Can My Home Benefit From A Backup Generator?

21 July 2020
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Can My Home Benefit From A Backup Generator?

Generally, when we think of homes that would use generators we think of rural homes or homes that are exposed to major weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes. But, according to Rosie Certified, Local Kohler Dealer Fox Valley Electric and Andrew Van Noy of Kohler, people in the southwest are inquiring about home and small business backup generators at a higher rate than they have ever seen before.

Why Would I Need A Generator?

Generators have always been popular in smaller rural communities, second homes in the mountains and with properties that are off the grid. But, with people working from home during the pandemic, we are more dependent on our homes than in the recent past. Homeowners are more inclined to ponder what would happen if the electricity went out in their home in the summer due to the wind and rain that monsoon storms and subsequent down utility lines. Monsoon storms are a yearly occurrence that leave people asking what they can do to make sure their power supply is not interrupted.

Rosie on the House Generator1

When electricity is interrupted it can be more than inconvenient. There can be sudden loss of air conditioning and cold storage with freezers and refrigerators. When the power turns off and on, there is the potential of damage to their electronic equipment and data stored on computers.

The solution to these concerns can be found by adding a dependable, alternate source of power. 'Dual energy homes have a distinct advantage,' says Rosie, 'Having that backup energy source can be a life saver in the event of a microburst, brushfire, traffic accident or flooding that knocks out the power to your home or the power grid to your community.

More than half of major U.S. power outages from 2000 to 2016 were caused by natural hazards like hurricanes, heat waves and wildfires, according to research reported July 2018 in Reliability Engineering & System Safety. We're fortunate in Arizona that these natural hazards are primarily seasonal sandstorms and wildfires. In light of what other hazards people have to deal with in other parts of the country, we have it pretty good here. But it does happen! In fact, APS reports that as of 2015 the average is just under one power outage per customer per year for a variety of reasons. Hopefully not during the summer months!

How Do Generators Work?

  • Kohler units come with control logic that constantly senses the flow of commercial power from the utility company. When the electricity ceases to come from the power company, the Kohler system automatically switches to generator power and restores the power in 10 seconds or LESS. When the power is restored there is a 15-minute delay before the generator turns off and the switch is reset, the entire operation is seamless and automatic.
  • Kohler's air-cooled units run on natural gas or propane. If a home does not have natural gas from a provider, propane would need to be made available on the property. This can be accomplished by installing a propane tank. A permit is required and there are regulations to be considered from your local governing bodies, as well as from HOA's. Regulations vary and can include limiting the size and placement of a propane tank. Local Kohler Dealer Fox Valley Electric can include all of this and provide a complete turnkey installation.

Can I Install A Generator Myself?

Rosie on the House Connected Generator

To maintain the integrity of the warranty, Kohler's generators must be installed by a licensed electrician. Van Noy tells us that if the electrician is not an authorized dealer than Kohler sends someone out, after installation, with a checklist to ensure that the generator was installed properly.

Kohler Dealer/Installer, Fox Valley Electric is a one stop shop for installing a generator at your home. They take care of everything from guiding a homeowner in the size of generator that is needed to do the job, to installation and regular maintenance. They can also service repairs including any very unlikely warranty issues.

On their first visit to your home, Fox Valley Electric will want to know what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want a whole house solution so everything continues seamlessly, or do you want to just keep the major items like AC, lights and refrigerator purring along? Can you get by without internet, electric stove top, and microwave for a short season while electricity is restored? All of these questions, along with an assessment of your home, will help to ensure that you get the generator that will do the job you are asking it to do.

Kohler generators for residential use range from 8kw to 150kw. 8kw is enough to power an AC but, the most common units requested for homes are the 14kw and 20kw. Both come with a 200-amp auto transfer switch and a 5-year, 2,000-hour warranty.

What Kind of Maintenance Do Generators Require?

Kohler generators are programmed to perform a weekly check. This ensures that they will be ready when there is a need, and with Kohler's Oncue Plus software you (and your Dealer) can see from anywhere in the world the status of your generator and its current health. This provides a layer of assurance that your home will run with uninterrupted power at all times.

What About Fuel Consumption?

Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to the question about fuel consumption; it varies from generator to generator based on engine model. I did pull the operation requirements from one of our most popular models, the 14RCA, to give you an idea.

Rosie on the House Generator Fuel Consumption Chart

Based on this chart, at 100% load, the generator would consume approximately 54 gallons of LP over a 24hr period.

Is A Surge Protector Recommended to Manage the Power When The Source Switches?

As far as surge suppression goes, the transfer and retransfer between Utility and Generator is not instantaneous and has not been known to cause power surges in most applications, to my knowledge. That being said, Kohler does offer surge protection devices to protect against the effects of lightning strikes and power surges.

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Sponsored by: Fox Valley Electric

FVE PalmsSince 2007, Fox Valley Electric has provided quality electrical construction, service and maintenance to their customers in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Their electricians can install anything from new security lighting to a whole-home generator that will keep appliances working during a power outage.

 

Photo Credits:

  • Shutterstock
  • Fox Valley Electric

 

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