Installing A Generator? Take Care Of These Items First

Installing a generator is not just a matter of purchasing the model of your choice and plugging it in. Any time you create electricity it is going to change how the power systems in your home work. Failure to follow proper installation procedures could not only cause issues with the electricity in your own home, it could endanger the lives of electric company employees.

Hire an Electrician

It does not matter how good you think you are at DIY electrical work, you need to set an appointment with a licensed electrician. They need to install an automatic transfer switch that will isolate your home from the grid when the power is out. Most electric companies will require that this switch is installed by a licensed electrician, but even if yours doesn't, it is worth the investment.

The reason this installation is so serious is because it is a safety issue for electric company employees. When the grid is up, there is plenty of power running through the lines, and some people with solar panels regularly push extra electricity back out into the grid. However, when the power is out, electric company employees will switch off power from the station to keep themselves safe, but they can't easily switch off power to individual homes. Without the transfer switch, your home generator would push electricity out into the grid, causing serious danger to employees.

Find a Safe Place to Store the Generator

Most home backup generators are powered by gas. They are large, noisy, and put out a lot of heat and fumes. You need to find an area outside to store them that is both near the transfer switch and away from anything that would have a problem with the smell and the noise. This means clearing the area around where the generator will sit, so the local landscaping won't catch on fire, and keeping the generator away from any air intakes for your home.

When installing the unit, you also need to keep in mind where the fuel source will go. If you are working with a small generator that uses gasoline, this is less of an issue, since you can carry the cans of fuel to it. However, if your generator uses natural gas or propane, you need to create a place to install the tank. You might even need to obtain a permit and follow local building codes if you intend to install a large tank for your generator.

Choose Your Generator Carefully

A power outage is not a good time to wash the dishes or do the laundry. This is because your generator will not be able to handle the same load that the power grid can, especially for any length of time. You need to carefully consider which appliances you need to keep on during an outage, and choose a generator that can support that much. In addition, fuel is a problem. If you get a generator that is bigger than you need to get by for a day or so in order to enjoy some of your creature comforts, you will have to keep extra fuel on hand to ensure it can operate for the full time that you need it. More fuel equals more space and more money for a system that you only need occasionally.

Getting a generator is not just a matter of going to the store and picking one out. You need to do quite a bit of preparation to get your home electrical system ready, as well as creating a safe place to store the generator and its fuel. Finally, you need to carefully calculate the size of your generator to ensure that it will meet your needs.