With the hurricane season upon us, coupled with the increased abundance of tornadoes that have spawned over the last few years and the general shortage of electrical power on the grid, more and more home owners are considering the installation of a stand-by electrical generator to provide emergency power in the event of an electrical power outage.
Stand-by generators provide security and a level of comfort in the event of a utility power failure. They can maintain indoor climate, provide lighting, keep food from spoiling and allow a family to function.
Stand-by generators differ from portable generators in that they are permanently installed and have a permanent connection to a fuel source, either propane or natural gas. Diesel powered stand-by generators are available, but as a general statement they are designed for commercial installations and provide more power than a typical home would require.
I generally recommend the use of propane over natural gas to power stand-by generators. The reason that I recommend propane is that the fuel storage is self contained on the home owner’s property. Although this is more expensive (the cost of the tank and its installation), than connecting directly to a natural gas pipeline, it provides much better electric power security. In many cases, especially disasters caused by hurricanes and tornadoes, natural gas pipelines are shut down to avoid fires and explosions in the damaged areas. Having a stand-by generator without a fuel source, doesn’t accomplish anything.
The majority of stand-by generators are installed so that when a utility power failure occurs, the stand-by generator will start automatically, switch all or a portion of the home load to the generator circuits and when utility power is restored the generator will turn-off and restore the load to its normal position.
For additional information on stand-by generators for your home or other renovation projects, visit Renovation Headquarters.