Factors to Consider When Installing an Emergency Generator

Generac Guardian Series Installed in Garden

Power outages are not exactly frequent here in New Hampshire, but they can occur at any time and last anywhere from minutes to days. Especially during the “ice and snow” months. For that reason, many New Hampshire home owners have considered installing emergency electrical generators in their homes. The main factors to be considered when selecting and installing an emergency generator are:

How much electrical power (measured in kilowatts) you need from the generator in order to keep your essential home systems running: You probably want to provide power for your well and sump pumps (if present), refrigerator, furnace, some lights and maybe hot water, computers, and TVs. Once you’ve decided which systems you’ll need when the power’s out, JP Carter Electric’s professional electricians can help you calculate the kilowatts required.

Whether you need a portable generator or a permanently installed generator: Portable generators, which usually burn gasoline, are good for running a limited number of electrical devices for a limited time. Permanent installations are typically fully integrated into your home’s electrical system and employ either gasoline or propane/natural gas. The installation of permanent, or stand-alone, generators requires permits and inspections and should only be undertaken by a professional electrician.

Generac Guardian Series Engine Closeup

Whether you will need a transfer switch and sub-panel for your installation: A transfer switch is required (by law, in most places) if you plan to connect the generator directly into your home’s electrical wiring system. The transfer switch is a vital safety measure that not only protects your home’s electrical system but also prevents your generator from feeding electricity back into the power lines and thus endangering the lives of power company linemen. A sub-panel is needed if you want to connect your generator to only a portion of your home’s electrical system (to power just the well, refrigerator, furnace, and a few lights and outlets, for example).

Your budget: We all have budget constraints, and JP Carter Electric can help you find the generator and installation that best balances your emergency power needs with your resources. As always, if you have any questions please give us a call or drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help you!