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How to Safely Use a Home Generator

Monday, July 13, 2020
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Home generators are convenient ways for homeowners to remain connected to sources of power should a power shortage occurs, or your local electrical grid fails.  Whether you are new to using a generator, or have some experience using one, there are a few things you should know to be aware of going forward.

Electrical Safety for a Standby Generator

Size Matters.  You should have a licensed electrician determine the size of the generator to meet electrical loads.  It is advised to make sure you can power the house but including some excess power just in case is strongly recommended.  If you undersize the generator for your home, you run the risk of causing the same condition as a brownout with insufficient voltage.  This can cause significant damage to something as big as a pool heater to a laptop computer.

More Beneficial Than a Portable Generator

Unlike a portable generator, a standby home generator is connected permanently to your electrical system and will automatically operate when the power goes out.  Standby generators can operate with natural gas or propane, taking the concern of refueling out of question.  They are also a lot quieter than a portable electric generator.  You buy a larger unit to ensure power for your whole house, or a smaller unit to choose the most used circuits in your home.

With expensive wiring and costs for a transfer switch, the cost comparison of a portable generator and a standby unit may not be as substantial as you would think.  Standby generator units can run on inexpensive natural gas, which will ultimately save you some cash.

Operational Safety: Be Prepared!

Once your new generator system has been installed, you want to make sure that the system is tested and works efficiently.  The last thing you want to do is encounter an emergency, like a random power outage, and be caught with a faulty generator.  Checking the generator, even yourself before a big storm on the radar, can ensure that the system will work properly when it needs to.  Contact us at Lakepointe for DIY pointers and checks to ensure operational safety.

In the meantime, there are some things that can happen that cause a generator to malfunction.  To make sure you don’t go stranded in an outage, take a look at what might cause your generator to stop working:

  • Tripped GFCI Outlets.  This usually indicates that there is either a ground fault in the circuit the generator is supplying.  These are usually hard to find without a trained eye.  Ask one of our experienced electricians to have a look at the ground fault that might exist somewhere in your electrical system.
     
  • Tripped Breakers.  This is almost always because there are too many sources of power used on one circuit.  For example, the same circuit used for your kitchen appliances might also be used to power your home office computer in the next room.  The last thing you want is an under-voltage to large-consuming power sources, which will eventually cause damage to them.  If you don’t know what circuit supplies power to which rooms, ask our electricians about how your home is wired and what you can do to minimize the chances of blowing circuit breakers.
     
  • Devices That Won’t Run on Generator Power.  There may be a lot of reasons for this cause.  If you don’t install a generator with quality machinery (i.e. one you may have gotten on sale online), chances are better that the generator will fault a lot more frequently than with a certified generator system.  It might seem like a bit of a cost difference, but we recommend not compromising you and your family’s safety by saving a few bucks on a cheaper machine.  Investing in a home generator with quality now provides peace of mind during an outage as well as a great ROI in the long run.

Contact Lakepointe Electric for Emergency Electrical Repair, Outdoor Lighting & More!

Here at Lakepointe Electric, we are currently offering financing on all our new home generators for as low as $99/month!  If you’re thinking about owning a generator, now is the time to buy!  Terms and conditions apply with approved credit on all our generators.  We feature brands like Generac generators and Briggs and Stratton generators.

With over 20 years of experience, the experts here at Lakepointe Electric are trained to detect any kind of issue with a generator or generator system whilst providing repair and replacement services to your existing generator installation.  You can trust us to equip your generator to last for years and years to come!

For more information about landscape wiring, HVAC wiring, pool wiring or hot tub wiring, hiring an electrician, or general electrical safety tips, call Lakepointe Electric at (586) 204-8121 or reach out to us through the contact form on our website.  You can trust us for help with all your DIY electrical work as the best residential electrician near Macomb County.