Are You Considering a Standby Generator Installation This Hurricane Season?

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Blogs, Generators | Comments Off on Are You Considering a Standby Generator Installation This Hurricane Season?

Are You Considering a Standby Generator Installation This Hurricane Season?

Florida homes and businesses play the odds each year, hoping this one isn’t the year that a big hurricane finally makes its way onshore. Forecasters at NOAA are predicting that the 2016 hurricane season will be the worst one since 2012, when Hurricane Sandy did so much damage further up the coast into New England. We got lucky with Sandy in south Florida, but the odds are getting better every year that a big one will hit our coast and do serious damage to the infrastructure.

Even if your home is slightly away from the beach and flooding isn’t a big danger for you, power outages can happen, leaving residents without electricity for days. Your best defense against this happening is a standby generator. This type of backup power supply is a lot like homeowner’s insurance: you hope you never have to use it, but you keep it around because it’s invaluable when you do.

The Importance of a Standby Generator

Losing your power for a matter of minutes or hours is an annoying inconvenience, but during a hurricane a power outage is more likely to last for days. The impact on families can range from financial to real physical danger. Some of the problems that arise during an outage can be:

  • Loss of money because of refrigerated and frozen food spoilage
  • Loss of income for people who work at home using a computer
  • Increased stress on family members from children not used to living without electronic devices
  • Health hazards to those who need medical devices such as nebulizers or CPAP machines
  • Environmental impact as extra spoiled food is added to landfills and sewer lines

Even something as simple as charging phones and tablets can be impossible during a power outage, and might be key in keeping in contact with family members in other endangered areas. For comfort, financial reasons and even physical safety, it’s important to seriously consider a standby generator if you live anywhere in southern Florida.

What Type of Power Outage Protection Do You Need?

The simplest form of backup power protection is a portable generator. Small and light enough for one person to move, these machines are effective in powering almost everything you need to keep yourself comfortable during a power outage. The size of the generator you need depends on what you want to run. The least expensive versions are enough to keep on a few lights, make sure the refrigerator and freezer are still running, keep you cool with a fan or two and make sure your electronic devices are powered up.  More heavy duty versions are powerful enough to run central air conditioning, keep your whole house lit and make sure your desktop work space is running like normal. They’ll also power critical systems like home security and sump pumps.

A whole home generator is a more permanent type of power outage protection. They’re built in as a part of your home’s electrical system, and powered by a fuel such as natural gas. These generators are fixed in place, usually behind the house, and are usually a planned-for part of the original home building plans. Depending on the size of your generator, you can live through a power outage and never have it affect you in your daily life.

Portable vs. Whole Home Generators

Which type of generator do you need for hurricane protection? Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Portable versions are much less expensive, need no professional installation and can be fueled with ordinary gasoline much like a lawnmower. They can be stored away as needed instead of sitting out and taking up part of the landscaping.

Whole home generators, on the other hand, are a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Once you have the generator installed into your home system and with a fuel line attached, it will automatically kick on any time the power turns off for more than a few seconds. You’ll never have to worry about food spoilage or long outages. Plus, since they run on fuel that’s always available, they’re more reliable than portable versions. When the power’s out, you may not be able to get more gasoline for your portable generator.

Portable backup power supplies are useful for the short term, but when it comes to serious hurricane protection, your best choice is almost always a whole home generator.

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Why Cheap Standby Generators May Cost More in the Long Term

Posted by on Apr 30, 2016 in Blogs, Generators, Residential Electrical | Comments Off on Why Cheap Standby Generators May Cost More in the Long Term

Why Cheap Standby Generators May Cost More in the Long Term

Have you ever really thought about the term “grudge purchase?” You know the types of things we mean. Insurance. Dentistry. Car repairs. They’re all things we need, but we don’t really want to spend our hard earned money on them. While we’d like to believe otherwise, we realize that a standby generator or a whole home generator probably falls into the same category. They may be necessary for life in South Florida, but they’re not really sexy or exciting, are they?

