If you have recently suffered from an extended power outage in your area, it is easy to think that a generator would have solved all of your problems. But homeowners must understand the correct use of a generator and what they can expect to get for their money when investing in a portable model or a whole home backup power solution.
As a rule, portable generators are the ones that you see in the big box stores that are mounted on a frame with wheels. These are also the units that can be found on many construction sites. And while these are handy tools, they are not a solution to powering your entire home. And when misused, they can be lethal.
The most important rule to remember is that these portable units need to be used outdoors. They cannot be run in an enclosed space. The exhaust produced is filled with carbon monoxide. It will quickly saturate the air in an enclosed space and result in carbon monoxide poisoning. And because the machine is operating outside in what could be moist conditions, be sure that it has GFCI protection on the outlets.
Finally, these units are suitable to power a few appliances like your refrigerator and a space heater. But they are not capable of providing power to your entire house. And they are also not designed to back feed electricity through the electrical system in your home. If this is done without a professionally installed transfer switch, you could put your neighbors and anyone working on the power lines in danger of a severe electrical shock or death.
When you are using a generator, you will need to place it close enough to your house to reach it with an extension cord. But you also need to be sure that the cord and the generator are protected from snow, rain, and moisture. And because the exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide, you also need to keep the generator away from any doors and windows of your home. The exhaust could seep into your home and create a life-threatening hazard for you, your loved ones, and your pets.
If your home does not already have carbon monoxide detectors, it is a good idea to install them. And if you are considering the purchase of a portable generator to use in future power outages, then the CO2 detectors should be purchased with the generator and installed immediately as a safety precaution.
If you live in an area with frequent power failures or issues, then a backup generator is a wise choice. These specially designed units can power everything in your home, from your appliances to HVAC systems. Depending on the season, having heating or cooling can be life-altering after a severe storm that knocks out local power.
These standby generators are permanently installed pieces of equipment that run off natural gas, propane, or diesel fuel. When your trusted electrical contractor installs the generator, there is also a transfer switch installed. When your standard power fails, the generator will automatically turn on and supply power to your home. Your electrician will work with you to determine the precise size needed to best meet the needs of your home’s electrical demands and your budget.
To learn more about portable and standby generators for your home, call (703) 463-9866. A licensed electrician from Circuit Doctor will visit your home to help you decide which device will best meet your needs.
Storms hold the potential to cause a significant amount of damage to your home and its electrical system. And while these acts of nature cannot be avoided, you can be prepared to minimize the impact and level of inconvenience they insert into your lives. Acting quickly after storm damage to your home can be the difference between minor electrical damage and an electrical fire that destroys your home and belongings while also placing your loved ones in grave danger.
Some of the most common damage that you could be facing after a large storm includes:
As a storm rolls in and dumps a massive amount of water, the soil around your property will quickly become saturated. And when that downpour is accompanied by high wind, the most common damage is fallen trees. The roots can no longer bear the wind’s stress because of the softer soil, and the result is trees toppling over and taking power lines with them. Again, there is no way to stop these forces of nature, but you can be prepared with an alternative power source for your home. A portable generator can keep your refrigerator and freezer functioning, but that is about its limit. For a more reliable whole-home solution, check into a backup generator for your home. These units can restore your home’s major functions with the flip of a switch or a push of a button, including lighting, cooking capability, and even the comfort of your HVAC system.
If lighting strikes near your home, the massive surge of power can destroy electronics and electrical devices connected to your home’s electrical system. And in severe cases, an excessive amount of power can damage the wiring and electrical panel in your home. Many consumers think that small power strips with surge protection built-in will protect their expensive electronics. But that is rarely the case. The most reliable solution is a professionally installed lightning arrestor. This device prevents electrical damage to your home by diverting the electrical surge of power away from your home and to the ground.
During a severe storm, it is not unheard of for water to find its way into your home. And when it comes into contact with your electrical wiring, bad things will happen. The water will short out your power in the general area or even the entire house depending on the location of the short. And as with any electrical short, there is always the potential for an electrical fire. Ensuring that your home is water-tight is the only way to avoid potentially hazardous electrical shorts. But in the event of a strong storm, your home might not be able to withstand the extreme force, and water will enter your home. When this happens, it is critical that you call your trusted electrical professional immediately.
Storms are a part of life in many regions of the country. And in the community, residents know that a call to (703) 463-9866 is the best way to deal with electrical issues after a storm. The team at Circuit Doctor is here 24/7 to assist our customers as soon as they discover any storm damage to the electrical system. And we also offer backup generator and surge protection installation. We know that fast action is essential to take that first important step in getting your home and life back to a routine. Trust us to get the job done quickly, cost-effectively, and correctly when you need it the most.