Choosing a Backup Power Generator: Advice from Los Angeles Electricians
Power outages are, unfortunately, a fact of life. If the power is out for a short time, it is a minor inconvenience that you can probably live with, but if it continues for any lengthy period then troubles can start – losing power to your refrigerator and freezer means food begins to go off and that can mean a lot of dollars wasted. You will soon begin to feel too hot or too cold according to the season, and you may be stuck in the dark as well. If you work from home, your income could be at risk. So to protect yourself from these disadvantages, you might consider getting a backup generator.
There are various types and sizes of generators available and your Los Angeles Electricians will be able to advise you on the most suitable generator for your needs and your budget.
Portable gas generators are the best known type and run on either gas, propane or diesel. You need to turn these generators on manually. They must be used out of doors, at least ten feet away from the house because of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. To be on the safe side, it is worth plugging in a carbon monoxide detector in your home to monitor the levels when using a portable generator. You will needs to use electric extension cords rated for outdoor use to power items within your home.
If you want to hook this type of generator into your home’s electricity supply, you will need professional help to install it safely. It will need to be fitted with a transfer switch so the generator does not send electricity back into the grid. This can cause dangerous problems to those working to fix the outage and mean that insufficient power is going into your circuits.
A more reliable option, and one that kicks in automatically when an outage occurs, is a standby generator wired into your home’s circuit panel. In this case, it doesn’t matter if there is a power outage when you are away form your home. The generator is connected to your home’s fuel supply of natural gas or propane, so you don’t have to worry about storing large quantities of fuel. If you don’t have such a supply, you can have a propane tank installed underground. Fitting this type of generator is also a job for a qualified and licensed electrician.
The size of the generator you need will depend on what you want it to be able to run. If you want to be able to power, say, a few lights, your computer, the TV and perhaps a microwave, a small generator that produces about 1,000 watts will be sufficient. If you are concerned about keeping you refrigerator and freezer up and running, you will need to generate 4-5,000 watts and if you want to be able to run your heating or air conditioning you will need more.
If a large generator that would meet all your needs is beyond your budget, purchase as large a one as you can reasonably afford and then make a plan to cycle certain appliances on and off for an hour at a time. In this way, they will not all be drawing power at once but should receive sufficient to maintain comfort levels within your home and keep your food fresh.
Your Los Angeles Electricians will be able to talk through the advantages and disadvantages of different generators in more detail and in the light of your individual circumstances. A generator is a sound investment and will help you to keep your life on track even when the potential disaster of an outage strikes.