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Generators are a huge benefit during power outages, especially outages that may last for days or weeks due to a natural disaster. Dillon, SC, has its share of adverse weather. It’s important to plan ahead. No one wants to be scrambling for generator installation while a hurricane or other potential disaster is on the horizon.
An electrician can help homeowners decide on the type of generator they need. Generator installation is not necessarily meant to power an entire home during a power outage, it is usually meant to run essential appliances and services, such as refrigerators and freezers, a sump pump, furnace, or hot water heater. People with specific medical equipment, such as oxygen concentrators, have different priorities.
Home Health Equipment
Households in Dillon, SC, including a person using hospice or home health services frequently have sensitive medical equipment that is dependent on electricity. CPAP machines, pressure-relieving beds, suction machines, and even ventilators rely on electricity to run. People reliant on ventilators may want to consider going to a hospital in case of a power outage, but other medical equipment can run off of a generator. The consequences of losing functionality of these medical devices are a lot more severe than living without a TV or computer for a few days or a week.
Fresh Food and Cooking
Keeping a family healthy and providing fresh, healthy food becomes much more difficult without power. Freezers, stoves, and microwaves don’t work. Generator installation prevents these problems before any negative effects occur. Setting up a generator to kick on automatically during a power outage prevents frozen or refrigerated food from spoiling, even if the home’s occupants are away when the outage occurs. Constant professionals in installation to set up an automatic switch in your home.
Protecting Valuable and Important Documents
Generator installation is also a good idea for homeowners with valuable collections, such as comic books, original artwork, rare stamps, and other memorabilia. These items need to be protected in a controlled environment, and personal financial documents should be protected as well. Hurricanes and other major weather events are chaotic enough without searching for essential documents. Generator installation maintains a safe climate-controlled environment for fragile documents and items.
Choosing a Generator Type
Selecting the correct type of generator depends on the home’s energy needs and the preferred fuel source. Gasoline and liquid propane are the cheapest to install, and diesel is the most expensive. Diesel is cheaper to run over time because it is more efficient than gas or propane. Portable generators are cheaper but they require more work and maintenance and the home’s occupants have to be on location to turn it on when necessary. Standby generators require a more complex installation process, but they automatically power the home.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a location for a home standby generator. It should be a place that lets the generator operate efficiently without posing a risk to the home’s occupants. Exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide and other hazardous substances. Generators have to sit on stable ground that isn’t at risk of flooding. Some localities require concrete pads or beds of gravel. Manufacturers often provide suitable bases and enclosures for their generators to make sure underlying surfaces are level.
Homeowners can create bases with compacted sand and pea gravel. Remove sod and dirt to create a rectangular shaped hole at least 6 inches deep. Place a 3-inch layer of damp sand at the bottom and compact it. Craft a 2 x 4 out of cedar or pressure treated lumber to enclose the gravel and level the frame.
Other aspects of generator installation include site preparation around a power panel electric meter and fuel tank installation. Most electrical panels need a subpanel to connect to the generator. An electrician ensures wiring is sized correctly and protected by a secure conduit. Sometimes the electrical services in the house are reconfigured too. It takes approximately 6 to 8 hours to install sub panels and move circuits, or reconfigure the main panel into a subpanel with a whole-house type transfer switch.
It usually takes at least two people to handle and place a generator. Wiring and gas supply lines are secured and protected. Gas lines should be galvanized steel pipe with a vent and shut-off valve. This part of installation is done by a certified gas professional and takes about 4-6 hours. This process also includes testing gas services to the rest of the building while the generator is off to ensure correct pressure.
Sometimes generators have to be installed in hard-reach-areas and require specific installation tools. A crane may even be needed to reach high places. This also requires certificates of elevation, and every generator has to comply with regulations to ensure safety. Professional installation services can do all of the installation work for you.
Maximize energy efficiency by placing a generator as close to the electrical service entrance as possible. Electric and gas utility companies often have specific designated clearances between their equipment and equipment from other sources. Keep generators where winds blow exhaust away from the home and at least 5 feet from windows, soffit vents, and doorways. Be respectful of neighbors and try to prevent generator noise from bothering them.
There is also a minimum acceptable distance between the tank’s fill valve and the generator itself. Sometimes large propane tanks must be buried for safety reasons. A professional in generator installation knows the local codes and required permits and authorizations. Electricians and plumbers work with local building departments and find solutions for conflicts between local codes and installation instructions.
Contact the professionals at Mister Sparky Generators for generator installation. They can help you determine if you need to power up a generator as needed or if your household would be better off with a whole-home back-up generator.