True Costs Associated With A Home Generator Installation

The expense of any main appliance is the most crucial thing to consider when making a purchase. Fees are typically underestimated for equipment purchases because homeowners fail to look at all the factors concerned with placing the equipment in their homes. Emergency standby generators are no different, and there is more than the purchase of a generator and delivery costs to look at. The true cost a consumer or business will incur to set up an emergency generator depends on the generating unit chosen, the type of automatic transfer switch, local codes and regulations, extra accessories, and installation labor and materials.

Automatic Transfer Switch

The automatic transfer switch selected will factor greatly into the installation labor and material fees. Some automated switches replace the entire main service panel while others install between the main panel and the meter to select between utility power and emergency standby generator power for the entire home. Due to involving changing the homes service equipment, these switches will cost the most tot install. Simpler installations that cost less in terms of equipment, labor, and products connect to the main panel and only power circuits chosen as essential or critical. They connect to a double-pole breaker in the main panel for utility power and to the generator for emergency backup power. The switch distributes power to a sub-panel, or to circuit breakers contained within the switch. When a power outage occurs, they transfer the essential circuit to generator power. In the home the remaining circuits are without power. Variations on both of these options will give you a choice, and inevitable affect your final cost.

Electrical Connections

Just one of the features of connecting a standby generator to a home or business is set up of the automatic transfer switch. Another element you will need to take under consideration is wiring between the transfer switch and the building. It includes controller wiring for communication between the transfer switch and the generator, and feeder lines that carry electricity from the generator to the transfer switch for distribution to the home’s electrical system. Other wiring may incorporate remote, wired controllers set up inside the home and modules for handling 240-volt, high-voltage appliances such as air conditioners, electric dryers, water heaters, and well pumps. Possibly raising the cost of installation, each device is connected to a managed power device each requiring additional wiring.

Fuel Connections

Fuel to run an emergency backup power generator runs through supply lines from the building’s natural gas lines or from an LP gas tank. This will require additional supply lines in either case. A natural gas installation may demand a different meter in order to supply sufficient gas for the backup generator. In liquid propane installations you may possibly demand a new regulator for the same reason.

Budgeting Costs

The ideal way to find the true costs relating to the installation of standby power generators is to check with an installer authorized by the generator manufacturer. They can help you navigate permits and building departments and advise you on the type of installation that best suits your needs and your budget.

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How To Keep Safe With Your Portable Generator

Anywhere electrical power is required such as, construction sites, campgrounds, and houses, a portable power generator will supply it. Not just for convenience, they power tools, health-related gear, and retain important appliances operating. Along with hooking up your generator, and making proper connections. Follow these portable generator safety tips to prevent life-threatening mishaps. For specific safety instructions make sure to read your owner’s manual that is particular to the model of generator you own.

General Safety

When a generator is currently in use, never try to refuel it. Turn the generator off and allow it to cool before adding fuel. Don’t allow children to play near a generator during operation. Burn and electrical hazards can injure a child. Disconnect loads from the generator before you turn it off and keep them disconnected until the generator is running again. Use battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors when the generator is operated near a home or other dwelling. Keep combustible materials away from the generator. Generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can quickly kill in a confined space. Never place a portable home generator indoors, including the inside of a home, garage or shed, even if the windows and doors are open. Windows and doors cannot provide adequate ventilation for an internal combustion engine regardless of the fuel being used. Keep portable generators at least 10 feet from any dwelling including homes, tents, RVs, and campers. Make sure that your generator is far away from open doors, windows, or vents, as the fumes can seep into where you are residing. Also, be sure to place your generator downwind to avoid fumes entering the dwelling. Also, be mindful of the direction your exhaust may travel, and make sure to be aware of how close your neighbors are in relation to your generator. Always have a level stable surface that will not flood to place your generator on. 

Using Extension Cords

Always use extension cords designed and rated for outdoor usage. Electrical cords would be wise to have a ground wire and also have three-pronged plugs and receptacles. Be sure you obtain cords that may support how much power the devices used will draw. Common wire sizes include 14 gauges for about 15 amperes, 12 gauges for about 20 amperes, and 10 gauges for about 30 amperes. When the cords will carry near their maximum rated load greater than eighty percent of that time period, boost to another (smaller gauge number) size cord. Electrical cords more than 100 feet require larger wires (smaller gauge number) to reduce voltage drop, which may cause motors to overheat or burn up. Usually do not pinch extension cords in windows or doors, or use cords when they’re coiled up. Pinched wires can quickly overheat and initiate a hearth. Uncoil cords before you make connections to ensure that they’re from overheating. Exclusively use extension cords in good with unbroken sheathing and solid connections to plugs and receptacles. 

