When power goes out at your home, there is nothing like having the peace of mind knowing you had a whole house generator installation done ahead of time to provide power for your home in times of power outages. The same holds true for your business. Can you afford to be out of touch with your customers because the power went out?
We get so accustomed to having power at our fingertips around the clock, and when that power goes out, it can cause a loss of business, personal items like food in the freezer, and other frustrations.
Power outages are on the rise in both frequency and duration. Nearly 60 percent of all power outages are caused by violent thunderstorms or hurricanes, but 34 percent are caused by equipment failure due to the nation’s aging and overloaded electrical grid. So what’s a Myrtle Beach area homeowner to do?
One option that is growing in popularity is to have a standby generator, also known as a whole house generator installed by Swift Services Heating, Cooling & Electrical. A whole house generator installation becomes your own personal power source when the lights go out. Within seconds of a blackout, your generator will automatically kick on to power your home’s electrical needs.
However, standby generators aren’t cheap and whether you should buy one or not isn’t an easy decision. Let’s examine some facts and figures, so you can decide if a whole house generator installation is right for you and your family and home.
Whole House Generator Installation Considerations
If you live in an area like the Grand Strand with frequent or lengthy blackouts, a whole house generator installation becomes more of a necessity rather than just a luxury or simple convenience.
Generators come in lots of different sizes, and can be powered by either natural gas or liquid propane (LP). A common mistake is to get the largest unit available to power the entire house. And that’s certainly one option. Among the sizes of generators available for purchase and installation are:
- 7.5 kw
- 13 kw
- 16 kw
- 20 kw
- 22 kw (whole home)
But the more sensible and affordable approach is to consider buying a generator that is sized to only power your home’s most essential electrical needs, such as those connected to the heat pump or air conditioner, your kitchen appliances, the water heater, security system, garage-door opener, and perhaps a few the most needed lights and outlets. These types of installations are often referred to as “partial-home generators.”
Regardless of which size or type of standby generator you choose, it’s a significant investment, but one many homeowners are willing to make to keep their home and family safe and comfortable during the darkest of times when the power goes out.
The size of your home is just one thing to consider when selecting a standby generator. The complexity of your home’s electrical system also plays a key role, especially if you have central air conditioning or a heat pump (maybe even two?) Sizing your whole house generator installation isn’t as simple as going by square footage of your home, saying, “My home has this many sq. ft., then I need to get this size generator.” It’s a bit more complicated than that, and one of our experienced electricians can calculate your home’s electrical needs and recommend the right size generator.
Pick a Transfer Switch
Just like you need a switch to turn on a light bulb in your house, your generator needs one too. An automatic transfer switch (aka a ATS) allows your generator to spring into action the moment a power failure is detected.
This happens when the switch continuously senses power, and the moment an outage is detected, it simultaneously starts the engine and disconnects electricity coming from the line and starts your home’s power through generator power versus your power company.
Getting the right automatic transfer switch is just as crucial as getting the right generator as they work together to restore power when it goes out. To know which ATS will work best for you, you’ll need to know the amperage of your electrical service panel. You can check this by locating the main breaker in your electrical panel (usually the big pull-out at the top).
Typically, the average sized home has a 200-amp main breaker, so the maximum amount of electricity your home can consume is 200 amps. It’s crucial to get the same amperage switch as your home’s panel. If you have 200-amp service, you’ll need a 200-amp transfer switch. Your technician from Swift Services Heating, Cooling & Electrical can figure this for you so you won’t have to be guessing.
Maintenance Needs for Your Generator
Just like your car, or your home’s heating and cooling systems, your generator will need maintenance as well, so this needs to be considered when trying to decide if a whole house generator installation is right (and affordable) for you.
Generally, bigger units require more care. After 24 to 48 hours of continuous use, it is recommended that you get your generator serviced, After around 10 days, have a professional change the oil and the filter.
Your whole house generator installation will stay healthy through a lifetime of outages if you check the engine oil daily during use, run it at no more than 75 to 80 percent of its rated capacity, replace overworked or deformed motor brushes, and avoid starting or stopping it under load whenever possible. These are all things your technician can advise you and assist you with.
Once you’ve made the decision to have a whole house generator installation done, you can rest knowing that your home will be protected against power outages of any kind. You will no longer have to be holding your breath when a storm is looming and feel vulnerable during the next blackout.
Give us a call at 843.236.9060, or fill out our short form here and we will schedule a time that is best for you to come out and give you a FREE ESTIMATE on having a whole house generator installation (or a business backup generator) if you’re anywhere in the Grand Strand area, including
- Myrtle Beach
- Carolina Forest
- North Myrtle Beach
- Little River
- Murrells Inlet
- Pawleys Island