When the power goes out for longer than a few hours, many people will start to panic and wish they had a backup plan. A generator will be the backbone for such a plan that will give security to your home or business. It is critical to understand what generators are, what they can do, and the many options they present. Let’s explore what you need to know.

What is a Standby Generator?

A standby generator is a backup source of power that turns on automatically when the main power is out. They are permanently installed outside a home or business. They are encased in a weather-proof enclosure to protect it from the elements. The power is derived from an independent fuel source such as natural gas or propane. This differs from a traditional portable generator that requires gasoline to run. This saves the trip to get gasoline and refilling as required with the portable models.

When a power failure occurs, the automatic transfer switch senses utility loss and sends a signal to the generator to start, after approx 10 seconds the automatic transfer switch relay contact will close and will immediately begin to supply power to your electrical system. Once the generator is operating, it will power critical systems and appliances, including cooling or heating systems, lights, refrigerators, sump pumps, and more.

Does My Home Need a Generator?

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management puts it bluntly: “Power outages can occur at any time. Some blackouts are short, but others can stretch for hours or days and pose significant health and safety risks.” Outages can happen from a variety of reasons from a storm knocking down a tree, an animal on the power line or your power company experienced problems with their grid. If it’s important for you to keep your heating and cooling system running or to keep your lights on during a power outage, you should consider installing a standby generator. No matter what, though, make sure that you think ahead and have a practical plan for how you will respond to power outages in your area.

Power Outages Happen Often in New Jersey

A technician fixing power lines in New Jersey.

 

What size generator do you need?

Average standby generators for residential to small commercial range from about 8-150 kilowatts and will fit almost any power need. So, it is extremely imperative to choose a generator that will meet your specific needs and lifestyle. For example, if you merely want to power a few key appliances in a large structure or everything in a smaller home, an 8- to 30-kilowatt generator might be a perfect fit for you. On the other hand, if you want to power everything in a large home, a bigger one will make more sense to give you what you need. It is always recommended that a proper load calculation is performed to determine the proper size generator for your needs.

There are a few other considerations to be aware of before picking the right size, including:

  • Location
  • Electrical codes
  • Adequate gas service and meter
  • Your local noise ordinances
  • Aesthetics

“Power outages can occur at any time. Some blackouts are short, but others can stretch for hours or days and pose significant health and safety risks.”

Is It Difficult to Install a Generator?

The installation typically takes two days to complete by our licensed electricians and plumbers. The installation does require permitting in advance and town inspection afterward. It is also very important to submit a gas load inquiry pre-installation to your utility company to confirm your existing gas service and meter can handle the additional generator gas load. Not to worry, Air Group will take care of these steps so that the installation is professionally coordinated and convenient.

To finish off the install, we make sure your generator will work when you need it the most and our technicians do a variety of start-up tests and will register your generator to ensure its warranty. Even once your generator is ready to go, we will be there for you. We offer a wide variety of maintenance plans that will keep your generator healthy, reliable, and cost-effective.

Air Group Installed Generator

A typical installation of a standby generator.

 

Will I Know How to Operate my Generator?

We install Generac generators, which are high quality and self-reliant with little interaction from you. Once installed, the generator works automatically — even if you aren’t home — by turning on if the power is interrupted, and switching off when power is restored. Our generators are warrantied, and with a maintenance plan from us, your generator will always be ready for you when needed for years to come.

What About a Generator for My Business?

Just like at your home, your business has critical systems and equipment that you want to keep working through a power outage. You will want a one that will power your phones and computer servers during storms and prevent costly interruption of business or displacement of your employees due to loss of power.

What if I Already Have a Generator?

If you have a generator and you’re not sure of its condition or reliability, call us (1-800-545-1020) or submit your information to schedule maintenance by one of our factory trained generator technicians. We will work with you to make sure that your generator has been properly installed and maintained. Our experts will bring you the peace of mind that comes with being ready for whatever the season brings.

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