How to Create a Backup Generator System For Your Home
When the power goes out in your home, having a backup generator system ensures that your most essential appliances continue to run. This is especially important for those who rely on powered medical equipment, or want to maintain a sense of normalcy for their family during outages. A home backup generator system supplies electricity when your main grid power is switched off, like during a storm or prolonged power outages.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be an electrical or mechanical genius to get a backup generator system up and running. You just need to research the basics of generator selection and installation, and you’ll be on your way to a reliable backup generator that keeps the lights on.
Research Generator Options and Buy Supplies
Choosing a generator depends on the size of your home and the power capabilities you’ll need for your appliances. Here are some tips for selecting and buying the right generator for your home:
- Features: Look for features like fuel shutoff, digital displays, automatic start and speed control.
- Noise level: Low-noise generators are more pleasant for your neighbors.
- Transfer switch: This ensures safe and automatic switching between generator and main utility power.
- Diagnostic tools: Digital power tools provide an accurate analysis of the power your system can support.
- Guarding: A generator enclosure or guard keeps debris or rain away from the engine.
You’ll also need to purchase inlet fuel lines, cables, plugs, tools and other supplies. You’ll likely need to rent special tools that electricians use, such as hoes or specialty clamps.
Install Your Generator
Whether you DIY or hire an electrician, installing your generator can be quite involved. All electric and fuel codes need to be adhered to, just as with any other electrical installation. Here are some guidelines for installation:
- Read the manual: Before doing anything else, be sure to thoroughly read the manual for your chosen model.
- Check for obstructions: Ensure there are no objects blocking the intake, exhaust or cooling systems.
- Locate the fuel inlet: Place it close to the fuel source and make sure it can be seen and regulated easily.
- Install the kit: Install the transfer switch, fuel lines and cables that came with the generator.
- Test the system: Test the generator connection and transfer switches to make sure they are working correctly.
Depending on the size and complexity of your generator system, installation can take several days. You may want to consider hiring a licensed electrician to save time and headaches.
Setup Generator Maintenance
Your generator system needs regular maintenance in order to stay in optimal condition. This will ensure that it starts reliably and runs smoothly during power outages. The manufacturer’s manual should contain details about how often the generator will need to be serviced, and what replacement parts are necessary.
- Calibrate the generator: Follow the manual’s instructions for this process.
- Replace filters and fluids: Oils and fuel filters should be replaced periodically. This helps to remove contaminants and keep the generator running efficiently.
- Test the generator regularly: To confirm that it is ready to operate when needed.
- Check switches: Ensure all the switches and breakers are working properly.
- Conduct visual inspections: Look for noise, smoke, vibration and unusual smells.
Creating and maintaining your own home backup generator system can save you money and provide invaluable peace of mind. Whether you’re comfortable doing the work yourself or would prefer to hire a specialist, you can rest assured that you can always count on the backup generator system to be there when you need it.