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Mister Sparky Electric Blog

Your Top Generator FAQs Answered by the Pro’s

Have you ever been stranded without power after a thunderstorm? A recent Utility Dive report shows that extreme weather power outages are on the rise. From hurricanes to wildfires and drought, it’s more important than ever to equip your home with backup sources of power.

Below, we’ve compiled the most common generator FAQ’s.

generator FAQ

What are the differences between standby and portable generators?

A standby generator is attached to your liquid fuel line and always ready to provide electricity should you need it. They are large and powerful to provide enough electricity to resume all normal home functions.

Portable generators provide electricity by running a gas or diesel engine. The engine turns an on-board alternator to generate electrical power. Power outlets on the unit allow you to plug things appliances or an extension cord into it. Portable generators do tend to have lower price points.

What size generator fits my needs?

It depends on what items you want to power in an outage. When choosing the right type of generator, you’ll need to factor in kilowatts, fuel type, and the differences between portable and stationary systems.  You can also decide if you need a permanent solution like a standby generator or a portable generator that offers a more temporary solution.

Need help choosing a generator? Try this generator sizing tool.

How do I install a standby generator?

Generator installation is not a DIY project. Electricians are trained to install generators and perform generator maintenance service. To ensure that all wiring and equipment comply with local utility, state, and federal codes hire a professional. Mister Sparky electricians are happy to help you install the right type of generator for your home.

What kind of maintenance do generators require?

Both standby and portable generators require maintenance in order to perform and last. Like any power equipment tool, generators need maintenance and you can refer to the owner’s manual or a professional for help. For portable units, it is important to change the oil/filter, use the correct fuel/oil, and to periodically run the unit. For standby units, the same applies and more. Schedule maintenance with a certified technician to inspect wiring, the battery, belts, coolant, spark plugs, and other components.

What happens if I overload the generator?

Most generators have circuit breakers to protect engine damage from overloading. If the unit is overloaded, the circuit breaker will trip. It will stop the power flow to protect the generator, as well as any connected equipment. It unit will then let the breakers cool down. Then, you should be able to reset it. However, it’s important that you protect your unit from letting this happen, or it could cause damage.

How can I prevent circuit breaker trips in the first place?

Surge protectors can protect appliances from unwanted voltage levels. They can even keep your expensive electronics safe during storm-related power surges. Surge protectors are also a better option than fuses and circuit breakers, because they can be reset without being replaced when overloaded.

Mister Sparky Electricians are happy to help you with all your generator and surge protector needs. Contact us today to find the right type of backup generator before storm season hits.

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