Installing a generator is not your typical DIY project. It involves electrical wiring, plumbing, and natural gas components, along with state, local, and HOA regulations.
Determine the peak kilowatt demand of your home by imagining what you’ll use during power outages to choose the right generator size. Then, get a quote from top-rated pros like Electrician Delray Beach!
Choosing the right location for a generator is an important step in home generator installation. The area needs to be large enough to accommodate the generator and its accessories, and it should have a solid surface, such as a gravel or concrete pad. It also needs to be clear of objects that might be obstructive or interfere with the equipment during its installation and operation. Moreover, the space should be large enough to allow easy access for maintenance and repairs.
The best choice is a location that’s close to the gas line and electric meter. This way, your contractor won’t have to run long pipes, which will cut down on installation costs. It’s also a good idea to have a transfer switch installed at the generator site. This will make it easier to switch to generator power in case of an emergency.
Some homeowners choose to size their generators themselves, using a calculator or a list of the electrical appliances they want to keep running during an outage. However, this approach is not foolproof. Consumer Reports recommends that homeowners use a professional to determine the size of their generator. The professional will take into account the appliances, electronics, and water heaters that consume the most energy. In addition, the professional will consider the number of watts each appliance draws. Then, the technician will recommend a generator that matches that amount of power.
A generator can run on different fuel sources, including natural gas, propane, and diesel. Most experts agree that natural gas is the safest and most affordable option. It also produces less carbon monoxide than the other two, so it’s safer for occupants to use during an outage. However, it’s not available everywhere, so you should check your local availability before making a decision.
Homeowners who decide to avoid a transfer switch can connect their generator to the house by using a breaker box or a relay. This will allow them to run appliances directly into the generator, but they should be careful to only plug in rated devices. In addition, they should always use heavy-duty cords that are rated for outdoor use. It’s also important to remember that you must keep the generator at least 18 inches away from any structure.
Getting a Permit
Many municipalities require homeowners to get a permit before installing a standby generator. This is especially true if the generator will connect to the home’s electrical panel, in which case an electrician will be required to perform the installation. Often, this will involve making upgrades to the home’s existing wiring. In addition, the transfer switch that controls the generator will need to be sized for the amperage of the home’s service panel. This ensures that the generator will properly power up during a power outage.
If the generator will be running on natural gas, homeowners will need to install new gas piping. This will also require a plumber, who will be responsible for getting the necessary permits. In some cases, these permits will be combined with other types of plumbing permits, such as fuel tank permits.
In most cases, diesel generators will need a fuel tank as well. This will need to be sized for the generator’s maximum rated heat input of more than one million British thermal units (MBTU/hr). Different types of fuel have different BTU ratings, and each type of generator will use a different type of fuel.
Depending on the location of the generator, you may need an air permit as well. This will depend on whether the generator is housed in a shed or will be outside, and it will also depend on the size of the generator. Typically, if the generator is less than 37 kW, you will not need an air permit. However, if the generator is used for non-emergency purposes and produces more than 37 kW, you will need an air permit.
Since the permitting process varies from municipality to municipality, it’s important for homeowners to familiarize themselves with their local regulations. It’s also a good idea to work with contractors that will include the cost of applying for permits within their service fees, as this can save homeowners a significant amount of money in the long run. In addition, working with affordable contractors can help homeowners avoid the expensive penalties that may be imposed by authorities for installing a generator without a proper permit.
Choosing a Generator
Home generators are a good investment because they can save homeowners from a number of inconveniences and expenses. They can keep food from spoiling, prevent basement flooding, and make it possible for people to continue working from home during a power outage. However, it is important to make a few decisions before buying a home generator. For example, deciding which appliances you want to back up, which type of generator is right for your home, and what size generator is needed are all critical elements to consider.
A professional electrician can help you choose a generator that is the right fit for your electrical system and appliances. They will be able to determine the wattage of your appliances and devices to get an accurate measure of their energy requirements. They can also calculate the size of the generator you need to avoid oversizing or undersizing it, which can lead to it malfunctioning during a power outage.
To begin, create a list of your appliances and devices that you want to backup with the generator. Write down each appliance’s wattage and the total wattage for the entire list of devices. Once you have the wattage of all your appliances and devices, multiply it by 1.25 to add a safety margin and account for any future power needs. Then, use this wattage to determine the minimum generator capacity you need.
It is crucial to choose a generator that has sufficient starting wattage to start your appliances. Many appliances require starting wattages that are two to three times higher than their running wattages. For example, a 700-watt refrigerator may need 2200 watts to start. The generator you select should be able to provide more than this amount of surge power.
A whole-home generator is the best option for most homeowners, as it can backup all appliances and devices in the home. This includes the furnace, kitchen appliances, television, and more. It will also work with your existing propane or natural gas lines. However, it is important to have a professional handle this installation because there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration, including obtaining permits and making sure the generator is properly installed.
Getting a contractor
The contractor you choose is critical to the success of your project. It is important to find a contractor with a proven track record for quality work and customer service. Unfortunately, many contracting companies fail within their first few years of business. Choosing a contractor with experience will give you peace of mind that they can be there for you if something goes wrong after your generator installation is complete.
You should always get a detailed quote before any work begins. The estimate should include labor for the electrician, plumber, and installers, the cost of materials like cement and piping, and complex electrical work such as installing a new subpanel. It is also important to know if any permits will be required and what their costs will be.
Another thing to consider is the location where the generator will be installed. You will want to ensure it is a safe distance away from your home and any windows or entry points. This is important because the exhaust from a generator can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if it is too close to your house. There are also restrictions on where you can install a generator based on the manufacturer’s guidelines and local laws. You may also need to check with your homeowner’s association before starting the project.
It is also important to make sure your contractor has a license to install generators and a permit for the location where they will be installed. Performing this work without a permit can result in fines and damage to your property. It is also important to ask your contractor if they have insurance coverage for this type of work.
If you are considering a whole-home generator, contact SESCOS today to discuss your options and get a quote. We can help you determine the size generator you need to power your home and your appliances, as well as the best fuel source for your home: natural gas, propane, or diesel. We can also help you with the installation process by obtaining the necessary permits and performing any excavation or landscaping required for your generator installation.