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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 about that.

Do I have to do anything to my gas or electric meters?
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 unit.

Does the generator require a regular servicing program?
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.

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