Blog posts of '2021' 'November'

Should You Buy A Generator For Your Home?

Should you buy a standby generator for your home? Well, the answer to that is “it depends”. To some extent it may be a matter of choice. For instance, for some people, suffering from a blackout on one occasion may be sufficient reason to get a generator.

However, if you live in an area where power outages are frequent (i.e., more than three a year) or they last for several hours, then investing in a standby generator is more a matter of necessity rather than simple convenience.

Generators are available in a range of different sizes and can be powered by diesel, propane, or LPG. Whether diesel generators will be available for much longer in the UK remains to be seen. One option is to buy a generator that is big enough to power the whole of your home, and if you can afford it you might want to do just that. However, another option, which is more affordable, is to buy one that powers your most essential electric circuits. You would need an experienced electrician to calculate the anticipated electrical loads of your home in order that he could recommend the correct size.

You will also need a transfer switch to transfer the power supply from the mains to the generator and back again when the mains power is restored. This can either be a manual transfer switch or an automatic one.

The disadvantage of a manual transfer switch is that someone has to be on the premises in order to transfer from one to the other. It rather depends on what sort of equipment you need to power. If there is always someone at home, it is not so much of an issue, but if you need to be able to switch to the generator instantly at any time, then an automatic transfer switch is the answer.

This will detect the fact that the mains supply has gone down and send a signal to the generator to start up. When the generator has started it sends a signal back to the automatic transfer switch which will then switch over to the generator. When the power is restored, the automatic transfer switch will transfer back to the mains and switch the generator off.

Certainly, an automatic transfer switch is more expensive to install than a manual one, but once you have it, you have no worries.

Why An Automatic Changeover Switch Is Best For Use With Your Generator

More people today are investing in a standby generator for their homes because of the possibility of power cuts. If you live out in the sticks somewhere, you may find that you have power outages on a regular basis, and this can range from being a minor inconvenience to something far more serious, depending upon what sort of equipment you have and use that requires electric power.

For instance, you might have a family member dependent upon a power wheelchair, a ventilator, or communication devices that rely upon electric power, so if you are unable to charge them it can be a serious issue. OK, if the power goes down for a couple of hours it may not be too serious a matter, but if it goes down for a day or even more, then it is a big issue. Even if you only have a power outage three or four times a year,that is three or four times too many.

This is why more people are buying generators so that they can always have a supply of electricity, no matter what. However, when you have a generator, it is a legal requirement that you also have a transfer, or changeover, switch. You can install either a manual or an automatic changeover switch.

An automatic changeover switch is always preferable because - believe it or not – when the power goes down your system will automatically start the generator and so you will only be without power for a matter of a few seconds until the generator kicks in. If you have a manual changeover switch it means that somebody has to manually switch from the mains power to the generator. That may be OK if someone is on the premises and can do that, but if you are away from home for a couple of days and you have something such as a tropical fish tank, those fish are, unfortunately, not going to last until you get home.

With an automatic transfer switch, you have no such worries. You can have an automatic transfer panel with mains detection or without. If it has mains detection, it will detect the power failure and send a signal to the generator telling it to start. Once the generator has started, it will send a signal back to the automatic transfer switch to tell it that it is ready, and the transfer switch will then disconnect from the mains and connect to the generator.