ensure you are never without power again:
A portable generator is the economical method of back-up power. You place a portable generator outside of your home or building, and plug in the extension cords to the items you want to work. The downside is you have to run multiple extension cords everywhere you want power, and you’re limited to how many things you can use at once. You also have to start and maintain the generator outside, such as refueling. The generator should be place at least ten (10) feet from your home or building, is critical as carbon monoxide poisoning can unsuspectingly kill if the generator is not properly ventilated. Always use a carbon monoxide detector in conjunction with a portable generator.
Manual Transfer Switch with a Portable Generator
To make a portable generator easier to use, you can have an electrician install a manual transfer switch subpanel from your main electrical panel to power only the circuits (refrigerators, sump and well pumps, lights, etc.) you need most when you lose power. This way you don’t have multiple extension cords running from the generator to the circuits you need. There is only one cord going from the generator to the designated receptacle on the subpanel.
This option is much more convenient than the portable generator alone, but still doesn’t provide power for your entire house or condominium.
Standby generators automatically turn on when the power goes out—you don’t have to do a thing. This is the best option if you frequently lose electricity and want to have all or most of your electrical circuits working. Standby generators are powerful enough for you to have the same amount of electricity as you have under normal conditions. They’re also quieter than portable generators and you don’t need to worry about running extension cords or storing gasoline. This type of generator, the transfer switch and subpanel need to be professionally installed.
A transfer switch constantly monitors power. If you lose electricity, it starts the generator automatically—even if you’re not home. When power is restored, the transfer switch shuts off the generator.
Standby generators connect to your home’s fuel supply (natural gas or propane). If you don’t already have one of these fuel types, you can have a propane tank installed
Maintenance Services for Your Generator
Your Generator does need to have to be serviced each year to ensure it performs properly. Walter Electric provides annual service including, but not limited to:
Change or clean all filters (oil, fuel and air) annually, Replace spark plugs as needed, Inspect battery for proper connections and operation (manufacturer’s recommend changing battery every two years). We check the voltage and frequency produced by generator and adjust to proper settings, and check operation of transfer switch. We will operate generator under load for ten (10) minutes and check voltage and frequency. We will also confirm the homeowner’s ability to operate transfer switch and generator correctly, and, if necessary, offer instruction on these points. We also provide a report to under signer of any condition that may require additional service from Walter Electric, or that may fall under the manufacturer’s warranty. We store all information in log book that is kept in transfer switch or generator cabinet and give the under signer a copy of the report, and also keep a copy on files. Rest easy knowing Walter Electric is maintaining one of your home’s most valuable investments!