Portable Generators for your home, how can I use one to keep my lights on when everything goes dark?
Its getting to be that time of year again, the rain has returned and with it comes the wind. As we all know here in the pacific northwest the weather can knock out our power pretty frequently, so do you just deal with it, or is there a need for a portable generator to provide backup power to your home? Portable generators can be an affordable option to ride out the storm as opposed to a large standby generator system. We’ll talk about those in another thread. There are a few options to choose from so I would like to take a couple minutes to go over them with you.
The first thing to look at is what portable generator works for you. These generators range from 1000 watts, or 1 Kw, up to 7 Kw, and a typical one that you could tie into your home would be 5000 watts. These typically will have a couple standard 120 volt receptacles on them as well as a 240 volt 30 amp receptacle. This is what will be used get the power you need to keep things running in your house during those nasty days when your generator will be used.
So you have a generator, now you need to get that tied into your home to get the lights and heat going. There are a couple different ways to do that, the first is installing a generator inter-lock kit into your existing electrical panel. The purpose of this is to allow the electrical power from the generator into your home without it tying into the electrical grid outside causing a very dangerous issue for the guys trying to get your power restored. These will allow you to power up anything in your home within reason. The limitation would be the amount of power your generator can produce. Most generators will have meters on them so you can see how much power you are drawing from them. You will need to keep an eye on these as not to overload the generator and be back in the dark again. A 5000 watt generator is typically enough to provide power to your lights, refrigerator, and freezer, and if you have gas heat will power the fan in the furnace so you can stay warm.
The second option would be to install a separate pre-wired generator panel. These come as an assembly that allows you to transfer certain circuits from your existing electrical panel into the generator panel so they can be switched over to generator power when the need arises. Some of these will even have meters on them so you can see as you turn things on how much power you are drawing from the generator. The downside is if you have a lot of circuits in your home you will be limited to what areas you are able to use during a power outage. These will typically come with 6-10 circuit capability, but are a very good option if that is all you will need to use.
Whichever option you choose to have installed to keep your lights on and your neighbors jealous during those nasty winter storms we are here to help you get them safely and correctly installed. Give us a call before the storms of winter 2016-17 get going full speed. HB Electric Solutions, 253-256-7861, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org