CAN I SET UP MY STANDBY GENERATOR? (A COMPLETE GUIDE)
A standby generator is a device that generates electricity for your home or business during a power outage. Typically, it will cut on automatically when there’s an interruption in the power supply and switch off once stable electricity is restored.
One of the main benefits of having one is controlling when it turns on and off. For example, if you have a gas-powered generator and you know there’s going to be an outage soon (such as before a storm or hurricane), it makes sense to start using it ahead of time so that you don’t run out of fuel later on. This means that your home won’t lose power when everything else does!
Another benefit is that you can power specific things in your home, such as refrigerators or freezers. The only problem is that you have to manually turn them on and off whenever there’s an outage or when the power returns after being cut off for whatever reason.
Congratulations! You’ve decided to take the plunge and install a standby generator. You’re going to be the envy of your neighborhood when you flip on that giant switch and have lights, heat, and even air conditioning without having to worry about losing power. But before you start shopping for a generator or scheduling installation with a professional, there are some things you should know about DIY projects like these.
A Brief Overview of Standby Generator Installation
You have probably heard of standby generators, but you may need to learn what they are and what benefits they can provide for your home or business.
In short, a standby generator is an automatic power source that provides backup electricity when the main power supply fails. They work when grid power goes out and kick in within seconds to keep your lights on and other essential equipment running while authorities work to restore the grid’s power supply.
There are several types of standby generators available:
- Inverter – The most common standby generator type, these units generate AC which can be used directly by appliances connected to them. They come in many sizes (e.g., 1kW up to 50kW), and prices range accordingly ($2K-$40K). More expensive models tend to offer better features like remote monitoring capabilities, so homeowners don’t need a technician standing by during storms or brownouts; it also comes with a maintenance-free operation which means no oil changes are required! Plus, there’s reduced noise levels compared with older models too–perfect for those who have neighbors nearby who might complain about loud noises from older models.”
Choosing The Right Size
If you’re considering purchasing a standby generator, the first thing to do is calculate the power requirements of all your home appliances. This will help you choose the correct size generator for your needs.
For example, suppose you want to run a refrigerator and some lights during a power outage. In that case, 50 watts should be enough (assuming all your appliances are operating at total capacity). However, if you want to run more than one refrigerator or if some of your devices require more electricity (like an oven), you may need more than 50 watts per appliance.
The most common way to calculate how much power an appliance uses is kilowatts (kW). For example:
- A 100-watt lightbulb = 0.1 kW (100/1000)
- A 1000-watt water heater = 1 kW (1000/1000)
Essential Circuit Coverage
Now that you know what to look for in a generator let’s discuss the different circuits you should have your generator protect.
As the name suggests, essential circuits are the ones that will keep your house running in an emergency. Typically, these consist of the following:
- Emergency lighting system (solar-powered or battery-operated)
- Fire alarm system (including smoke detectors)
- Telephone/VOIP landline phone service
- All refrigerators, freezers, and other cooling units
Managed Whole-House Coverage
Another option is to purchase a managed home generator, which provides you with electricity for your entire home. An organized system is connected to your home’s main electrical panel and automatically turns on when utility power goes out. A professional company should install the generator, which can train you on how to use it safely and efficiently.
Complete Whole-House Coverage
What is complete whole-house coverage?
Complete Whole-House Coverage is a system that protects your entire home from all power outages. The system automatically kicks in when utility power fails and supplies electricity to critical equipment such as refrigerators, freezers, and medical devices. It also protects against dangerous high-voltage surges caused by lightning strikes on utility lines outside your home.
Choosing The Right Location
- Generators should be placed in a dry and secure location
- Keep generators at least 10 feet away from the house
- Place them away from trees, fences, and other obstacles
Infrastructure is the foundation of your house. It makes it a home and allows you to live comfortably.
The same can be said for standby generators. In this guide, we’ll discuss why they are essential and how they work.
There are two types of standby generators: gas and diesel. Each has its pros and cons that we’ll explore later in this article!
Process of Installation Planning
Before starting your installation, you must ensure it’s done correctly. That’s where planning comes into play.
A well-planned installation is key to the success of the generator. Your generator will work well for many years if installed correctly and maintained properly throughout its life cycle. So make sure you take the time necessary for planning before getting installation costs from a contractor or buying a generator yourself.
It’s also important to consider what kind of fuel type to be used by your standby generator to keep it running at peak efficiency. If you plan on using diesel as opposed to another fuel such as gasoline or LP gas (liquefied petroleum gas), then here are some things that need attention:
Make sure that the generator is installed in a well-ventilated area. Diesel fumes are flammable and can cause an explosion if there’s not enough air around them. Keep diesel fuel away from heat sources such as open flames, electric motors, or electrical sparks. Please don’t fill the fuel tank with more than 2/3 of its capacity. This will allow room for expansion in case the temperature or pressure changes in the tank.
Find an Electrician
An electrician is a professional who can help you install your generator. Electricians are licensed and trained to install electrical systems, including generators and panels. They will know what size generator you need for your home and where it should be installed. They can also help design the layout of the electrical panel so that everything works together nicely when it’s time to turn on your home’s power supply again.
Find a Mechanical Contractor
One of the most important decisions you’ll make in this process is finding a mechanical contractor to help you set up your generator.
- Find a mechanical contractor who is licensed and insured.
