Owning an emergency standby generator can take the fear and worry out of losing power. The Southwestern United States is notorious for serious wildfires as well as the potential for earthquakes. This can wreak havoc on the utility services to our homes, often leaving our homes without power for day, When a home is without power, there are often bigger issues to face – problems with sump pumps, loss of food in a refrigerator or freezer, and unsafe living conditions inside the home. Point Loma Electric and Plumbing provides its customers with professionally installed standby home generators to keep them safe and comfortable during a power outage.
A home backup generator protects your home automatically. It is professionally installed outside your home and permanently wired into your home’s electrical system. Standby Generators run on liquid propane fuel or natural gas and will be installed outside of your home just like your central air conditioning unit. A home backup generator delivers power directly to your home’s electrical system when needed and will turn on automatically when the power fails.
What size generator do I need?
It is important to choose the correct size of generator to meet your needs. You want to choose the smallest size generator that will meet your specific needs. One way to figure this out is to add up the wattage of everything you would want to keep powered by the generator during an outage. Some appliances such as refrigerators, HVAC systems and sump pumps will draw a surge of power upon start up and this needs to be considered as well. You can choose a generator sized to run everything in your house as normal or only certain critical items. A portable 2,000-Watt generator would power a few essential items but if you want all of your appliances and lights, you will want to look to something larger.
How much will a generator cost?
Portable generators can be bought for under $500 up to about $4,000. Portable generators will need to be manually placed, turned on and kept fueled with gasoline by the user. A transfer switch is recommended to provide power to the home itself, and these can cost from a few hundred to several thousand to be installed by a licensed electrician.
Permanently installed home generator systems are significantly more. The equipment alone ranges from about $2,000 to $15,000 and the installation is quite a bit additional requiring both plumbing and electrical services as well as permits. For a fully automatic standby generator installed, permitted and ready to go, you can expect the total to range from $10,000 to over $20,000 depending on the specific requirements of your area and the generator you choose.
Should I purchase a Standby or portable generator?
It really depends on your needs and budget. If you only need occasional backup power for a few critical items, then a portable generator will suffice.
If you want to have a generator automatically turn on any time the power goes out, then an automatic standby generator is the solution for you.
Are permits needed?
Permits are not required for portable generators but are required for permanently installed standby generators.
Do I need a supply of gas?
Yes, automatic standby generators are powered by natural gas or liquid propane. APortable generators are powered by gasoline.
Can I just plug my portable generator into an outlet?
NO. You can plug items into your generator but in order to feed power to anything hard wired you your house, you will need a transfer switch.
Can I install a standby generator by myself?
Standby generators require gas plumbing, electrical plumbing and permits. They are not recommended for installation by homeowners.
Can I run my portable generator from inside my house or garage?
NO. NEVER, this is extremely dangerous. Generators must be operated outdoors where there is plenty of airflow and ventilation.
What is a transfer switch, and do I need one?
If you need to power appliances or lights that do not plug into the wall then a manual or automatic transfer switch is required to shift the power from your panel to the generator. A manual transfer switch will allow you to transfer one or more circuits to be powered by the generator and disconnected from the utility power. It must be switched manually.
An automatic transfer switch will route the power from your electrical panel to the generator as soon as an outage is detected.
Do generators need maintenance?
Yes. Basic maintenance is required for automatic backup generators. All generators should be cleaned and checked for leaks annually. The oil should be changed every 50-60 hours of use. A maintenance contract is highly recommended for automatic backup generators.
How long do generators last?
Portable generators typically last 2,000 -3,000 hours of use. Typically standby generators have a lifespan of 20-40 years depending on how well they are maintained and how frequently they are used.
What other options are there?
If you cannot install an automatic standby generator due to permitting or location restrictions, there are other options to keep you critical items running. You can use a portable generator or battery backup system.
"I had the pleasure of working with Mark Irwin in getting a couple of plumbing issues resolved at our house. He is very knowledgeable and professional. I highly recommend his work."
"William was awesome he explained everything in detail and gave me reasonable options. He was very polite courteous and professional. He had my bathroom fixed fast as well. I will definitely be calling point Loma electric and plumbing in the future."
"Aaron was outstanding! I had many questions and he answered all of them with professionalism and courtesy. He had some detective work to even find what was necessary to fix my doorbell but he did! I wanted a “majestic “ doorbell sound and I got one! It has a great ring and I am so happy with it! He did an excellent job!"