Installing a backup home generator is not easy, but doable. It definitely may be worthwhile if you live in an area that loses power often. A home generator can provide backup power in case of a power outage or emergency. Furthermore, it can reduce your electricity bills and carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and Bellevue Area, we experience extreme weather that can leave your home stranded without power for a number of days. It is in these moments, many homeowners wished they had backup power from a home generator. To avoid this predicament, you may want to install a backup home generator. Keep in mind, however, installing a home generator is NOT a simple DIY project. It requires careful planning, preparation and professional assistance.
Here are some steps to follow if you want to install a home generator for your home.
- Determine your power needs. Determine how much power you need to run your essential appliances and devices during a power outage. You can use a wattage calculator or check the labels of your appliances to estimate your power consumption. You also need to decide whether you want a standby generator that automatically turns on when the power goes out or a portable generator that you have to manually start and connect to your home.
- Choose the right type and size of generator. There are different types of generators available, such as gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas or solar. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Take into consideration cost, maintenance, fuel availability and environmental impact. You also need to choose the right size of generator that can meet your power needs without overloading or underloading. A general rule of thumb is to multiply your wattage requirement by 1.5 to get the minimum generator capacity. At Rock Electric, we team up with Generac for most of our backup home generator installations.
- Hire a licensed electrician. Installing a home generator involves working with high-voltage electricity and gas lines, which can be dangerous and illegal if done incorrectly. You need to hire a licensed electrician like Rock Electric who can install the generator safely and according to the local codes and regulations. Rock Electric can also help you obtain the necessary permits and inspections for your installation.
- Prepare the site and install the transfer switch. You need to choose a suitable location for your generator that is well-ventilated, accessible and away from flammable materials and sources of ignition. You also need to install a transfer switch that connects your generator to your home’s electrical panel; it switches between utility power and generator power automatically or manually. The transfer switch prevents backfeeding, which can damage your generator and cause electrocution or fire hazards.
- Install the fuel system and connect the generator. Depending on the type of generator you have, you may need to install a fuel tank, a fuel line or a solar panel for your generator. You also need to connect the generator to the transfer switch using heavy-duty extension cords or wiring. Make sure that all the connections are secure and grounded.
- Test the generator and maintain it regularly. After installing the generator, you need to test it to make sure that it works properly and safely. You can do this by turning off the utility power and turning on the generator. Check if all your appliances and devices are running smoothly and if there are any leaks, noises or smells from the generator. You also need to maintain your generator regularly by checking the oil level, changing the filters, cleaning the spark plugs and following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Many families have chosen generator installation as a dependable substitute for handling power outages. In situations where power lines and grid stations are compromised, it might take weeks for power to be restored. Choosing not to have a backup power solution can lead to significant consequences. On a smaller scale, households are negatively impacted. Particularly, vulnerable groups like children and the elderly face risks such as food shortages, lack of heating, and the inability to carry out essential tasks like washing.
Founded in 2009, we are a premier electric company in the Seattle/Tacoma area specializing in installing backup home generators, hot tub installation, electric vehicle charging station installs and more. Contact us today for a free estiamate and to get started!