Making Connections

Make connections between the portable generator’s convenience receptacles right to appliances with extension cords.

Connect a generator with a home’s electrical system by having a manual transfer switch. Never connect capability to your house by backfeeding a machine circuit for example a power range or dryer outlet. Backfeeding can kill or injure utility workers.

On job sites, a transportable generator’s neutral and ground wire be bonded (connected) for the generator to satisfy OSHA safety regulations (unless a different, approved ground is provided). Connection of an job-site generator with a home’s manual transfer switch may necessitate disabling the bond before connection to the switch. Check the owner’s manual for instructions specific to grounding the generator.

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The Importance of a Standby Generator

As our dependency on electrical power grows, so does the affect of a power outage. Homes, health care facilities, industry, and business all rely on electrical power not just for comfort, but to run safety systems and protect property.

Key to a standby generator system is its capability to detect a power failure and then start and run routinely without human intervention. Also in conjunction with an automatic transfer switch, these units are permanently installed to your home and can discover a power outage and then supply power until regular power is restored . The generator will also automatically shut down once utility power is restored.

Critical Environments

Those that cannot tolerate any power interruption of any kind are referred to as critical environments. These include hospital operating rooms and intensive care units, computer installations, and other critical systems. These systems utilize uninterrupted power to prevent their systems from experiencing an outage, even for a few seconds.

Electrical power is stored in batteries. An inverter converts the battery power to the same power provided by the utility, which then powers the equipment connected to it. When power is disconnected, the batteries will be completely charged as they continue to supply power until the standby generator which maintains the batteries at a full charge until utility power is restored.

In hospitals, other systems may not need uninterrupted power, but they cannot be out of service for any length of time. During an outage, standby generators are the ones keeping these systems operational.

Commercial Facilities

Safety systems that are in large commercial buildings also depend on electrical power. Everything from emergency lighting to ventilation and fire safety systems require electricity, and when the power goes out, standby generators fill in until the electric company turns the power back on. During long-term outages, the batteries in emergency lights may have only a few hours of useful life . Emergency lights will fade and building occupants will not be able to navigate their way around without a standby generator taking over.


Standby generators can serve double duty in large factories. Often, manufacturers have agreements with electric utilities that allow the utility to interrupt power on quick notice when demand goes beyond the available supply. During an unexpected power outage a factory may run standby generators as an alternate supply of power. Having an alternative supply of power permits the facility to carry on working during the outage.

In addition, standby generators can power vital safety systems with power during an outage. Such safety systems are usually mandated by building codes and the installation of a commercial standby generator is not optional, but required.


Commercial standby generators maintain freezer and refrigeration units running and prevent large-scale loss of food products. When the power goes out, temperatures begin increasing in large walk-in freezers and refrigerators. Fresh meats and dairy products must be maintained at 33 to 40 degrees F. or they cannot be sold. Frozen foods require temperatures at or below 0 degrees F. to prevent spoilage.

Restaurants and grocery stores could possibly lose their inventory and suffer large financial losses with standby emergency power. Even small grocery stores have cold food inventories valued at tens of thousands of dollars, and that number increases to more than a million dollars in large stores.

Power from a standby generator can also keep an establishment’s doors open and the business operating while other businesses are closed.


Most people spend at least a third of their lives inside or around their homes. A home can very rapidly become unpleasant or even unlikeable when a storm occurs or when the power has been knocked out. 

The loss of power causing loss of heat will also turn out to be an issue in the cold winter months. Without heat, pipes can freeze and break, and when they thaw again the home can flood. In the summer, the heat can be unbearable or even unsafe for some people. Refrigerated food will spoil after a day or so without power, and frozen food won’t last much longer.

Electrical Power also keeps a home dry and mold-free by removing water from the foundation. A standby generator for home use keeps the power on, even if the homeowner is not present.

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