As our reliance on electrical items grows, so does our need for uninterrupted power. Unfortunately, power outages happen. If you’re in the market for a generator, here’s some things to consider before making your purchase.
Which electronic devices do you want to power?
Do you want the entire home running as if nothing happened, or just parts of it? Identify your necessary electrical needs. Do you need to run a medical device? Will a space heater be sufficient for heating, or do you need more?
Once you’ve made your list, add up the number of watts needed. Look for the electric label on the device to find this information. Generator specialists advise a generator that produces more power than all of the equipment combined plus the initial surge when it is turned on. If you draw more power than the generator is designed to produce, you may blow a fuse on the generator or even damage your connected equipment when it is turned on. You may want to seek assistance from an electrician to determine your needed power usage.
What’s your budget?
Do you want a standby generator wired to your home? The national average for installation is somewhere between $4,500 and $9,000; and that doesn’t include the price of the unit. A portable generator starts at $750.
Fixed or portable generator?
A fixed generator is permanently located next to or near your home and should be installed by a licensed contractor or electrician. They will help you identify the best permanent generator to meet your needs.
A standby generator automatically transfers the power source from the electric grid to the generator. Some permanent generators use a transfer switch that must be manually “thrown” before turning on the alternate source of power, which is wired into a house. Not throwing the switch can result in backfeeding, which sends electricity back into power lines, and it can seriously injure or kill electric lineworkers or others. Dawson PPD offers a rebate to customers who install a qualified transfer switch. Visit our rebates page or call 308-324-2386 for details.
A portable generator can provide power through a heavy-duty extension cord and can service several small appliances and lights. To ensure safety, the load rating of the cord must be more than the sum of the power consumed by the appliances. Please ensure the cord has a grounding prong and there is no damage to the coating and insulation of the wiring.
Avoid backfeeding onto power lines
Do not plug a portable generator into a wall outlet, because that creates “backfeed” – feeding electricity back through your system and meter into the power lines, which jeopardizes the safety of lineworkers attempting to restore power – as well as anyone who may be near a downed or sagging line. When the electricity produced by your generator reaches the transformer outside your home, the voltage will be increased from 120 volts to thousands of volts as it travels down the overhead power lines.
Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning
Portable generators can be handy when used properly, but can be deadly as well, particularly from carbon monoxide fumes emitted by the engine. Always operate your portable generator outdoors to keep exhaust fumes out of the home.
Manufacturers recommend that you operate your generator once a month for at least 10 minutes to ensure that it is running properly. Keep the generator where it will be easily accessible and weatherproof. It’s advisable to have enough fuel for at least 24 hours.
Six items to consider
- Which electronic devices do you want to power?
- What’s your budget?
- Fixed or portable generator?
- Avoid backfeeding
- Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning
There’s no such thing as a private life if you are registered to any social media sites. A Google search of my name came up with no less than 403,000 results. While a great majority of the results were related to work, there were many reflecting my personal/private...
New construction crew foremen trucks have arrived at Dawson PPD, and they're a bit monstrous. The commercial-grade CV International trucks are listed as medium duty with a gross vehicle weight rating of 23,500 lbs. Dawson PPD crew foremen previously drove a Dodge Ram...
Building a new structure for your home or business takes a lot of planning. As you are working through your budget, please be sure to contact Dawson PPD for a quote on the cost to bring electrical power to your location. Dawson PPD’s policy, implemented in February...