Root Electric’s Northern Virginia Emergency Generator Installers Can Help Prepare Your Home for an Emergency
Installing an emergency generator for your home is a smart move for preparedness reasons as it can protect your home in the event of extended power outages. There are two basic types of emergency generators: portable generators operated by a manual transfer switch, or automatic standby generators. Choosing the right one for your needs can feel overwhelming at first. Our emergency generator installers can help you evaluate which type of generator will best fit your family’s needs.
Thoughts on Emergency Generators in Northern Virginia
Hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, blizzards, ice storms… Northern Virginia residents know that any of these things can strike in a typical year, which makes preparing for a power outage a top priority any time. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to consider installing an emergency generator (for safety reasons, this requires the services of a professional residential electrician). If you already have an emergency generator, make sure to keep it well maintained so that it will be safe to use and ready in the event that the power goes out. Preparing for a power outage is particularly important for families who run a home office, or who have other special needs requiring a steady flow of electricity, at least to the home’s critical electrical functions.
Preparing for a Power Outage: Installing an Emergency Generator:
Our Northern Virginia residential electricians can discuss your emergency generator options with you. Understanding your family’s needs will help us find the right fit for your home. There are generally two types: portable generators or standby generators. Portable generators are operated by a manual transfer switch and are usually gas-powered. Portable generators provide enough electricity to power well pumps, septic systems, refrigerators, gas hot water heaters, circulation fans for gas furnaces and ignition power for gas kitchen appliances. A standby generator is permanently installed to your house, usually runs on natural gas or propane and requires an automatic transfer switch. Standby generators can usually power more appliances than a portable generator.
Keeping Your Emergency Generator Ready for a Power Outage:
Maintaining your portable or standby generator between emergencies is critical so that it functions well and safely when the power goes out. Here are some general tips to remember:
- Learn how your emergency generator works! Preparing for a power outage is as much about knowing what to do as having the right equipment. During your emergency generator installation, we will show you how the whole system works. Take notes if you need to. You will need to know how to turn it on, how to refuel and oil it, where you can get those resources (especially in an emergency), and how the connection to your house works.
- Be careful when fueling or adding oil to the emergency generator, especially if you have been running it during an emergency already. These things are flammable and dangerous if handled improperly!
- Run your emergency generator once a month for a few minutes. This keeps the system working smoothly and alerts you to any problems. Make sure to have sufficient fuel at the ready. If the system is idle for months at a time, you may need to add special fuel additives.
- Understand the switch. Emergency generators have three positions: “Off,” “Generator Power” and “Line Power”. Only a professional Northern Virginia residential electrician should install an emergency generator because if the switches are improperly installed, someone could get hurt or killed.
- Think ventilation during installation. Generators should never be installed in an enclosed space because they generate carbon monoxide gas, which can kill.
Preparing for a Power Outage: Don’t Forget…
Of course, it’s always a good idea to keep a stock of fresh batteries, flashlights, a solar or battery-powered emergency radio and a 72-hour kit ready, including a 3-day to two-week supply of fresh water (at least one gallon per person in your family—more if you have family members with special needs, or if you have pets) ready too. Preparing for a power outage or any type of emergency is the smart thing for everyone to do today! Call our Northern Virginia residential electricians for emergency generator installation or maintenance at 703-494-3989
Our emergency generator installers can install portable generators, which are typically gasoline-powered and range from 5500 watts to 18,000 watts in size, with the most commonly installed models falling between 6500 and 8000 watts. Portable generators can generate enough electricity to power critical circuits like septic systems, well pumps, refrigerators, microwaves, stoves and some lighting.
Portable generators are operated by a manual transfer switch, which economically provides power to your home during a power outage. Think of the transfer switch as a 60 amp sub panel with two main breakers: one of the breakers (usually 60 amps) supplies power to the essential functions within the house, while a 30 to 50 amp breaker takes care of the generator itself. This sub panel (manual transfer switch) has a safety feature called a lock-out device that ensures that the sub panel and its circuits are only powered by one electricity source at a time. This not only protects the circuitry of your home, but it also protects the power company workers trying to restore power to the neighborhood from “back-feeding” generated electricity into the power grid, which can kill or injure utility workers.
Fairfax Station, VA
What Kind of Emergency Generator Do I Need?
The following questions and considerations can help Root Electric’s emergency generator installers help you pick the generator that best fits your family’s needs:
- Do you run an office, or do you have sump pump, septic pump at home that needs to stay on during a power outage?
- How big is the house and how many people live there?
- What are the essential appliances you need to keep running?
- How much space do you have for an emergency generator installation?
- What type of fuel (propane or gas) do you want to power the generator?
- Does your town or neighborhood association have guidelines or rules about emergency generators?
Emergency generators require installation by a licensed electrician with experience installing them. Our emergency generator installers can help you prepare your home to safely handle a power outage, so cal us today at (703) 494- 3989.