As the need for emergency preparedness increases, homeowners are opting to install whole-house generators. Unlike portable versions, these permanent fixtures provide continuous power automatically during an outage, eliminating the dangers of cords and fumes. Power sources range from natural gas to fuel tanks, ensuring ample fuel supply during extended blackouts when ordinary gasoline may not be available or accessible.
Considering a standby generator? Take a moment to evaluate these critical factors before committing. Doing so can provide greater insight into installation methods, itemized costs, and the various types available to select the right fit for your home. Is this a good idea? Let’s find out.
When it comes to whole-house generators, power output is a critical variable. These machines are quantified by the number of watts they produce. For reference, 1000 watts is equal to 1 kilowatt (kW). That means a 10 kW generator can deliver up to 10,000 watts of power, ample to sustain your home’s electricity.
To put things in perspective, a microwave takes about 1200 watts of power to run, while a lightbulb needs only 60 watts. Knowing the power output of your generator can help you decide which appliances or devices you can run in an emergency situation.
The size of the generator you require will depend on the number of devices you intend to power. Portable devices range in capacity from 2 – 4 kW, while generators capable of powering your entire home commonly have a 20 kW rating.
To keep essential systems like your refrigerator and lights running, a 5-10 kW generator is often sufficient. But furnaces and air conditioning units demand substantially more power – often, in the region of 20-22 kW for medium-sized homes.
You may find several calculators online to determine the size of a generator needed for installation. However, relying on a contractor who specializes in standby generator installations is the safest and most reliable option. For instance, at Team DK Electrical, we have ample experience and extensive expertise to help you select the ideal generator that aligns with your unique requirements.
Choosing the Right Fuel
If your generator doesn’t have fuel, it’s useless. And during a natural disaster, fuel supplies may be scarce or, worst, inaccessible. So, to keep the generator running, make sure you have a good supply of fuel that can last you for an extended period of time.
When it comes to generators, four fuels are typically used: gasoline, diesel, LP gas, and natural gas. Of these four, gasoline may be ruled out immediately. True, it’s the most common fuel for portable generators, but it’s not a great choice for whole-house generators. Gasoline is highly volatile and deteriorates over time, making long-term storage a challenge. Those jerry cans stashed in the shed may become worthless after just a year or two. Instead, let’s consider the other options.
Diesel has garnered a reputation as an attractive fuel option thanks to its low volatility and high energy content. This combination results in famously efficient engines. That said, the requirement for external fuel tanks for standby generators means that diesel is not ideal for home power generation, a fact that has contributed to its preference by schools, hospitals, and businesses. Nevertheless, for areas without natural gas or readily accessible LP gas delivery options, diesel’s positive traits make it a worthy candidate to consider.
LP Gas (Propane)
Liquid Propane (LP) is a clean-burning fuel that can be safely and conveniently stored for household use. With storage tanks ranging from 100 to 1000 gallons, you can easily access a continuous supply that is provided locally by most dealers. While propane may not be as energy-dense as diesel, its excellence as a standby fuel for generators is uncompromised by the benefit of an abundant, stable supply on-site.
Natural gas is a superior source of energy. It burns cleanly, and its supply chain seldomly falters amidst the wrath of natural disasters. Generators fired by natural gas are highly dependable, ensuring smooth power flow in any circumstance.
Our rating system concurs: natural gas takes the cake, with LP gas at a close second. Diesel, however, lags behind as an underwhelming third.
4 STEPS FOR GENERATOR INSTALLATION
STEP 1: CHOOSE A LOCATION
- If you’re having trouble deciding where to install your generator, a home consultation can assist you in selecting the ideal location.
The location should meet these Guidelines:
- Stable, well-drained area that will not flood
- Room around the generator for the technician and maintenance personnel.
- Keep in mind homeowners association and community restrictions when choosing a site.
Approximate Clearances to keep in mind:
- 18 inches (1.5 feet) from the house
- 60 inches (5 feet) from doors, windows, and fresh air intakes
- 36 inches (3 feet) in front of the generator for servicing room
The closer the site is to a natural gas line and the electric meter, the more you will save on installation costs.
STEP 2: INSTALLATION
- Prepare the site with a concrete slab or pea gravel
- Place the generator on the concrete slab/ gravel
STEP 3: CONNECTING FUEL AND ELECTRICAL
- The fuel line is connected
- Transfer switch installed next to the main breaker box
- The transfer switch senses where the power is coming from and when to switch over to the generator power.
STEP 4: OUTAGE SIMULATION
- A technician checks that everything works as it should
- Set up weekly self-test to ensure everything continues to function as normal
The Benefits of Owning a Home Generator
The electricity in our homes is often overlooked and underappreciated. Consistently available, it’s taken for granted- that is, until something disrupts its steady flow. Suddenly, our lives can be thrown into disarray.
Having a home generator is a lifesaver during natural disasters or massive storms. It can power your home and help alleviate the anxiety that comes with thunder and no electricity, especially when you have young children at home.
During a power outage, having backup power ensures that your family can maintain a semblance of normalcy. It allows you to keep the lights on, stay connected to the internet, and use gaming systems while the rest of the neighborhood is dark.
At times, an unforeseen accident or maintenance can cause power outages during the workday. This is especially inconvenient when working remotely as there’s still plenty of work to be done. Investing in a generator ensures continuous operation of all office equipment, including your computer. This alleviates the risk of data loss and allows for uninterrupted productivity even during outages.
