(Video) Back Up Generator for Your Home - September 10th 2015
Q: With the recent storm and power outages we are considering a generator in case this type of weather continues through the winter months. What do you suggest?
A: A home generator can be useful for backup electricity anywhere there are frequent power outages. There are a few important items to consider when choosing a generator since they can also be very dangerous if they are not installed or operated properly. Generators range in size, type and price. Typically, the more power required the more costly they are. Smaller, portable generators are great for powering the essentials like the refrigerator and microwave while a permanent standby system can power everything in your home. Typically, lower power and portable units use gasoline/ diesel, whereas larger units, especially permanent installations, will likely use propane or natural gas.
A major question for homeowners considering a backup generator is choosing between gasoline/diesel or propane as well as one of the more convenient fuels, “natural gas.” Each source has its own pros and cons but the decision will depend on what a home already has installed. If you live in an area where natural gas is available this would be the best for you since it would be the most convenient and requires less maintenance. For homes without natural gas propane is a good alternative. Both natural gas and propane tend to last longer and burn cleaner than their gasoline counterparts. Gasoline/diesel generators are by far the most common type since fuel is readily available but they require frequent maintenance and storage of gasoline/ diesel which has a relatively short shelf life.
Please note: Permanent emergency back up generators with proper transfer switches are available from major electrician services.
Installation of a generator is a job for the experts. All portable or fixed generators must be connected to the residential grid using a proper CSA-approved transfer switch installed by a registered certified electrician. An electrical permit is required for the installation. Never connect a backup power system without a transfer switch that disconnects your home from the municipal power supply. This is to protect electric utility field crews from being electrocuted by your home power system when working on municipal lines.
It is very important to protect against CO poisoning:
The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. NEVER use a portable generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas. Be sure the generator isn't positioned outside an open window, which can allow fumes into the home.
Install battery-operated CO alarms in your home, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Here is a video of Shell, maintaining a carbon monoxide detector...