The Generator Low-Down
There is nothing like an unforeseen power outage to bring about homeowner panic. And while a trip to a pioneer village is fun, no one actually wants to live like one. Moreover, as Canadians, we face several months of winter in which power outages are a common result of winter’s storms.
What’s the cost-effective and efficient solution? One word: Generators.
There are many reasons why homeowners decide to invest in a generator. Primarily, it gives them confidence and security when the power goes out. After all, restoring power becomes your concern when the electricity is gone. A back-up generator restores power within seconds after a power outage.
Some more practical reasons for purchasing a generator include the following:
- If your home relies on a sump-pump to prevent a basement flood.
- If you rely on power for medical equipment (ex. oxygen tank).
- If you live in a rural area and rely on power to bring water into your home during a lengthy outage.
- Heating your home in the winter or air-conditioning in the summer.
- Finally, for general convenience, such as powering a fridge, a microwave, a T.V., or a computer.
Once you have made the decision to purchase a generator, it is important to find a licensed electrical contractor to put in your new generator. Installing a generator is dangerous work; you have to consider the electrical load, fuel-type and size – not just the price.[i] Oosterhof Electrical Services Ltd. has a long track record of providing quality installations and yearly maintenance for your generator needs. Choose the guaranteed safe choice and hire a professional electrician.
Now that you’ve found your licensed electrical contractor, here are the next choices to make.
First: what generator will satisfy your home’s needs? This is the point where you should be considering your price range. While some basic models are cost-effective, a higher-end model may be worth the investment, depending on what your specific needs are. If you need help deciding, remember to consult with an electrician or a generator dealer.
When deciding on your generator, Generac, a generator provider, suggests that you determine how much power you will need by figuring out your most important needs during an outage.[ii] Alternatively, find out the type of gas you have available on your property. The amount of power required will vary for every customer. For some people this may be running the furnace and for others it will mean turning on the television.
Second, will you prefer a portable machine generator or a stand-by model? More simply, do you prefer automatic control through the Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), or manual control? Through the ATS, your home back-up generator is on stand-by to restore power within seconds of an outage. It automatically feeds power to your electrical breaker box and shuts off once power to the local grid has been restored.[iii]
The installation is the third and final step in this process. This requires, generally, two days of labour. When purchasing your generator, you choose the type of fuel required for your home – either natural gas or propane gas. (This choice is affected the type and proximity of gas available on your property.) After determining the best and safest location for your new system, the electrician will set up a base for the generator, as per the manufacturer’s requirements. Finally, the electrician will wire the generator properly to the existing electrical system. An independent gas contractor will complete the gas hook-up.
Oosterhof Electrical provides turnkey solutions for our customers: we will bring the generator, supply the professional electrician, and set-up your generator to be power-outage ready.
[i] Home Pro Electric Inc., http://www.home-proelectric.com/Kitchener-Electrician/home-generators/pick-home-generators-home/
[ii] Generac, http://www.generac.com/Residential/Frequently_Asked_Questions/
[iii] Generac, http://www.generac.com/Residential/Transfer_Switches/