Electrical Generator,J.M. Mullen Electrical Services Annapolis Electrician
Written by John Mullen

The Facts About Back-up Generators

Cold weather months are upon us and with them come winter storms that can result in a power outage. A back-up generator is a great way to keep your home safe and warm when an unexpected outage happens.

Determine your power needs

During an outage, do you want to power only the main systems of your home such as heat, air conditioning, and your refrigerator, or do you want a solution for the whole house? Check the wattage on the largest power users, the air conditioning and heating. There should be tags listing the system’s power requirements. Some quick arithmetic will help you find the size generator your home requires.

How to Choose a Generator

Decide on the power source for your generator. Instead of running around looking for a gas station, choose from natural gas, liquid propane, or diesel. The price will vary depending on the power source, but it’s important to get a generator powerful enough to meet your needs.

For natural gas and liquid propane you need to install a tank, a gas meter and hoses. A reputable contractor can help you confirm you have sufficient hook ups needed for installation.

Power Transfer Switch

Your generator needs an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), which allows your generator to automatically engage as soon as a power failure happens.

The generator continuously senses utility power, and when it detects an outage, it starts the engine and disconnects the power coming in through your home’s lines at the same time. Your home’s panel will be powered by the generator with a minimum of disruption.

The right switch is as critical as the generator because they work together to restore power. You need to know the amperage of your electrical panel. You can find this information on the main breaker. The typical home has a 200 amp main breaker. Older homes may have a lower amp. Make sure the ATS and your electrical panel are the same amp rating.

As with other power systems in your home, maintenance is critical. The experts at JM Mullen can help you assess your home’s power needs, then select and install a transfer switch to ensure your back-up generator powers your home properly. They’ll set up a maintenance plan to keep everything running smoothly. Call us today for a consultation.