More and more homeowners are opting for the convenience and peace of mind that a whole house generator can bring. When you know that your power will be restored in seconds, you don’t have to worry about your home or your family’s comfort. Learning more about whole house generators can help you determine if this useful device is right for you.
Feel confident your home or business won't lose power during one of PG&E's rolling blackouts during Sacramento's intense heat waves or outages due to winter storms.
Having a whole house generator makes all the difference when your power goes out. Instead of stumbling around in the dark and trying to figure out how much food you're going to lose from the freezer, you’ll see the power come back on in an instant.
Whole house generator benefits:
If you're looking to protect your home with uninterrupted power during power outages than a whole house generator is what you need. Whole house generators offer a convenient and easy way to ensure your home always has power.
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Generators and solar systems can not be on at the same time unless you have a battery backup and an inverter that will manage everything. If a generator is installed in a way that the solar system sees the power and thinks the grid is back on, it will start producing power as well. There is nothing to sync the power “waves” or any way to manage any excess power coming from the solar system. Severe damage can occur.
If you have either solar or a generator and are going to add the other, you will want to be sure that you use a fully qualified installer that knows how to wire everything correctly. If you are getting both at the same time, be sure to ask how it will be wired and if the two will ever “meet” each other. Unfortunately, there are some contractors who know just enough “to be dangerous”.
If you add battery storage into the mix, the inverter/controller will manage all of this for you and allow you to use solar power during a power outage.
Probably the best fuel type of generator is natural gas if you have it at your home. You don’t need to worry about storing it, it is relatively inexpensive, and you have an unlimited amount of use. That is, of course, if you do not experience a natural disaster that interrupts the gas distribution network.
Propane is probably the second best option as you can easily and safely store hundreds of gallons and it does not go bad like gasoline or diesel. With gasoline and diesel, you are limited to how many fuel cans you have and can store. And it can go bad after a certain amount of time and needs to be rotated (use what’s in storage and refill with fresh). In the event of widespread power outages, downed trees, flooded or inaccessible roads, and especially emergency demand, you may not be able to get gas or diesel fuel.
Finally, with gas and diesel, you have to keep refilling the fuel tanks
That depends on the generator. Automatic standby generators like Generac and other brands put out a clean sine wave, or clean power. On the other end of that are your inexpensive portable generators, and they do not put out power that is quite as clean. You should always protect electronic by using surge protectors. If your generator does not put out clean power, you may notice lights flicker, especially LED’s, or your refrigerator or freezer may sound funny if the compressor is not getting the correct voltage.
With a manual generator switch, you need to start your generator and manually flip a switch that will disconnect you from the grid and connect you to the generator so that it can power your home. An automatic switch detects the loss of power and automatically starts the generator and switches from the grid to generator power. It will also turn your generator off and switch back to the grid when is senses that power is restored.
If you are not home, especially if you are gone somewhere for more than a day, the automatic generator will keep your cold and frozen food storage working automatically. With a manual switch, if you are away from home, critical appliance such as your refrigerator, freezer, well pump, and heat will not be working and can lead to loss of cold and frozen food, animals and plants not getting water, and frozen pipes in your home in cold weather.
Generator sizing is dependent upon a number of things, most importantly, personal preference. When the power goes out, do you want it to be survivable, tolerable, or comfortable. You can power just the most basic necessities or the entire home.
When considering the size, the type and amount of available fuel must be considered. If you are on natural gas and install a natural gas generator, you have basically an unlimited supply of energy to power your generator, so other than the cost, fuel use is less of a consideration. If you experience a natural disaster that interrupts the natural gas supply, it won’t make any difference what size generator you have, they will not run.
If you are on propane, or have a gasoline or diesel generator, you are limited to the fuel you have on hand when the power goes out.
Replenishing these fuels in bad storm, widespread power outages or natural disasters can be challenging and sometimes impossible. Therefore it is much more important to consider the rate of fuel consumption when deciding on a size.
A review of your home and desires can help determine the right size generator for you.