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Electric Generators


 

Generators

  • Fully automatic, stand-by generators - when the power goes out, these automatically step in to give power.
    • We sell and install these for reliable operation
    • We maintain and service them.
      This is very important to be keep them reliable. (Imagine if you didn't maintain your car or furnace.) We keep scheduled maintenance logs and keep you informed. You don't need to be home for us to do this.
      (Customers often call us to do the maintenance even though someone else installed them.)
  • Portable, manual generaotrs - when needed, you connect them with a special cord and run the important items in the house.


If the power goes out, do you worry about your heat, sump pump, water and other needs?  A generator can provide power for your house when you need it.  Portable generators can help parts of a house with temporary extension cords, but the cords don't help with the furnace or well pumps.  Fully automatic generators can do part or all of a house.Virtually all generators have an electric start with a pull-cord back-up.  But you have to consider a few elements when deciding what you want:

  1. What are the important items to run?  We find the vital circuits are for  sump pumps, well pumps, furnaces, refrigerators, lights. (Click here to download a helpful list/calculator.)

  2. Manual or Automatic-standby? Standby generator maintenance info  

    • Portable, manual generators are simpler and less expensive.  They typically have a key-start and backup pull-cord.  You either connect cords and/or use a transfer switch device to power selected circuits.  This approach can cost between $2000 and $ 5000 depending on size, style and site requirements.  (See our instructions sheets below)

      • Size:  7500 watts (running, peak/surge around 8000 watts) is a good comfortable size.  5000 watts will do, but as you go lower, it will not be able to power as much, and will work harder.

      • Stationary, or on wheels?  In most cases, people have the generator stored in the garage and wheel it into place when they need it.  Sometimes, it is permanently secured.

      • Fuel Type:  The basic manual generators use normal unleaded fuel.  For these, you have to refill them occasionally just like a lawn mower.  If your house has natural gas, you can have a permanently installed automatice generator with natural gas feeding it.

      • Connecting power to the house: we have different ways to connect your generator to your house.  Our prefered, and less expensive way connects you generator to the entire electrical system. No tangle of extension cords, no tripping hazards.    Your furnace, sump pump, refrigerator, lights, etc. will be connected to the generator with just one cord.
      • We can even make your furnace use your basic 'plug-in' generator. 
    • Automatic generators detect power outages and start themselves within about 30 seconds.   Power is restored to the house and life goes on.  The system keeps track of the utility power. When it is back on, your house is reconnected to the utility company again and the generator goes through it's shut-down procedure.
      They do weekly self-tests to sure they're ready for the next power failure.  This option can cost between $10,000 and $20,000 and more depending on the size of the generator, the layout of your house's power and gas utilties and the terrrain.  Some plumbing of natural gas or propane will be involved


Helpful Hint Don't you wish there was an easy-to-follow instructions for connecting to your portable generator.  We have written our own step-by-step  instruction sheet.  The aim was simplicity and understanding.  

We have similar but different instructions for your scenario: 

Panel Interlock device

Cutler Hammer transfer switch 

GenTrans transfer switch.

 

 

Generator Type

Price Range (varies with size and equipment
Manual or Automatic
Appliances with Plugs (refrigerator, sump pump, microwave oven
(Direct-wired 120 and 240 volt)
Furnace, Well pump,
Fuel type
Portable
Notes / Comments

Simple, portable generator (electric or pull-start)  (without other accessories)

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$500 -$1500
Manual
Yes
No
Gasoline
Yes
Simple but limited.  With extension cords, you can only power plug-in appliances, such as: 
  • sump pump and/or ejector pump

  • lamps

  • refrigerator 

  • (and with a modification, a furnace)

Portable generator
(electric or pull-start)  with Transfer Switch or Breaker-Interlock (and special twist-lock outlet and cord)
$3500 - $6000
Manual
Yes
Yes
Gasoline or Diesel
Yes
 

A typical transfer switch panel can power 8-12 circuits in the house, including:

  • sump pump and/or ejector pump

  • furnaces (more than one)

  • well pump

  • ceiling lights

  • built-in refrigerators and freezers


==> New:  We have a full panel power option that allows you to use different circuits at different times (so you don't overload the generator).

==> We can also add a power consumption meter to monitor your power usage.

Fully Automatic Generator 

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$11,000 - $19,000 + (Many factors affect the cost: location of electric panel, gas meter, terrain, house layout.  Also plumbing and permit costs. Note that larger units do not cost much more than smaller units.) Automatic
(Yes)
Yes
Natural gas (piped) or Propane
No
Includes:
  • Generator with smart controls

  • Disconnect/transfer switch (automatically starts generator and switches to the generator when utility power is out-within 15-30 seconds).

  • Auto-start on power outage;

  • Weekly self-testing;

  • Mounting pad, enclosure, battery, mounting pad, electrical connections. 
    Warranty:  4 years limited warranty based on usage from recorded data.  (Similar to a vehicle warranty for time and mileage.)

  • Service contracts available as well to ensure readiness.