Wow. What a Winter it’s been so far here in Nova Scotia – and we haven’t even seen any snow yet!! My power is out right now due to high winds and rain, just as it was on Christmas Day just a couple of short weeks ago. With our changing climate and oddball weather here lately, it may be time to invest in a GENERATOR. These great devices allow you to power your home when the local utility lets you down. (Which happens often in my neighborhood, at any rate.)
With each outage, I notice more and more generators popping up at the homes around me. Some are just sitting on front steps with a crude wire running into the front door, whereas others are hooked right into the home’s electrical system, stored in their own little shed, and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Today we’ll be discussing generators in general, and the advantages to hooking them up to your home fuse panel. Here at Flinn Electric, we specialize in wiring in generators so that it’s dead easy to use them when it goes suddenly cold and dark in your house.
If you are considering a generator for your home, the first thing you need to figure out is how many Watts you’ll need. Homeowners can often power most household appliances using between 3000 and 6500 watts. If your home has a smaller furnace and city water, you can generally expect that 3000-5000 watts will cover your needs. If you have a larger furnace and/or a well pump, you will likely need a 5000 to 6500 watt generator.
Once you’ve determined the size of your generator, it’s time to purchase one, and get it wired up! There are several ways to wire the generator into your hom, but only a few that are legal and safe. Things like double-male plugs jacked into your outlets are illegal, a fire hazard, and can cause lethal shocks to your or your power company linesman. Never go that route.
Instead it’s best to find an expert, and have the home wired correctly. Here in Canada, your options are as follows: an automatic transfer switch, a manual transfer sub panel or a breaker interlock. Each has varying degrees of complexity, benefits and expense. Here’s the breakdown of each:
Automatic transfer switches will sense a power loss, start your standby generator and automatically move your load to the generator. These are awesome – but the most expensive option, requiring a full time dedicated standby generator.
Manual transfer sub panel switches are also a good option. They are less expensive than the automatic transfer switches and can be used with a portable generator – though they typically only cover a few breakers.
Breaker Interlock is the final option. It is National Electric Code compliant and is the least expensive and most flexible option. In this setup you use a breaker to energize your existing breaker box. Switching it on is easy and safe.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to be safe and keep it legal. We’d be happy to assist in any way, so please do give us a call, drop us an email, or reach out on social media today!