With reports of Frankenstorm on the way, electrical outages and power generators are on many people’s minds. Master electrician Sal Giordano of Premier Energy Solutions of Armonk, NY shares the following insight and helpful tips on storm safety and generators.
- First, and most importantly, homeowners should always run their portable generator outdoors and away from their home (make sure the exhaust is not discharging towards an open window). Do not run a generator in a garage – even with the garage door open. Generators need to be cooled and used in well ventilated areas to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
Standby versus Portable Generators
- A standby generator is permanently installed outside a home (similar to a central air conditioning unit) and runs on propane or natural gas and hooks up to an existing gas line. Standby generators turn on automatically when the power shuts off and can run continuously through cold winter nights. A transfer switch constantly monitors utility power and transfers the electrical load to the generator if power is lost, protecting the home even if the home owner is away. A standby generator can power critical and sophisticated appliances and systems in a home, including lights, heating/cooling systems, refrigerators, sump pumps, home security systems and more.
- Portable generators, unlike standby generators (which turn on automatically), must be hauled outside a home, filled with gas and started manually or with an electric start feature. For portable generators, homeowners must remain constantly on top of topping off the gas tank, whereas with a standby generator you don't have to as you are connected via natural gas or very large propane tank. Portables must be filled with gas every five to nine hours depending on usage. You cannot run central air off a portable generator, as there’s not enough of a starting load capacity like there is with a standby generator. However, you can run a window AC unit on many portable generators.
- Portable generators can accommodate most of a homeowner’s general needs if sized properly. A small 3-4K watt portable generator is only good for running something like a fridge and a few lights. Most homeowners are better off getting an 8K watt size generator or larger to be able to provide most of the “comfort items” needed.
- Be sure to use properly rated extension cords with generators – regarding both length and electrical load capabilities.
- Importantly, homeowners should not self-connect portable generators directly to the electrical system of their home. Electricity can flow backward into the power lines, becoming a fire hazard and endangering lives. Homeowners should either plug appliances directly into the portable generator, or hire a qualified electrician to connect the portable generator to their electrical system.
- Homeowners should also turn off major appliances, such as their stove, heaters and air conditioning units, during a power outage. Appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers should be unplugged to help prevent damage to appliances and possible overloads to the system when power is restored.
- Homeowners should be sure to familiarize themselves with their main electrical panel in case they have to turn off the main breaker or reset circuit breakers after a power outage.
About Premier Energy Solutions
Located in Armonk, NY, Premier Energy Solutions is proud to offer our electrician services throughout Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield Counties. With more than fifteen years of experience, we are a highly skilled and experienced electrical contractor offering a wide range of electrical repairs and services for residents and businesses alike. Fully licensed within the three counties and insured for your protection, Premier Energy Solutions is the best residential electrical contractor to hire when you need any work done. We are happy to address small problems requiring an electrician, and we can also handle full retros and design. Offering wiring for data-telecommunications, multi-room audio systems, security and CCTV programs and fire alarms, we are ready to bring your home into the electronic age. Whether you have a light fixture that is starting to flicker, need a ceiling fan installed or want fiber optics run throughout the structure, Premier Energy Solutions is the company you can trust. Whenever you need a residential electrical contractor, please call us at 914-643-1138 to see how we can provide you with the best service available. Our website is: www.armonkelectricalcontractor.com