- Find a mechanical contractor who has experience with generators.
- Find a mechanical contractor who can help you choose the right generator.
- Find a mechanical contractor to help you choose the right location for your generator (e.g., inside or outside).
Delivery of your standby generator is the first step in setting up your backup power system. Generators are heavy and bulky, so you may need help getting them from the truck. Delivery personnel will drop a skid or trailer off at your house and ask you to unload it yourself. Make sure there is enough space near where the generator will be installed for them to park their truck before agreeing to have them drop off your equipment.
Prepare in Advance
- Make sure you have the right tools. You will need a socket wrench set, an extension cord, and a power drill.
- Make sure you have a suitable space. Your generator needs to be placed on flat ground with an unobstructed path to your house’s electrical box for it to operate correctly, so be sure there are no stairs or other obstacles nearby when choosing where to place it.
- Make aware that standby generators don’t come cheap, and buying one is not something you’ll want to do on a whim if money is tight.
Servicing and Maintenance Following Installation
- Servicing and Maintenance Following Installation
Once your standby generator is installed, it should be serviced regularly. The frequency of maintenance depends on how often you use the generator and how much work it has performed in its lifetime. Monthly or annual maintenance may suffice if you have a smaller unit that is only used occasionally, such as during power outages caused by storms or other natural disasters. On the other hand, larger units may need more frequent servicing due to their use in different applications and environments.
If your standby generator isn’t working correctly or at all, or if there are signs of trouble, the best course of action is to contact an expert who can analyze what’s wrong with your system and recommend solutions for fixing any problems as quickly as possible without delay (or further damage).
The Reasons Why DIY Installation of Standby Generators Isn’t Recommended
As mentioned above, professional, licensed technicians often install standby generators. This is not just because of the complex nature of their construction and operation—it’s also because installing a standby generator incorrectly can be dangerous. Some states have rules requiring a licensed technician for installation based on the size and type of generator needed.
But what about those who have decided to take on their own DIY standby generator installation? Can they do it safely? The answer is yes…but only if they follow these guidelines:
- Choose an appropriate generator based on your needs.
- Calculate your load requirements using the correct formulas
The first step in setting up a backup generator is selecting the right one. There are many factors to consider when choosing a generator, including:
- Size: The size of the generator will depend on how much electricity your home needs to power and for how long.
- Type: There are two types of backup generators gas-powered standby generators and electric standby generators. Gas-powered units have an engine that runs on different fuel types like gasoline, diesel, or propane; electric units have a machine that runs off electricity from the main supply (if available). Because gas-powered engines require less maintenance than their electric counterparts, they tend to be more popular among homeowners looking for reliable backup power sources. However, live near an area with frequent blackouts or brownouts due to weather events such as hurricanes or tornadoes. An electric unit may be more suitable since it does not require fuel refilling every few hours as its gas-powered counterparts do.
To determine the load calculation, you need to know the following:
- The size of your house (square footage)
- The number of appliances that will be running at once (and their wattage)
- How long it takes for them to power up or down? For example, if you have an electric stove that takes 30 minutes to preheat before cooking, you want to account for this in your calculations.
Natural gas is the most common fuel source for standby generators. It’s cheaper than propane and has a higher BTU rating, meaning it will give you more power per unit of energy. Natural gas also has better environmental performance than propane—it burns cleaner with fewer emissions, which makes it a better choice if you’re looking to save money on maintenance costs down the road.
- The electrical panel should be a minimum of 100 amps and rated for the generator’s voltage. A larger panel will allow you to add additional circuits as needed.
- There must be enough space for the generator’s breaker and disconnect switch. If your generator has a three-phase output, there must be enough space for three sets of 120/240v breakers (six total).
- All wiring should be grounded according to NEC codes (National Electric Code).
The gas meter is the device that measures the amount of gas used by your home. It’s usually located outside the home and connected to a pipe that leads inside.
What Is the Appropriate Size Generator to Run a House?
To know how much power your generator should be, you must understand what load you’re trying to run.
The size of the generator should be determined by the wattage of the appliances and light fixtures that will be running at the same time. The load is typically calculated based on their combined wattage, with a more significant generator needed for a higher total load.
The wattage of a particular appliance or fixture is usually printed on its nameplate and sometimes also available in an owner’s manual or product packaging. However, this may differ slightly from brand to brand.
What Is the Best Spot to Place a Whole House Generator?
The generator should be placed in a dry, well-ventilated area. This will help prevent corrosion and premature wear and tear on the machine. The best place to put a generator is on a concrete pad, but this isn’t always possible or practical due to space constraints. You should also keep it away from trees or other objects that could block airflow around the unit.
It is essential to keep your portable generators away from windows, doors, and other openings where exhaust fumes may infiltrate inside your home during operation (or even worse when not operating).
Can I Install a Generator Transfer Switch on My Own?
While it is possible to install a transfer switch on your own, the process is complicated, and you should only attempt it with experience and training. If you’re looking for help with this project, check out our site. In addition to being dangerous if installed incorrectly, generator transfer switches are also not a DIY project due to their complexity (and the fact that they require professional installation).
This article has given you all the necessary information to decide whether or not you want to install a standby generator in your home. You need to know that it is possible, but it requires some work and planning. We hope this guide has helped answer any questions you may have had about the process so far!