That might be why so many people are tempted to buy cheap units, and hope for the best. We’ve seen how that turns out though, and we’d like to advise you against it. That cheap generator may cost less upfront, but there’s a good chance it will cost more in the long term, and here’s why.

Poor After Sales Service

When you buy a cheap generator, chances are you’re either getting it from a guy operating from the back of a van in an alleyway (very bad idea!), or you’re buying a unit that’s been imported from somewhere that makes dubious quality products for low prices.

In either case, while you may pay less upfront, you’re going to find that when you need after sales service (and you will), you will struggle to find it. You might not be able to get replacement parts. Service technicians may not be available. Or, if you bought from the guy in the van, you might simply not be able to find him.

Damage to Your Home

One of the biggest problems that we’ve seen when people buy a cheap standby generator or whole home generator is that there tends to be some sort of damage to your home at some point. Maybe the unit is installed incorrectly, maybe there’s insufficient electrical protection, or maybe it creates a short circuit or a power surge.

Whatever the reason for the damage, the results are usually extensive and costly. Some of the cases we’ve seen have included fires when faulty generators caught alight, or fried electronics when they were installed incorrectly and causes a power surge to appliances that were plugged in.

Trouble with Warranties

We’ve replaced a lot of standby generators over the years, and whenever it’s a cheap unit that we’ve switched out, we’ve heard a similar story. The home owner saved a little on the initial purchase, but when the unit stopped working properly and they tried to get it replaced under the warranty, they found that it was full of holes.

A Good Generator Is an Investment

There are good reasons we’re choosy about which generators we supply to our customers. Firstly, we’re not willing to put our name on anything we don’t believe in, and secondly, because we know that a good generator is an investment.

Good quality standby or whole home generators will serve you well, without any trouble, for many years to come. They’ll be there when you need them, and if they need a repair, we’ll be able to find the parts you need.

So if you are in the market for a generator, why not talk to us? We might not give you the cheapest unit out there, but we’ll still be here when the guy in the van has disappeared.

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Building a Housing for Your Standby Generator

Posted by on Mar 10, 2016 in Blogs, Generators, Residential Electrical | Comments Off on Building a Housing for Your Standby Generator

Building a Housing for Your Standby Generator

If you are installing a home standby generator, and you live in Florida, you are probably motivated by bad weather. Because sure, the energy savings you get when the power is out for a few days thanks to a big storm are good for your wallet, but they’re really not good for anything else, are they?

Before you contact contractors about your generator and to get a price for the electrical installation in West Palm Beach, it’s a good idea to figure out where you’re going to place the generator, and how you’re going to keep it safe from the storm. Because diesel powered generators really aren’t a great addition to the décor in your home, and the weather outside is likely to be a factor when it’s needed. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you construct the housing:

  1. Ensure that your design includes a raised platform of some kind, to keep your generator out of any water that may be on the ground. Storms can cause flash floods or water accumulation of a few inches to a foot or more, and it’s always a good idea to keep your generator above ground for that reason. Be sure to make the platform long enough that you can wheel the generator forward when you need to refill the fuel tank or make repairs to the unit.
  2. Make sure that you construct your generator enclosure close to your home. Whether you choose an automatic or manual transfer for the system, your electrician will need to connect wires to the generator, and you want to be able to get to it easily too.
  3. Measure the frame of the home standby generator, from the ground to the highest point, across at the widest point, and from the front to the back at the widest point. Add two or three inches to each dimension. Those will be your inside dimensions for your frame.
  4. Build a frame for the enclosure. You can make this out of wood or steel (depending on your carpentry or welding skills). Ensure that you use the measurements you have taken before as the inside dimensions for your frame. If your generator is going to be close to your home, you might not need a back panel, but you can add a front and a back panel if you hinge them for easy access.
  5. Cover the frame with plywood or steel sheeting. If you choose plywood, remember that you will need to seal the enclosure well, to prevent the wood from rotting. If you opt for steel, choose a galvanized product that will resist rust. Use screws or nails to fix panels to a wooden frame, or rivets to fix to a steel frame.

