HomeownerEducational: A-M


Generators Educational Content

Power outages can ruin electronics and cause food to spoil. And if the power doesn’t come back quickly, your house can get uncomfortably hot or cold. In these situations, a standby generator can be a lifesaver. Backup generators that run on natural gas or propane let you power the necessities when the power is out. Battery-powered generators are a good option if you don’t have a safe, ventilated outdoor space for a gas-powered unit.

Standby generators operate whether you are home or away. When the generator detects a power outage, it automatically starts up and powers the items you’ve selected. When utility power returns, the generator automatically shuts off.

Standby generators supply electricity through the home’s wires. This means that you will need a transfer switch. The transfer switch transfers your home’s power load from the public utility to the generator and back again.

An improperly installed transfer switch is extremely dangerous. It could backfeed electricity into the utility lines, which could electrocute a utility worker. Only licensed electricians should install transfer switches.

Storms and other causes of power outages can leave you stranded without electricity for hours or even days. Before you buy a generator, however, think carefully about where you’ll install it.

Enclosed or covered spaces let deadly carbon monoxide gas build up while a fuel-powered generator is in use. Carbon monoxide can remain for hours after the machine is shut off. Because of the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning, a generator should be used well away from your house, garage, or any other covered area.

Generators need regular maintenance to ensure that they’ll work when you need them. Routine safety checks on generators that run on combustible fuel are especially important. Check battery-powered generators on a regular basis, too. If you opt for a battery-powered generator, invest in a solar panel and battery bank system for recharging. Regular service for your generator can also help you avoid needing service during high-demand, peak seasons. Because gas-powered generators must be placed outside, leaves and other debris can sometimes get in the way. Keep clutter and debris clear of the generator unit. You never know when a power outage will occur, but with regular upkeep, a standby generator can help you weather the storm.