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Things to Consider When Choosing a Backup Generator

Things to Consider When Choosing a Backup Generator

  • Generators
Generator Installation in Chelmsford, MA by Ryan Gath Electric

When your power goes out, no one wants to be the one sitting around in the darkness. Fear not, as if you purchase a generator than sitting around in the dark is a thing of the past. However, there are some points that you should consider before purchasing the generator that best suits your home.

What to Consider Before Purchasing a Generator in Chelmsford, MA

  • Fuel Tank Capacity: How long the generator will last before having to be refueled. This could also consist of the consumption rate.
  • Power Output: Most portable generators may not have sufficient power output to run everything in a house but most are capable of supporting multiple appliances. Consider the type of engine that is used in different designs and compare with the amount that you need.
  • Weight and Portability: If the generator is going to be carried about, it is important to have true portability. Some may fall under the large category of portable but in reality, they are difficult to tote around. If the generator is for commercial purposes such as renovations and construction, you will require a very light one or if heavier, one with functional wheels.
  • User Convenience: Some models of portable generators are really hard to start. For instance, the starter rope design requires arm strength as well as some skill. For your convenience, choose one that starts with a simple touch starter. This switch should enable you to switch the power output to the most fitting levels for the appliances in the house.
  • Generator’s durability: Get a generator with a solid metal body that is resistant to denting. Denting of the out build will affect the inner delicate items and reduce the efficiency of service. If the generator is to be used in areas where stability of conventional electricity is low, choose a reinforced engine that will not wear out from the frequency of use.
  • Maintenance Requirements: There are models of portable generators that require constant care and maintenance. This is a big inconvenience for the user and this need cannot be ignored. Lack of proper servicing is often very detrimental to the operation of the generator. For instance, alternators with bushes will require more maintenance than those without. Conduct research on the period of time that each system takes before requiring the mandatory oil change then compare.

What are the power requirements in your Chelmsford home?

Your power needs can certainly tie back to your available budget, however, the primary determining factor for generator sizing can be answered with the following question: In the event of a power outage, should the generator run the entire building or just emergency loads? When sizing a generator for an entire building, factors like peak demands during summer months and the amperage of your electrical service are relevant details. When sizing for emergency loads only, the emergency circuits need to be determined. For an existing structure, this may require the electrician to split the emergency circuits from your main electrical panel into a separate emergency panel. For a home standby system, this decision is typically homeowner preference. For a critical application such as a healthcare facility, certain loads may be required to have an emergency back-up in order to meet code compliance.   

Which fuel type?  

The most common fuel types for emergency standby systems are natural gas, propane, and diesel. While gasoline may seem convenient, it’s typically viewed as a poor fuel choice for standby systems due to its relatively short life of stability. Cost can be a factor when choosing between a diesel or natural gas generator (or propane) since the cost difference can vary depending on the size of the generator. The availability of fuel source is another important factor. Diesel and propane provide an ‘on-site’ fuel source but may require a re-fill during an extended power outage, where natural gas is pulled from the local utility. Local code requirements may dictate which fuel types are available to your area; for example, propane may not be an option within city limits in some regions. In addition, the type of facility can sometimes dictate if an on-site fuel source is required. 

Where will the generator be located?

The generator set should be located where it’s readily accessible for maintenance and repair, and high enough to keep rising water from reaching the generator. For outdoor and rooftop installations, comply with code requirements for minimum distance from combustible walls and building openings. For indoor installations, adhere to requirements for fuel supply, ventilation, exhaust ducting, and proximity to combustible materials. Typically the generator should be located as close as possible to the transfer switch and fuel supply. 

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