When you include labor and materials in your local area, the cost of a residential generator installation can vary based on the backup unit’s size and complexity. For a complete installation, expect to pay a couple of thousand dollars to several thousand dollars.
Emergency preparedness, natural disasters, and random power outages are among the heightened topics American homeowners are giving more consideration each year. The goal is to protect and fortify the home and its contents in any way possible. Many homes today are connected to the electrical grid, so homeowners need to consider how they can generate electricity should the power go out to prevent consequential damages, downtime, inconveniences, and a host of other problems.
When looking at a generator installation for home, it should be properly placed and connected by a qualified contractor. This is the best way to ensure a safe and proper installation.
Step-by-Step Process of a Residential Generator Installation
Depending on the details and technicalities of the job, a residential generator installation typically takes two to three days. Steps involved in the process are:
- Evaluation of the site and generator selection. Your home will be assessed by a qualified electrician or generator installer who will recommend the right size generator for your needs. The proposed location for the generator will also be evaluated for safety and code compliance.
- Installation of concrete pads. Generators must be placed on level, stable surfaces. If you want to use gravel or another material, then a concrete pad would be the best option.
- Installation of fuel lines. Your generator will need a fuel line from the gas supply if it is gas-powered. In order for your generator to run on propane, you must install and connect a propane tank.
- Wiring for electrical systems. Your home’s electrical system will be connected to the generator by an electrician. You can do this by installing a transfer switch that automatically switches your home’s power supply from the grid to the generator when the power goes out.
- Testing and installation of generators. The generator will be installed in its final location and tested to ensure it is working properly once it has been connected to the fuel line and electrical system.
It’s important to remember that a permit is required before having a home generator installed. Additionally, excavation and/or demolition may be required during installation. As part of the installation process, your home’s electrical service may need to be disconnected.
Connectivity, Technical Issues, Inspection, and More
Automatic transfer switches start standby generators when a power outage is detected — something you should be educated about during your residential generator installation process. When your switch is configured correctly, your power may be transferred to a separate breaker panel that only powers the circuits you chose.
Your generator needs to be connected to the natural gas line or propane tank if you are using natural gas or liquid propane gas. Ensure you have the correct valves for the type of gas you’re using for your home generator installation. It might be dangerous to save a few dollars on installation costs here.
A generator installation for home may require a building permit and city inspection, depending on your locality. Don’t forget to take into account any restrictions that your homeowner’s association may have.
If you are installing a generator in your home, you should consider how close the exhaust is to windows or other entries to your home, depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines. When you install a generator yourself, that’s a lot of work. Doing the job incorrectly could result in electrocution, gas leaks, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Gas or propane stored in a large tank can be used to power a standby whole-house generator. Because of this, you will be able to run them for much longer, providing you with a reliable power source for much longer without having to worry about keeping a portable generator running. During power outages, an ideal home backup generator will provide enough electricity to operate your heating and air conditioning systems, which will provide a comfortable environment and prevent mold or frozen pipes from causing damage.
Placement and Testing of Your Residential Generator Installation
The time and money you have invested in your residential generator installation are substantial at this point. The generator should be started after electricity has been connected, and all components should be tested and verified to ensure proper operation.
As soon as the generator system has been tested and certified, your installer will demonstrate its operation and provide you with the owner’s manual and any other documentation you may need. During the operation, your specialist will explain all aspects to you and answer any questions you may have.
The municipal electrical inspection office will inspect your generator system once it has been tested and certified by your installation contractor. All home inspections must be conducted with the homeowner present. You will be advised of the availability of the electrical inspector by your specialist, but most inspection departments require direct contact with the homeowner to set up specific appointments.
The national electrical and gas codes are interpreted differently by each inspector; therefore, your inspector may request additional work. As part of the process of ensuring your generator will operate safely, these requests are not uncommon. Installing your generator correctly is the top priority for everyone involved to avoid disasters such as electrocution, fire, or other liabilities. Installation contractors will adjust their schedule if additional work is required by the inspector.
Most homeowners will never have to install a standby generator because it is one of the more complex residential projects they will ever undertake. When having a home generator installed, make sure you choose a licensed contractor that offers comprehensive service beyond the installation process for this project. By making wise choices throughout this complicated process, you can either ensure your family’s security and protection or leave them in the dark.
Around-the-Clock Remote Monitoring
Many home standby generators today come with a helpful piece of technology. An application or program that connects your unit to the internet. This allows you to monitor vital information from your smartphone. Another part of the educational process during residential generator installation. Find out how your standby generator is performing in real time and over the duration of time.
From your smartphone, tablet, or computer, you can access information such as the current operating status, maintenance schedule, and much more. By connecting your generator, remote technicians can also troubleshoot or diagnose issues before they become a problem.
Any generator system owner who wants complete confidence in their generator system should invest in all of these features. Following the installation, testing, and passing of all inspections on your generator installation for home, you can rely on it to weather storms for years to come.
After Your Residential Generator Installation, Maintenance is Key
Keep in mind: You’ll need to service and maintain your unit regularly to make sure it’s working properly after your residential generator installation is complete. Maintaining your home generator regularly is crucial to keeping it in good working order. Schedule periodic inspections and servicing as part of your maintenance schedule. A fuel level check, an oil level check, and a battery test are all part of this process.
Make sure the generator is free of damage and leaks and that all connections are tight. Maintain proper airflow by cleaning or replacing air filters as needed. For specific maintenance requirements and recommended service intervals, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines. To ensure thorough maintenance, consider hiring a professional generator technician.
It’s possible for home generators to experience some common problems, even with proper maintenance. Troubleshooting these problems is essential to minimizing downtime. Start-up difficulties, engine misfires, and power delivery issues are some of the most common issues.
Make sure the fuel supply is working properly by checking the fuel tank filters for clogs and low levels of fuel itself. Wires that are loose or corroded should be inspected for electrical connections. You may need to seek assistance from a qualified generator technician if troubleshooting the issue becomes difficult. In order to restore your generator’s functionality efficiently, you may find it helpful to keep a troubleshooting guide handy.
Protecting Your Investment
After a professional installs your home generator, there’s still work to do. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy and helps maximize fuel efficiency and extend the life of your investment:
- Make sure your generator is maintained regularly, including cleaning the filters and spark plugs.
- Debris should not be allowed to accumulate on the generator.
- Protect your generator from the elements by investing in a cover or enclosure.
- When not in use, keep the generator in a safe and dry place.
- Make sure that your fuel is of high quality and is stored properly so that it burns efficiently.
- Reduce emissions and conserve fuel by only using the generator when necessary.
- Maintain your equipment according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Ensure proper lubrication by checking and changing the oil regularly.
- Don’t overload your generator – match your appliances’ power needs.
- Invest in a fuel-efficient inverter generator.
W. Danley Electrical
At W. Danley Electrical, we assist you throughout the entire process. This includes answering questions to helping you prepare for the repair, maintenance, or the residential generator installation process. We also help obtain permits, inspections, and much more. We help you optimize and fine-tune your situation so you get the most out of your investment, as well as determine the correct generator size.
Learn more about generator installation or contact us today.