Between weather, earthquakes, manmade catastrophes and overburdened grids many parts of the country are forced to deal with brown outs as well as total blackouts, leaving the home owner without power for days at a time. Even areas with reliable power grids will lose their power occasionally. For the occasional power outage, a mobile backup generator will suffice, even the smaller ones could power a light or two, refrigerators and freezer. However, these smaller units may struggle to keep the AC working. The typical home of about 2000 square feet will require 10-15 kilowatts (kW) to run the home under normal conditions. Larger homes and businesses will require more. Above 20 kW is beyond the capacity of the typical portable generator, with 15 kW being about the maximum. These may have a single 240-volt 50-amp output receptacle. But is this going to be sufficient to supply power to a 400-amp service?
Power Outage for Your Business
For the small business, power loss represents sales loss and non-productive labor costs as employees stand idle. In the home the very young and the elderly are vulnerable to heat and cold extremes. As the freezers go out perishable food stores can be compromised and it is not unreasonable to face the loss of $300 or more in consumables if the fridge-freezer loses power for multiple days.
Standby Generator Installation
The answer may be a standby generator. The larger portable generators will provide up to 15,000 watts or 15 kW. At most a 30-amp and/or 50-amp 240-volt outlet and will have difficulty supplying power to the typical 200-amp service of a modest home. You can power an electric range or your AC but not both at the same time. Most portable units are fueled by gasoline or propane.
Best Fuel for Standby Generator; Gas or Diesel?
A word on fuels. Propane has the lowest density of energy per volume of all the fuels. Natural gas provides better energy density per volume and if the gas system works, it can provide nearly an inexhaustible fuel supply. Gasoline is volatile. In other words subject to high evaporation rates making it much more flammable than diesel. Storing quantities of gasoline to see you through multiple days of electrical production is some what problematic. Large quantities of gasoline are dangerous fire hazards and local ordinances may limit storage supplies for the home. Gasoline will also deteriorate over long storage periods and being volatile and mixed with the need to vent to the atmosphere there is loss of volume do to evaporation. Diesel presents that largest energy density of any easily available fuel on a per gallon basis. Diesel is much less volatile than gasoline. And for a fuel to burn is must be in a gaseous state. Diesel is safer to store in quantity, but modern diesel fuels with all the required additives required to meet pollution standards are not as stable in long term storage and can deteriorate. Not big problem if you live in the northern areas subject to regular winter blackouts. In due course your diesel supply can be rejuvenated back to a usable standard, but this adds to the cost of operation. The standby units can be had up to 35 kilo watts, can fully supply a home with all the energy needs and requirements for full operation. Two fuel options exist. In areas of natural gas delivery this would be an ideal fuel except for areas subject to flooding or earthquake, municipal natural gas supplies are generally very reliable and offer a limitless and affordable fuel supply. It is generally very safe, and the modern electronic controls will provide monthly startup and diagnostics as well as automatic startup and switching for the home service. The other option is diesel.
Generator Transfer Switch Installation
Most portable generators supply power through an extension cord of at 14 gauge but a commercial 10 gauge is recommended depending on the generators output. A dedicated outlet with an auto switch will complete the installation. Wiring panels can accommodate those circuits that are critical. Refrigerators and freezer, or a circuit for medial support. Most portable will not be able to supply all needs of a house, so you will have to be ‘choosy’.
Electrical Wiring Services in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut
Standby generators are hard wired into the service via a manual or automatic switch and provide enough power for household requirements. Having a means of providing power during an outage can literally be lifesaving and let’s face it comfortable equates to high morale making it easier to weather the storms and emergencies we encounter on our life’s journey. Contact Sentry Electric for all your electrical needs.