Generators - Houston

Power outages can be a major headache for homeowners, causing food to spoil and electronics to break. If a power outage lasts for too long, the home can become an uncomfortable place to stay. Installing a generator can put you and your family at ease. To prevent the many inconveniences of a power outage and to ensure a steady stream of electricity, many homeowners choose to install backup generators that run on natural gas or propane.

Selecting a Generator

An important decision you need to make before purchasing a generator is whether to purchase an automatic or a manual generator.

Automatic generators.

While more expensive, the automatic option operates whether you are home or away. The generator senses the loss of power from the public utility, automatically starts the generator, and automatically switches the home’s load to the generator. When utility power returns, the generator automatically shuts off and waits for the next power outage.

Manual generators.

The manual option often requires you to wheel the generator out, plug it into your home’s wiring, start it, and manually switch your home’s electrical load to the generator.  

Transfer Switches

All backup generator options that supply electricity through the home’s wires require the installation of a transfer switch. As the name suggests, the transfer switch transfers the home’s load from the public utility to the generator and back again. Because an improperly installed transfer switch could allow electricity to backfeed into the utility lines, which could potentially electrocute a utility worker, only qualified electricians should install transfer switches.

Safety Considerations

Storms and other causes of unexpected power loss can leave homeowners stranded without electricity for hours or even days. However, before making the decision to purchase a generator, it is important to consider where on your property you will install it, for there are safety concerns to take into consideration. Enclosed spaces allow carbon monoxide to build up while the generator is in use, and it can remain for hours after the machine is shut off. Because of the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that generators be placed outside of the home or garage.

Regular Maintenance

Generators require regular maintenance to function at their highest potential. Without regular maintenance, units may need to be replaced much earlier than normal. Routine safety checks on generators that run on natural gas are especially important; each year many people in the U.S. die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Regular service can also eliminate the need for a contractor during peak seasons, such as the first cold spell of the winter, when good contractors are in high demand.

Because generators must be placed outside, leaves and other debris can sometimes interfere with their performance. Keep clutter and debris clear. You never know when a power outage will occur, but with regular upkeep, a generator can help you weather the storm.