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What Kind Of Generator Do I Need?

By Expert Author: tuning tuning

Generator Installation Part 1:

Before purchasing and installing a generator, certain factors need to be considered. Although there are several types of generators with multiple features to choose from, your most important consideration is this: How much generator power does my budget allow me to have? Once you have established your budget, you can then look at sizes, types, and features and find the one that is right for your situation, whether at home or in the work place.
Do you need a whole house generator, commercial backup generator or can you get the job done with a portable generator?

Portable Generators

Portable generators are made by such well known brands as Generac, Briggs & Stratton, Kohler, and others. They are designed to provide short-term power at, for instance, a building site or home but are not the ideal if you need continuous power for a long period of time. *The main safety factor to consider if you are hooking a portable generator to your home is to get the right kind of interconnection device to insure a safe connection to your home. In most cases you should have a manual Generator Transfer Switch professionally installed to avoid serious electrical problems if the power comes back on when you are running the generator.
(1) If there is a power outage and your generator is powering your home, but you HAVE NOT disconnected the power from your meter, electricity will be fed back into the power lines outside your home. You could electrocute a repairman, which wouldn't be worth the energy and time you saved by connecting your generator properly.
(2) If your power is back feeding, and the power lines are up and your electric company is back online, your new, expensive generator and your circuit breaker panel could be both destroyed because you will be feeding power INTO and not OUT OF the generator.

Whole-House Generator - Commercial backup generators:

This type of generator is statiGeneraconary and is designed to provide the kind of electricity to your home or business those comes from the power companies, and are designed to run for extended periods of time. Installed with an automatic transfer switch, this generator will start automatically when you experience a power outage.
Whole-House Generators and Commercial Generators both are powered by one of these types of fuel: Natural Gas, Propane, or Diesel fuel.

While you may incur charges from your gas company if you have to upgrade your gas meter, this fuel has the advantage of being readily available and won't run out of fuel.

Propane power gives an added power boost when compared to natural gas, but the catch here is that you must have one or more propane tanks, and they will have to be refilled. This could lead to your running out of fuel and therefore, out of electricity.

What type of generator should I invest in?

Diesel or Gaseous (liquid propane/natural gas)
The equipment cost is about the same when factoring in the fuel tank cost and installation required for a gaseous unit.
Diesel units are self contained and do not need an extra tank.
Diesel burns about 75% less fuel then a gaseous generator.
Gaseous has no shelf life for fuel compared to diesel which has a 2 year shelf life.
Natural Gas generators are meter based (pay as you go) fuel.
LP and Diesel fuel is paid for in bulk deliveries.
Diesel fuel is more reliable and readily available than LP. (Liquid Propane).
Diesel generators are easier to maintain than gaseous generators.
Call CFPS and we will guide you on the best application for your needs. 407-399-6069

Although it is not inexpensive, it is best to purchase a whole-house generator if you are in an area with frequent power outages or your home business may depend on having constant power.

Most quality Backup Generators with typical usage and proper generator maintenance can provide in excess of 30 years of service. This is based on approximately 3,000 hours of use or the following Example: Weekly exercise time (11 hours per year) plus four 20 hr. outages (80 hrs/year) equals 91 hours of operation per year OR over 30 years.

If you have decided to purchase a whole-house generator or a commercial backup generator, the next factor to consider is the size you will need. Size will depend on what you consider to be essential. What things in your home or business do you really need to operate at all times? Do you have a well pump? A septic tank pump? Do you need heating or cooling to stay on? How many refrigerators and freezers do you own and how much perishable food do you have stored in each? How about medical equipment, or alarm systems, or fish tanks?
You need to decide what is essential for you, your business, family, and your lifestyle. Before purchasing, make two lists; one for NEEDS, and the other for WANTS. Sometimes it is tempting to buy the biggest generator you can afford, but that is not always cost-effective. For example, if a 12KVa generator does all that you want while working at 80% of capacity, an 18KVa model operating at around 50% can cost more to run per hour on top of the higher price you will have paid for the larger unit.

For best generator value and production, purchase a unit that will typically run at 80 - 85% of thederated capacity* of the generator.

A generator's capacity can be derated* for several reasons:
Type of fuel - Propane offers more power than natural gas
Altitude - your generator's engine is not as efficient at higher altitudes
Temperature - engines lose efficiency in higher temperatures

You can let a computer do these calculations for you if you have an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) which let you monitor the load on your generator and turn off specific loads when nearing capacity. This will guard against overloads and save you the bother of having to turn off several nonessential items in the home, and trying to reset the circuit breaker inside the generator. This would not be a good thing during either a hurricane or a blizzard.

Automatic transfer switches are fully automatic. When power goes out, the ATS starts the generator, disconnects the power companies electrical feed, and connects the generator to your home or business. When power is restored, it reverses the process. Simple and there are no electrocutions, circuit panel or generator destruction. Some ATS's, known as “load-shedding ATS's, can temporarily disable high current loads such as dishwashers, washing machines air conditioners, etc. to make power available for other transient loads. In this way a smaller, more economical generator can provide power to a variety or loads without overloading your generator.

Now that you have decided how much to spend, what things are essential and non essential and how NOT to install your generator, you need to think about where your generator should be installed.
At Central Florida Power Systems we have the experience and the knowledge to help you pick the best backup power generator to meet your needs and the skills for any generator installation.

•Home backup generator installation Orlando and surrounding areas
•Commercial backup generator installation Orlando and surrounding areas
•Manual and automatic transfer switch installation
•Backup generator maintenance contracts to keep your generator ready at all times and help it last longer.
*Derating (or de-rating or de-tuning) is the operation of a machine at less than its rated maximum power in order to prolong its life. The term is commonly applied to electrical and electronic devices and to internal combustion engines. Reference: Wikipedia

About the Author:
David Shaver is one of Central Florida's oldest and most experienced generator dealers with over 30 years of experience. Central Florida Power Systems has kept up to all the technology changes and David likes to keep the public and his clients up to date. David also has been a certified Generac dealer for many years.

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