Standby Generator Video
Here is my standby generator, that creates electricity automatically in case of a power outage. These standby generators are completely different from those portable gasoline generators, that you often see at tool rental stores and home centers. Those don't create nearly as much electricity and are not automatic.
This generator runs on propane, but they use natural gas. My generator creates 17,000 watts or 17 kilowatts of power. That is plenty to operate my boiler, microwave, refrigerator, well-water pump, my septic system pump, miscellaneous lighting in the house and some other circuits. Generators come in different sizes depending upon what you want to operate if the power is interrupted.
An automatic standby generator needs to be installed by a professional. These complex machines must be installed properly. Don't think for a minute, even if you are a serious DYI'er, you can do this job. They require a fancy, computerized transfer switch that automatically turns on and off when the power to your home is lost, and then restored.
Inside the standby generator control box is the transfer switch for my house. On the outside of the box, there is a light indicating whether the power is coming in from the utility company or the standby generator. In a power failure, the transfer switch flips to receive power from the generator. The switch does not allow electricity to go back outside the house through the utility company lines. This protects an utility company employee working on the lines. If power went out to the utility pole, he could be working on a line that he thinks is dead, but it is actually energized.
Secondly, there is a computer inside the panel that automatically turns the generator on once a week to exercise it. That is important so you know that the generator is working in case of that power failure.
The installer used metal conduit to run power cables from the generator to the main circuit panel in your home. Existing cables in your home have to be spliced into a new circuit panel that connects to the transfer switch. It is all very complicated, and believe me, it is not a job for a rookie.
Last year, there was a horrible ice storm here in New Hampshire. Many of my neighbors were without power for days and days and days. But my house was without power for about 5 - 6 seconds. These standby generators turn on automatically. You don't have to worry about a thing. Don't have to fuel it up. I was sitting by the fire, reading a book. It's that simple.
Standby generators are on guard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They are waiting to do their job if the power goes out. You don't have to worry about a thing. You don't have to pull a cord to start the generator. You don't have run any extension cords. These generators are already connected to your electric system. Standby generators are fantastic.
Tim's wife, Kathy, was without power for days after a major storm. Click to read about that outage in the September 30, 2008 AsktheBuilder Newsletter
Read Rebecca's Generator Mistake in the November 29, 2015 Newsletter.
Read the December 2, 2015 AsktheBuilder Newsletter for a Standby Generator Follow Up.