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Home » Electrical Services » Things to Consider Before Installing a Whole-Home Generator

Mechanical problems, hurricanes, flooding, and other weather events can cause extended power outages, plunging your home into darkness for hours, days, or even weeks. Standby generators can provide enough power to operate your home’s most important appliances to keep you and your family safe and comfortable.  

 

If you are considering purchasing a whole-home permanent generator, keep the following tips from Frank Gay Services in mind. Our local electrical experts will help you make sure you’re getting the best generator for your home.  

 

 

Generator Capacity 

 

One of the most important considerations when installing a permanent generator is capacity. Generators are rated by the number of watts that they can produce. A thousand watts is called a kilowatt (kW) so a 10kW generator will produce 10,000 watts of power.  

 

The more appliances and devices that you want to power, the more capacity you will need. Generally, portable generators produce around 2kW to 4kW while a 20kW rating is very common for a whole-home permanent generator since they are designed to power your entire home.  

 

If you only need to keep a few lights on or power your fridge and freezer, a 5-10 kW generator should be sufficient. HVAC systems and furnaces require quite a bit more power—for a medium-sized home you may need a generator with a 20-22 kW capacity.  

 

If you are unsure of what size and capacity of generator that you need, our electricians at Frank Gay Services will be able to determine what generator will best fit your needs. Call us today for a consultation—407-329-5145!  

 

 

Can it handle it?  

When installing a permanent generator you need an idea of its capacity.  

The more appliances and devices that you want to power,  

the more capacity you will need. 

 

 

Featured > How Permanent Backup Generators Work  

 

Choosing the Right Fuel  

 

There are four types of fuel that are usually used to fuel a permanent backup generator including gasoline, diesel, propane (LP), and natural gas. In the event of a natural disaster or weather event, fuel supplies may be limited or unavailable, so you will need to consider which kind of fuel you want to run your generator with.  

 

Gasoline is the most common fuel to power portable generators, but it is a poor choice for whole-house generators. Gasoline is hard to store due to its high volatility and it can deteriorate over time, making the gasoline you stored useless in a year or two.  

 

Here are some other fueling options to consider:  

 

Diesel 
 

Diesel is more stable and less volatile than gasoline and generally an efficient fuel source. If you want more than a day’s supply of fuel for a standby generator, you will need to install an external tank that holds the fuel.  

 

Diesel is less common for home applications but is worth considering if you don’t have access to propane or natural gas.  

 

Propane (LP) Gas  

 

Propane gas is safe, easy to store, and clean-burning. Home storage tanks can range in size from 100-1000 gallons, so having enough on hand to fuel your generator should not be an issue.  

 

While it is not as energy efficient as diesel fuel, it is great to use for a standby generator since you will have a stable supply of fuel on hand.  

 

Natural Gas 

 

Natural gas burns cleanly and supplies of it are rarely affected by natural disasters or storms. With a natural gas-powered permanent generator, you will be able to keep your power running through almost any situation. Natural gas is our top pick, with propane next, and diesel third 

 

 

Before You Install a Permanent Generator… 

 

Consider these factors before installing a permanent standby generator: 

 
Electrical Connections  

 

Permanent standby generators use an automatic transfer switch that detects a power outage and starts the generator automatically. Depending on your unit, the switch may transfer control to a separate breaker panel that sends electricity to the circuits you’ve chosen to power. 

 

If a whole-home generator is out of your price range, or out of stock, interlock kits can also be installed for use with a portable generator. An interlock kit takes care of the mess of extension cords that come with using a portable generator and uses one cord that runs to your main power source to power the circuits that you want to use during a power outage.  

 

 

Plumbing Connections 

 

If you are using propane or natural gas to fuel your generator, you will need to connect a propane tank or gas line to the generator. You will also need to have the correct valves in place to handle the type of gas you are using. It’s best to call in the pros for this kind of work.  

 

 

Permits/HOA Restrictions  

 

Depending on where you live, you may be required to get a permit to install a permanent generator and an inspection may be required as well. Also, be sure to follow any HOA restrictions or regulations that may be in place.  

 

Site Selection 

 

Your standby generator will have manufacturer guidelines for proximity to your home, and how close the unit’s exhaust is to the windows or doors of your home.  

 

 

Steer Clear of DIYs 

 

Safety is key! While some homeowners will try to DIY a standby generator installation, the results of doing the job incorrectly could be catastrophic—we’re not trying to scare you, but we’re talking gas leaks, electrocution, and carbon monoxide poisoning top the list.  

 

Your best bet? Hire a professional electrician from Frank Gay Services to get the job done right. We have the background and knowledge to ensure that your standby generator is installed correctly and can help you choose a generator that best fits your needs.  

 

 

 

Power’s Out!  

 

Don’t wait until the next power outage at your Orlando home. Purchase a standby generator or a portable generator with an interlock kit to ensure that your family is safe and sound the next time the power goes out!  

 

If you are interested in learning more about generators, call Frank Gay Services for a consultation—407-329-5145