Are You Ready for a Standby Generator?

standby-generatorIf you live in the northeastern states you have first-hand knowledge of the power that nature can wield. The storms that homeowners in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have faced in the past couple of years have really made it clear that some type of back-up system is definitely warranted. Hurricane Sandy took out power to over 8 million residents. Families were forced to leave their homes as the winter weather hit New England.

Just a year before, homeowners faced one of the most historically damaging snowstorm ever to hit the region. Statistics from that storm reveal that it was one of the worst storms on record, causing the worst string of power interruptions that lasted more than 24 hours and affected over 21 million residents.

Preparing for the Next Big Storm
With extreme natural disasters affecting the area two years in a row, many in New England are now wondering and worrying about what this year’s storm season will bring. As a result, many of the home improvement stores have already started selling out of portable generators that work off of gasoline. Northeasterners, it seems, don’t plan on being caught off-guard when the next major storm hits.

However, standby generators, such as the Generac line of generators, are much more efficient and have the ability to power a home for days at a time, rather than merely hours. Many homeowners are turning to these powerful standby generators in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as part of an overall emergency plan as they prepare for the coming winter months.

What Is a Standby Generator?
A standby generator is one of the best residential solutions for extended power outages. Portable generators are designed for portable use and are usually on a cart or some other type of wheeled set-up. Standby generators are completely different in that they are installed permanently onto a concrete pad. They are designed to provide an uninterrupted supply of power to your home for days.

Standby generators in Massachusetts are connected directly to your residential electric panel. They are powered by an outside fuel supply. Many homeowners choose to use natural gas powered generators or propane powered generators, which are much more fuel-efficient and economical than gas-powered generators. Plus, as many people have discovered, it can be difficult to get gasoline in a power-outage, as most gas pumps are powered by electricity.

How Does a Standby Generator Work?
These units are able to work to power your home by directly bypassing the utility grid through the use of an automatic transfer switch. The switch disconnects the electrical panel from the utility company the moment it detects an interruption in service. Once your home is completely off the primary power grid, the switch automatically turns on the generator and transfers the power to the electric panel.

The whole thing is powered by a combustion engine, which can be fueled by natural gas, liquid propane or diesel fuel. Natural gas powered generators and propane powered generators, such as the models made by Generac, are some of the most widely used standby generators in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Natural gas is delivered via the local natural gas utility company, while the liquid propane is delivered to your home through a local supply service, such as Columbus Energies.

Once power is restored to the primary grid, the automatic switch works to shut down your standby generator and then automatically reconnects the residential electric panel to the grid. The whole process is seamless, taking just a few seconds to make the switch. This ease of operation makes it an ideal solution for families with small children, the elderly or anyone else that might have difficulty going outside to hook-up a portable generator solution in the middle of storm or cold weather.

Are There Any Problems Owning a Standby Generator?
Make sure to speak with local officials to check if there are any city ordinances that might prevent you from owning a standby generator in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. Some cities actually have noise ordinances that specifically restrict the installation and use of standby generators.

If you aren’t sure about getting a standby generator, speak with a representative at Columbus Energies to find out if they have already installed generators in your area. They have been serving customers throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island for generations and have lots of experience working with both propane powered generators and natural gas powered generators.

Is This a Do-It-Yourself Type Installation?
Absolutely not. If you are thinking about getting a standby generator, contact a professional sales and installation specialist. You will need to have an assessment of your load needs and make sure that your home is set-up to work with a standby generator without requiring a lot of changes or upgrades to your electrical panel and system.

If you want to get a natural gas powered generator, you will need to speak with your local utility company to find out about getting a high-pressure, high-volume line. Some towns don’t have the capability to handle the amount of pressure required for these standby generators, so make sure before you purchase one. If natural gas is not an option, speak with your installer about the possibility of installing a propane powered generator instead.

The installation process required for a standby generator requires extensive knowledge in both electric and plumbing skills. You also need to know about local regulations and building codes, as well as have all the required permits and inspections throughout the installation.

Columbus Energies Can Help!
If you are thinking about purchasing a standby generator in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, contact Columbus Energies. They sell and install Generac standby generators and can get you hooked up with either a natural gas powered generator or a propane powered generator, depending on your specific needs. Columbus Energies also provides propane delivery services to customers in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Call today for a quote and find out more about all of the standby generator options available in your area.