Power outages are something we all have to deal with from time to time. However, climate change is exacerbating the frequency of blackouts, thanks to disrupted weather patterns.
Here in Delaware and Maryland, the primary reasons for power outages are storms and bad weather.
According to reports, Maryland and Delaware can expect an uptick in extreme weather events. These include downpours, storms, flooding, and runoff.
One of the best ways to guard against power outages is to invest in a standby generator. Standby generators offer a host of advantages and are very easy to use.
If you’re wondering how one operates a whole house standby generator, don’t go anywhere. We’re about to dive into everything you need to know about running these gennies, as well as their benefits and who needs them.
Keep reading to get clued up on the most reliable standby power source money can buy.
Benefits of a Standby Generator
Standby generators, also known as whole house generators, hold a number of benefits for homeowners.
Whole house generators differ considerably from portable generators. For a start, they are more convenient, safer, and easier to run and maintain.
Whole House Electricity
One of the biggest benefits of standby generators is they provide electricity for your entire home. They route directly into your electrical panel and automatically kick-in to power your house when there is a blackout.
This means you can carry on as usual and seamlessly transition from power company electricity to the electricity provided by your standby generator.
With a whole house generator, you can continue to heat water, pump out your basement if needed, keep frozen and refrigerated food from perishing, etc.
Another benefit of standby generators is they are straightforward to use. They automatically kick in when your power goes out. You don’t have to drag them out, plug them in or top them off with fuel, as they are usually connected to your home’s natural gas or propane line.
Besides being easy to operate, whole house generators are also very safe. They are installed by experts and don’t require much in the way of hands-on operation.
With portable generators, you are responsible for hooking them up to your home. This increases the chance of electrical fires, electrical shocks, and more.
Another pro to standby generators is they are simple to maintain. Most generators need to be run regularly for a short period when not in use.
With a standby generator, this happens automatically on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis; this is known as often referred to as the “exercise cycle”. It’s important to note that during the exercise cycle the generator is not producing electricity.
Increased Re-Sale Value
With climate change making its effects known, many buyers are attracted to homes that feature backup power and solar systems.
A standby generator will increase your home’s value to the right buyer.
Estimates state that you can expect an ROI of 54 percent on a standby generator installation. What’s more, these types of features can also make your house easier to sell and lower your home owner’s insurance premiums.
Who Needs a Standby Generator?
Anyone who lives on the coast, experiences power cuts, or resides in an area where weather patterns are likely to become more extreme, is a great candidate for a standby generator.
What’s more, there are some people for whom steady electricity is an absolute must.
These include those on dialysis and other medical support systems. If you have small children or care for elderly family members, reliable electricity is also important.
Running a business? Then you might also want to consider a standby generator for your premises.
Lastly, if you work from home, investing in a backup power system can be crucial for making sure you meet deadlines.
Operation Tips for Standby Generators
As we mentioned earlier, standby generators are very easy to operate. Although they aren’t the cheapest type of generators, they make up for this with their ease of use and hands-off maintenance.
However, there are a few operation tips you should know about to get the most out of your standby generator.
Use the Auto Setting
If you’re in doubt as to what setting to put your standby generator on, choose auto. This is because the auto setting will automatically turn the generator on and off when needed.
This applies to power cuts and scheduled exercise cycles. As mentioned earlier, most generators need to run for a short period every so often if they’re not being used.
Setting your standby generator to auto will allow it to automatically turn on for the recommended time after a certain period of non-use.
Keep Your Standby Generator Free From Debris
Standby generators are usually installed outside, next to your home, similar to an HVAC unit.
Over time, leaves and debris can build up around them. To ensure your standby generator runs efficiently, make it a point to clear away any leaves or other debris from its louvers or shell. This will enhance airflow and reduce the chance of overheating or other operating issues.
During a winter nor’easter snow may accumulate around the generator and pose the same risk of overheating. Be sure to keep at least 18″ of clearance around all sides of the generator.
Don’t Use Your Standby Generator More Than You Have To
Standby generators are easy and convenient to use. However, their running costs are higher than electricity from the grid.
Because of this, it’s best to use them only when needed and not in place of permanent power sources.
What’s more, using your standby generator only when needed will also prolong its lifespan. Most standby generators last for anywhere between 700 and 1,500 hours of use.
The more you use your standby generator, the quicker you’ll need to replace it.
From our experience generators that sit for a long period of time without being used and are then called upon to run, tend to have more issues with longevity. Generators that are active by either automatic operation or manual interaction by a trained technician tend to have a greater lifespan.
Schedule Annual Services
To guarantee that your standby generator stays in good working order, ensure that you schedule annual services for it.
Regular servicing will keep your standby generator in tiptop running condition, ready for use when you need it. During the annual service a trained technician should review the history and determine if they should simulate a power outage to put the generator under a load. This is good exercise for the generator (alternator). If you experience a lot of power outages this is not as important.
Do You Want to Protect Your Home From Power Outages?
As climate change accelerates and extreme weather events increase, unavoidable power outages are becoming more common.
Installing a standby generator ensures your home has continual access to reliable power. Although standby generators are not the most used type of generator, they are the safest and most convenient option.
Not only are they easy to operate and simple to maintain—but they also keep your whole house running—something that most portable generators aren’t capable of.
Are you thinking of investing in a standby generator for your home or business? Here at All American Electric, we only supply the best to our customers. We distribute, install, and service USA-made Generac generators which are renowned for their quality and reliability.
Contact us for a free quote today.