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Generating Interest in Generators

Tom Rand – Walker ClimateCare

The Seaway Valley has long been home to some very inclement weather. Any of us old enough to remember back to 1998 will recall the Great Ice Storm that caused billions of dollars of damage, and left tens of thousands without power for weeks. While certainly not on the same scale, we had some significant ice rain and wind that caused damage just a few months ago, particularly for those in or closer to Ottawa. To protect themselves and their homes against the perils of losing electricity, people have increasingly looked to generators.

A quick review online will show that nobody seems aligned on how many types of generators exist; some will say 3 categories based on function, while others suggest 5 or 7 based on fuel source. For our purposes, there are two primary types of generators, and two sub-types for each of those.

The first category is generators requiring user intervention. These are powered by gasoline and require being manually started. Within this category there are two types. The first type has plugs on the generator, so you can plug a very limited number of things into the generator directly or with an extension cord. The second type connects to a plug outside your home that an electrician would have installed for you, which leads to a secondary electrical panel and can power a small number of circuits from your panel. It’s important to note that in both cases, you need to be home to fire up the generator and plug in devices or plug it into your panel via the outdoor link.

The second category of generators are generally referred to as standby generators and they do not require user intervention. Instead of gasoline, they’re powered by natural gas or propane, so they’re unlikely to run out. They’re also wired to your panel by an electrician, and they kick on automatically when your power from the grid fails. Within the standby generator power category there are two types as well. The first type is partial load generators designed to power select circuits in your home. They don’t have the capacity to run your entire home’s electrical load, so most homeowners select the most critical appliances like the furnace, hot water heater, sump pump, and let’s face it – the modem and Wi-Fi router. The other type of standby generator is a whole-house unit. These generally have a capacity of 10 to 24 Kilowatts and can power everything in your home. This is an extremely popular option due to its convenience, especially with rural homeowners where unstable electrical grids regularly leave them without power for a few hours, but not for prolonged periods barring extreme weather circumstances.

If you’re looking for a standby generator, you’ll need a licensed gas technician to do that side of the installation, as well as a licensed electrician for the panel work and startup. Many such contractors have partnerships so you can deal with a central point of contact to ensure the job gets done for one price, start to finish.

Originally Published by Cornwall Seaway News: linked here


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