A permanently installed automatic standby generator  keeps your home operating during power outages. A generator can be installed for close to the cost of central air conditioning and helps protect the things that matter most. 

You have questions. We have answers.

How do I connect my generator to the electrical system?

A generator is connected through a permanently installed switch. A standby generator switch automatically connects to your power. PTO drive or portable generators have a manual switch and the connection is normally through an extension cord and a specialized outlet. For a smaller, portable generator, a  panel is installed to focus on the critical circuits that need to be powered. This generator panel may have a switch  installed in it or may utilize a breaker interlock to change power sources. For a larger generator, a manual switch, designed to control the power to your main panel, can be used to ensure that voltage will not be fed back into the utility power grid. A generator switch should be sized and installed by a qualified electrician.

Location – where should I put my generator?

There are several issues to think about when considering where to install your generator. First, one must consider proximity to the electric and fuel source. For a PTO driven or portable generator, the location must be easily accessible in inclimate weather and near a readily available fuel source. In a storm or power outage, you may not be concerned about how the generator looks from the street or neighbors house. However, during normal operations, (especially for a standby generator) asthetics may influence location. Finally, even though stand by generators are designed to reduce noise, noise plays a part in location consideration. You may not want to install a generator close to a bedroom or living room if power is out for several days. It’s also recommended to place your generator 5 feet away from any window or vent and 18 inches away from the house to avoid carbonmonoxide poisoning and fire hazards.

Why should I consider purchasing a generator for my home?

The past couple of years, we have seen an increase in natural disasters. Locally, we have been affected by hurricanes, ice and snow storms. In any of these situations, wide spread power outages can occur. Therefore, power companies work hard to restore power to their many customers as quickly as possible. However, restoring power takes time. Depending on the severity of the outage, restoring power could take days. If you live in an area that exclusively depends on electricity for water, sewer, heat, sump pump etc., the time spent without power can be  uncomfortable. In some cases property damage from flooding or freezing will occur. If a power outage for several hours or days would be stressful to your health or wallet, installing a generator may give you an added peace of mind.

What type of generator is right for me?

There are three types of generators available: PTO driven, portable, and standby. Your choice of generator depends on: your comfort level with gas engines and electricity, financial means, and how much labor power you’re willing to put in to manage your generator.

If you have a tractor equipped with a PTO, there are PTO driven generators that can be connected directly to your tractor. With this type of generator you would need to manage the tractors accelerator to acquire the correct voltage. These generators are most often connected to a whole house double throw switch. The advantage to a PTO driven generator is that you will not add another gas engine to maintain. However, there are several disadvantages, including needing the tractor for other tasks, the noise level, the quality of voltage output, and having to constantly check fuel availability during a power outage.

If you are looking for a more compact and inexpensive generator, there is a large selection of portable generators to choose from. These portable generators vary in their output from 1500 watt up to 15,000 watt. They also come with a wide range of power quality. These generators are easily stored and are the most inexpensive solution. The disadvantages are they can be difficult to start, (especially if using a pull cord) they can be noisy, they need to be re-fueled every 5-8 hours, and most are not large enough to power the entire home.

Standby generators, are permanently fixed to your home system, much like an outdoor unit for air conditioning.  These generators are permanently connected to a home fuel source,(such as propane or natural gas), and opperate using an automatic transfer switch (ATS).  They are designed to automatically start after a power outage is detected and automatically turn off when utility power has been restored.  The ATS controls the power to the whole house or to critical circuits, which are chosen depending on the size of the generator.  The Advantages  of having a standby generator include: automatic set up for emergency, quiet design, and they give peace of mind, whether home or away that your home systems are running. However, standby generators can be expensive to install and they must be maintained annually.