A generator is a machine that converts energy into electricity. Generators are usually classified according to the source from which they draw their power. For example, a generator can be water or gas-powered.
Many homeowners agree that a generator is a ‘must-have’ in today’s world where power can be disrupted by a climactic or other event without warning. Even so, you can’t just ‘hook up’ a generator and expect it to work. You need to do some advanced planning.
- Contact an electrician. It is best to bring in a professional when it comes to the electrical systems in your home. The professional will ask you to determine what appliances in your home you would like to keep running ‘off-line’ in the case of an electric power loss.
- Take the time to figure out how much electricity your generator will provide and how much fuel will be needed to keep it running on a 24-hour basis.
- You should know that you cannot plug a generator directly into a wall socket. You must be disconnected from the larger power grid first. To run a generator, you must install a ‘transfer switch’. This is complicated and should be done by a professional. The transfer switch will be wired directly into your electric service then the generator will be plugged into a subpanel. When the switch is activated, it removes you from the power grid.
There are other things that must be taken into consideration. For example, there are standby generators and backup generators. A standby generator will start up immediately in the case of a power outage. This would be especially important if you are operating medical equipment in your home. On the other hand, a backup generator must be started manually.
No matter what type of generator you invest in, you should always test it a few times a year to be sure it is in good working condition and that you are comfortable in starting it up and getting it running.
Remember, generators get hot! They also emit carbon dioxide, which can be lethal, so set the generator away from the home and on a level surface with plenty of unobstructed room.