Generator wiring and installation
Generators can be the solution to your power loss problems.
When choosing the generator to meet your needs one of the first decisions is if you want to have a manual generator or automatic generator.
Manual generator installations are cheaper and can provide power up to around 17.5-kw. This type of installation consists of installing an outdoor receptacle that your generator would plug in to. The customer would go to the main electrical panel or the generator panel, and by using a generator interlock kit the auxillary breaker can turn on and allow the power to flow from the generator into the panel providing power to your critical loads.
The generator itself can be stored away when not in use and if you sell your home you can bring this generator with you quite easily.
Most portable generators are gasoline fueled and will provide you with around four-hours of run time depending on the electrical load and size of gas tank. We recommend a generator that has an automatic idle control which controls the generator's output to match what your electrical load is demanding. This will not only save on wear and tear on your generator but it will save you fuel too.
One down side to the manual generator is that you have to refuel the generator when you run out of gas, which means you need to store gasoline somewhere you can access it. Also, you have to think about the generator running out of gas in the middle of the night - multiple times! Some people get lazy and I've heard stories of people fueling the generators while still running. Remember to let the generator cool down completely per the manufacturer's specifications before refueling. Gasoline is highly flammable and extremely dangerous when around heat!
Automatic generator installations have a lot of convenient options and typically start around 8-kw and and are permanently installed on site. The generators can run up to over 600-kw. Most residential generators come with either LP (liquid propane) or NG (natural gas) while some of the larger models are diesel fuel. There are considerations that will come into play with this installation such as local codes and guidelines for a safe and proper installation. You want to work with a qualified electrical contractor that is aware of not only the National Electrical Code and International Residential Code but your local codes as well!
The automatic generators will automatically sense when you lose power and will turn themselves on. They will make the transfer to emergency power in your transfer switch automatically and will even sense when power is restored. The generator will transfer back to utility power and then after cooling down will go back into standby mode. These generators will run a 15-minute exercise every week (can be customized) to keep the fluids fresh and the battery charged. There are options available that will send you results of the tests weekly to your e-mail so that you know your house is ready for an emergency.
These installations are great for people that aren't home often or if you want to have your family protected when you can't be at home.