Michigan home generator

Why you should choose the Right Generator

When the power goes off for extended periods due to ice, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural catastrophes, a backup emergency generator can be very beneficial. They can come in different sizes. Your power need in emergencies determines the correct size. The more items on backup circuits, the more significant and more costly the generator. There are two main types that you can buy:

Permanent Standby Generators:

  • Install as part of the electrical system and provide power to the building wiring.
  • An automatic switch prevents the generator from back-feeding power into the utility lines and protects the generator from damage when power is back on.
  • An electrician has to install this type of system. The city or county building department must inspect the switches and wiring. When you install the system, notify your local utility company that a backup system is operating. 

Portable Generators:

Typically used when only a few vital electrical circuits are needed. Selected circuits for lights in the general living area of a home, TV (for entertainment and news), furnace, refrigerator, sump pumps, and water-well pumps are a few of the items generally considered. It is essential to get a generator that is the proper size. Some electrical motors in home appliances and equipment can have damage if they do not receive enough electrical currents.

Decisions you should think about before buying a Generator:

  • Determine which items you will use in an emergency.
  • The total watts you will need to use. An electrician can help make this determination, or you can check the manufacturer’s information for each appliance.
  • Remember: Homes in climates that have freezing temperatures need to protect against frozen pipes, and the furnace will need to be on emergency power.
  • To protect your food in the freezer, the refrigerator or separate freezer will need to be on the system.
  • Homes with well-water will need to connect the well-pump to the generator system to flush the toilets.

Generator Safety concerns

Electrical current from the generator may back-feed into the home’s electrical system and cause damage or fire and ruin equipment if you do not install it correctly.  We recommend an electrician install a generator to a home electrical system. Generators can also cause personal injury. For example, if a power company employee is working on the electrical line, thinking the electrical current is not active in the line, shock or electrocution may occur.

The key to better safeguards against these dangers is professional installation by a qualified electrician and the installation of a transfer switch.

Some transfer switches automatically trip to generator power if there is a power failure while others you must switch manually. A transfer switch works by isolating a few of the electrical circuits in the home from the incoming electrical service. If the generator is running and you restore power, the power company’s electricity cannot get to the circuits until the generator is off. The transfer switch is reset to the non-backup position.

Keep in mind if it burns fuel, it must run outdoors. Do not operate it in the garage. Cords connecting the generator to the lights and appliances must be the proper size to prevent overheating or damage.

Finally, for more information on How to prevent lightning damage to your Michigan home, click the highlighted link to see how you can reduce the need for a generator.