Why would I want a permanent natural
of LP gas generator and not just use a portable gasoline type?
There are any number of reasons. Convenience. Peace of mind. Most
gasoline units burn about 1.6 gallons of gas every hour. They have
to be manually started and someone has to be at home when the power
outage occurs. Typically they have small generating capacity and can
only power a few basics, plus they’re pretty noisy and smelly.
The permanent natural gas powered standby units are pre-wired to operate
desired circuits and provide power automatically when there is an
interruption in service…whether you’re home or not.
What size generator unit should I buy?
That all depends on what electrical appliances, furnaces, air-conditioners,
water pumps, sump pumps, lights etc. that you want to have service
for when there is a power outage. Smaller 7kW, 12kW and 15kW units
will usually take care of the basics. 20kW, 25kW, 30kW and 40kW units
are usually installed to have the ability to power an entire house
or small business without any restrictions on usage.(Take a look at
our questionnaire on this web site and it will give you a good basic
idea of what you will need)
Are there permits required?
Yes there are…two to be exact, one electrical and one mechanical
(gas). The contractor is responsible for pulling those permits from
the local city or township. An inspection by that municipality is
required prior to final start up. Permit costs can range from $150-$350
depending on the specific community. Those costs are normally included
in an installation estimate. But make sure you ask your contractor
Do I have to do anything to my gas or
Not your electric meter, but quite possibly a larger gas meter may
be required. Natural gas powered generators do use a sizeable amount
of gas volume when they are operating, so it’s necessary to
have a gas meter with enough volume to operate the generator and the
other gas appliances in the house, i.e. furnace(s), stoves, cook tops,
clothes dryers, hot water heaters etc. The gas meter typically has
a plate on the front that lists its capacity in cubic feet/hour. One
cubic foot per hour of gas volume equals approximately 1,000 BTUs.
Total up the number of BTUs on the existing gas appliances and add
to it the gas usage of the desired generator unit(see specification
tables on this web site) and you can determine the required meter
capacity. The homeowner is responsible for contacting the gas company
to have a new meter installed if required.
What’s involved in a typical installation?
In most communities, the generator unit is required to be installed
on the back of the house, so three factors have to be considered.
1) location of the gas meter; 2) location of the electric meter; 3)
location of the house’s electrical panel(circuit breaker box).
Gas service to the generator is provided directly from the gas meter
through a pipe or flexible gas line to the generator. The simplicity
of this installation depends on where the gas meter is located on
the house and its distance to the location of the generator (generally
on the back of the house)…and whether the home is built on a
slab, has a crawl space , a finished basement or an unfinished basement.
The electrical hook-up requires what is called a transfer switch box
that is automatically disconnects the utility line and connects a
new power line to the generator. Depending on the installation, the
transfer box is either mounted near the electrical panel or next to
the electric meter. Electric conduit length and gas line length directly
affect the installation cost. Every home has its own unique characteristics.
Do these standby generators run occasionally
to stay ready?
Yes they do. Remember they’re basically an engine, a generator
set and a cooling system. There’s a battery, a trickle charger
and a block heater. The units are designed to be programmed to exercise
twelve to fifteen minutes once a week to keep all systems and fluids
ready if required. The exact time that the unit tests itself is determined
by the individual homeowner through the digital control on the generator
Does the generator require a regular
Yes…once a year is the minimal requirement. Like anything else
that uses an engine to power it, the oil and air filters needs to
be changed, flush coolant (if the unit is liquid-cooled) system, check
fan belts, check battery and cables, spark plugs, trickle charger,
block heater, fuses, fuel ports, ignition and exhaust system.