You’ve decided it’s time to purchase a generator; as a resident of Southwest Florida, land of the hurricanes, it’s a smart thing to have on hand. You’ll be delighted when you’re charging your phone, cooking dinner, and doing a load of laundry while the rest of your block is in the dark after the next storm makes landfall.
Perhaps you’re considering purchasing a generator for your business; you don’t want to lose business because the lights are out for days after a serious storm.
Regardless of your reasons, you’ve got a lot of to think about before you buy a generator. Sure, you might have a brand that you prefer, and you’ve certainly got a budget you need to stick to, but beyond that? What do you need to consider before buying a generator for your home or business?
How much power do you need for your home or business? Well, that depends on what you hope to do. Do you plan to keep the whole building up and running for the whole outage, or do you just intend to simply power up “emergency loads,” or the bare minimum required? You should also consider factors such as the demands during the peak season. Southwest Florida residents know just how steamy it gets in the summertime, so you should be sure that your generator can handle your air conditioning needs. Determine the amount of amperage your electrical service requires, and go from there.
There are three types of fuel that are most common for standby generators: natural gas, diesel, and propane. Gas is easily acquired but it’s got a short shelf life. Diesel vs. propane comes down to the cost, more often than not, and the cost depends on the size of generator that your building requires. You also need to think about the availability of the fuel as well as the requirements of your city.
Where do you plan to put your generator? Well, you’re going to want to put it where you can get to it with ease for maintenance and repair purposes. Also, it should be up high enough to avoid rising water. Planning to put it outside? Keep it far enough away from the building’s entrances and exits as well as well as any combustible materials. Is indoors the better spot for your generator? Be sure to look at the requirements for ventilation, fuel, and exhaust ducting as well as the proximity of the generator to combustibles. (HInt: don’t put your generator near combustibles.) You should put it near to the fuel supply and the transfer switch for the sake of convenience.
If you’re thinking about installing your own generator, think again. Regardless of how handy you might be,a licensed electrician should always be involved in the installation of a generator, and sometimes you might need to bring a plumber on board. Be sure that the electrician you choose has a lot of experience installing generators; if you’re looking for a reputable electrician in Southwest Florida to assist you with the installation of a standby generator system, we can help.
Watt? You don’t know what the voltage for your generator should be? Again, a licensed electrician can help you figure out if you’re looking for something in the neighborhood of 120/240 volts single phase, 120/208 volts three phase, or even 277/480 volts three phase. If you don’t know, ask a pro.
Naturally, with an expensive (and complex) piece of equipment like a generator, you expect it to be warrantied. Typically, residential generators come with warranties that range between two to five years, but an industrial model might only have a warranty that covers one to two years. You could potentially purchase an upgrade, but these are important questions to ask before you make the purchase.
If you want to rest easy knowing that your generator will fire up as soon as you need it, it’s vital that you take care to maintain it. You can do it yourself, but if you’re more comfortable leaving it to the professionals, Southwest Florida Electric will gladly service your generator regularly to ensure that it’s ready to run at the first sign of trouble.
If you’re seeking a high-quality generator at a price that suits your budget, as well as a professional licensed electrician to install and maintain it, contact us today!