Nothing compares to the feeling of having a fridge and freezer fully stocked with food. However, an unexpected power cut can spoil everything, which is disheartening. Therefore, it’s imperative to safeguard your food supply by investing in a generator. This essential machine not only keeps your kitchen appliances running but also guarantees that you can enjoy a hot meal uninterrupted, even during a power outage.
How Do Standby Home Generators Work?
The device is intricately designed to connect and directly draw from your home’s main power system. It remains idle when the power grid is active, but as soon as it detects a power failure, it instantly activates to power your house. What’s more, it ensures that you never experience a widespread power outage that could affect your vital home systems. Thanks to this innovation, you can rest easy knowing that your home and family are always safe and secure.
What’s the Cost of a Home Generator?
Although there is an initial expense associated with purchasing a standby home generator, the resulting peace of mind and ability to maintain a normal routine amidst power outages are more than adequate incentives to justify the investment. The overall cost of the unit will vary based on the size of your home and your personal power requirements.
For an ideal Generac generator that will neither under-power nor be excessive, get an assessment from DK Electrical Solutions. This ensures you don’t end up with more than you need. Plus, you’ll be in good hands for the perfect power backup solution for your home.
Generac standby generators are available in a range of sizes, from a 7-kilowatt unit starting at about $2,000 to a 22-kilowatt unit priced at $5800, excluding home generator installation costs. It’s worth noting that the 22-kilowatt unit has the power to supply electricity to a home covering an area of 5,000 square feet.
Have Your Unit Installed by Professionals
Saving money is great, but when it comes to installing a generator, don’t compromise on quality. Only trust certified professionals, like DK Electrical Solutions, to ensure proper installation. If the setup is faulty, it could fail during critical times or become damaged.
Rest assured that we install your unit while fully complying with local, state, and federal codes. Our factory-trained and certified technicians are equipped with the right skills to accomplish the task. Trust us to get your unit up and running – there’s no need to seek help elsewhere.
Tips for Finding a Certified Electrician for Generator Installation
Selecting the right contractor is crucial to ensure a successful home improvement project, an irrefutable fact that applies to generator installation. Opting for a generator may seem like a simple task, but in reality, there are many intricate steps one must contemplate. Choosing a licensed professional is the most prudent and secure option for any homeowner seeking to install a generator.
Finding an experienced and trustworthy contractor to install your generator can be tricky. To choose the right one for the job, consider these questions.
It's a no-brainer that you'd want to avoid the risk of working with contracting companies that might fail and leave you stranded. Instead, opt for contractors with a trusted track record for workmanship and customer service that have stood the test of time. This way, you can ensure that your installation is in good hands and that they have your back in case something goes south.
Ensuring that your home remains shielded while hiring a contractor is primarily reliant on the validity of one's license to operate in a state. A valid license not only signifies that the contractor is financially sound but also adheres to prevailing industry standards and has a contingency fund in case of contingencies. In case a license isn't present, or if it has expired, it's a telltale sign to steer clear of such a contractor. You also have the option to verify the status of the license on your own, making sure that you're not swayed into a disadvantageous situation.
Gas-powered generator projects require both a plumber and an electrician. A seasoned electrician or generator installation contractor often has a trusted plumbing subcontractor handy. Request this information upfront to ensure the plumber's services are included in the work scope and eliminate any potential plumbing confusion.
Installing a generator requires careful cost consideration. Your contractor should provide a scope of work, including the labor costs of the electrician, plumber, and installation team, as well as material expenses like cement and piping. Complex electrical work, such as installing a new subpanel should also be included. These costs can pile up quickly, so planning ahead is key to avoiding budget overruns.
To install a generator, a permit from your city, county, or state is typically required. If new gas lines are involved, permits are especially important to coordinate with local government as a safety measure. Usually, a licensed electrical contractor will obtain the permit, though it's important to clarify with your contractor what they'll handle. Awareness of this process beforehand is crucial.
Before hiring a contractor, take a few minutes to look up their reviews. You can start by checking the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, but it’s also smart to look for reviews from recent customers. These reviews may be on the contractor's own website, or they may be on a third-party review site. Either way, reading about the experiences of previous customers can offer valuable insights into what it's like to work with them - and how your own project may turn out.
It's essential to have your generator professionally inspected each year to ensure safe operation. Although your installer may not be the same as the maintenance company, they typically have connections to one. Be sure to ask for their recommendations and the cost of the maintenance plan so you can budget accordingly.
For many years, DK Electricals has been elevating New Jersey homes. Schedule a consultation, and our highly skilled electricians will expertly assess your project. We take pride in understanding your unique home and will work with you to identify the best generator, fuel source, and installation location for your new equipment. Let us help you power up your home!
Never Let the Lights Go Out Again
A generator for your home can offer peace of mind even when the power fails. Keeping your family and home well-lit and warm while the neighborhood is shrouded in darkness is indeed a priceless feeling. Despite the cost of installation and the unit, the comfort and security it brings can far outweigh the expenses.
If you’re looking for the right generator made for your home, DK Electrical Solutions can assist you in finding and installing precisely what you need. To learn more about Kohler or Generac generators or to schedule an in-home assessment, please contact DK Electrical Solutions in New Jersey today.