Your home standby generator is built to be hardy and tough, and it should be able to handle a little water without too much trouble. However, Florida storms are a lot more than a little water, which is why a home generator enclosure is a good idea. It doesn’t have to be completely air tight either. Just make sure it keeps most of the weather out, and that it’s located outside of your home, so the fumes from the generator running are safely outside your home.

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What’s the Best Time of Year to Install a Standby Generator?

Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 in Blogs, Generators | Comments Off on What’s the Best Time of Year to Install a Standby Generator?

What’s the Best Time of Year to Install a Standby Generator?

If you’re considering buying a whole home generator, then you might be wondering what the best time of year to install one will be. It’s true: there is a “best time” to install a generator, that will probably get you a better deal, and quicker service. Here’s what you need to know about the best time to get your standby generator.

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Why a Whole Home Generator is Vital to Emergency Preparedness

Posted by on Dec 24, 2015 in Blogs, Generators, Residential Electrical | Comments Off on Why a Whole Home Generator is Vital to Emergency Preparedness

Why a Whole Home Generator is Vital to Emergency Preparedness

Until you have experienced a blackout, you never really think about getting backup power. However, once you have, you know what to expect. Everything in our modern lives depends on power to work. Being without it, even for a few hours, can be a miserable or even downright dangerous proposition.

We take a look at why you should consider a backup generator, what your options are, and how you can go about getting the right home generator.

Who Should Have a Backup Generator?

Ideally, everyone would have a backup generator, because blackouts and power failures can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. However, while that is certainly true, there are a few people who need power more than anyone, including:

  • Parents with young children, who need to sterilize or heat bottles or other items.
  • Anyone with a medical condition who requires power for treatment.
  • Elderly people who may injure themselves due to poor lighting.
  • People who work from home and who need power to earn a living.

There are many other cases where power is a necessity, but I think we can all agree that even if it is not strictly necessary to our health and wellbeing, it is necessary for our comfort and happiness!

What Are Your Backup Generator Options?

When it comes to home generators, you have two basic options: a portable generator or a backup generator (also sometimes known as a whole home generator.)

Backup generators are generators that are wired into your home’s electrical system, so that when the power shuts down, they automatically take over. These types of generators can either power some of your appliances (ranging from the bare essential survival appliances to more extensive ranges), or they can be what is called a whole home generator. As the name suggests, this type of generator provides enough power to keep your whole home running.

Portable generators, as the name suggests, are built into a frame, which usually includes wheels, so that it can be moved around. This type of generator is not wired into your home, and you will need power cords and power bars to use your appliances, which makes it less convenient. On the plus side, however, these types of generators can accompany you on camping and fishing trips, so they are multifunctional.

How to Get a Generator

If you are considering buying a generator for your home, then the best way to get all the information you need is to talk to a residential electrical contractor. If you opt for a wired-in backup generator, they can advise you what size and type you need to meet your emergency power needs, and they can probably get you a better deal on a higher quality unit than you would get in a hardware store.

A backup generator is never a bad investment, and in places like Florida where there are frequent big storms, it is one you will probably find good use for sooner rather than later.

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Choose a Generator Using Our Buying Guide

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Blogs, Generators | Comments Off on Choose a Generator Using Our Buying Guide

Choose a Generator Using Our Buying Guide

Florida residents are almost too familiar with blackouts and power outages. Between the excessive amount of lightning that strikes, tropical storms, hurricanes, and aging infrastructure, a power outage is to be expected on just about any day. The question isn’t when, it’s for how long. Outages of minutes or an hour or two are just annoying and inconvenient. It’s when the power outage lasts 12 hours or more that it begins to affect your quality of life. You’ll sorely miss your air conditioning during most of the year, and food in your refrigerator and freezer begins to go bad after half a day.

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