When natural disasters, such as hurricanes and the accompanying floods strike many Floridian homes go without electricity. When the power goes out, you are left with two options, either you can wait for power to be returned, or you can rely on a generator installation. You have two options available when it comes to generators, (1) a portable generator which is powered by diesel or gasoline, or (2) a backup generator which is powered by natural gas or propane. A backup generator installation is now easier than ever, and can be installed into homes that were never designed to be powered by a generator
The first step is to understand the actual difference between these two very different generators:
A home generator is a large unit that is installed outside of your home. The benefit of a home generator is that once it is installed, it requires no additional extension cords and will power your entire home at the flick of a switch. These generators can run permanently until the electricity returns to your home as they run quite softly and will not disturb your neighbors. Home generators can also continue to run during storms and light flooding.
There are very few downsides to these generators. For one, if you chose a propane generator that is supplied by a propane tank, the generator can only run while there is enough propane available to it. However, a propane home generator with a full propane tank will run much longer than a portable gasoline generator with a full tank. Natural gas home generators have a similar problem, while they have a constant source of fuel from the natural gas lines, in some situations the natural gas line needs to be cut and you have no way of getting fuel to the generator.
Portable generators vary in size from ones as big as a semi-truck trailer all the way down to the size of a drinks cooler. They are incredibly useful for short periods of time, such as during construction or when out camping. In emergency situations, if an evacuation is called, these generators can easily be loaded into your trunk, or towed behind your vehicle to supply you and your family wherever you go.
Portable generators do have their downsides, they have a maximum output, which means they can only supply a limited amount of power. They also require a lot more supervision because they require constant refilling of their tanks. This can become a problem if gasoline and diesel are not sold in large quantities to the public, like propane is. Portable generators also require you to manually start them and if they are not used frequently they may begin to struggle to start, just like a car that has been left standing for months. To power your home, you need to run extension cords from the generator to the devices which you want powered. This also means that systems in your home such as HVAC cannot be powered by a portable generator. Due to the emissions created by the burning gasoline, portable generators need to be set up outside, and with the exposed outlets and extension cords you cannot use these generators during a storm.
Permanent generators, are wired to your home by a transfer switch. A transfer can be as simple as a switch that can be flicked to change your source of power from your main electricity mains to your generator or can be an electronic control module that monitors both your main power line, and the lines from the generators. The generators are constantly in a standby mode, when not in use, and the transfer switch recognizes the mode the generator is in and can start them automatically. Should you lose power to your home, an electronic transfer switch will signal the generator to activate, and power will be returned to your home via a gas-powered backup generator. This entire process occurs in a matter of seconds.
The first step to consider when installing an emergency generator is to research the laws and requirements of the state of Florida. These requirements will affect the generator you buy, as the state and your local homeowners association will have regulations on zoning, carbon monoxide output, noise restrictions and safety codes. Once you are aware of the regulations you can finally decide on what generator to purchase, which will depend on the energy output you require for your home, and available fuel. After you have chosen a generator and transfer switch that suits your needs, installation can begin. You will need a certified electrician and a certified gas installer to install your generator. Your home will be without power during the installation process as the electrician will need to disconnect your main power line and rewire it to the transfer switch along with installing wiring for your new generator. The gas installer will insure that all regulations are met for your gas supply.
Art Plumbing AC & Electric has a qualified team that advise on area regulations, generator purchase and installation. Should you be curious about anything regarding generators, please feel free to contact us, or read more from our very own House Whisperer. If you have any electrical, plumbing or HVAC needs, remember that Art Can Fix It!
For Immediate Emergency Assistance Call 1-800-475-1504