Before You Use a Backup Power Generator

First, make sure a transfer switch is correctly in place!

By: | October 20, 2015

While a backup power generator (standby generator) is often associated with providing emergency power to facilities like hospitals, police and fire stations and even computer data centers, a new trend towards residential use has been growing the last several years.

More homeowners are turning to a whole house, back-up power generator

With more people telecommuting or having a home-based business, the home office is becoming a vital element in the American workplace. And that demand for guaranteed, always-on power has grown.

As a result, more and more homeowners are installing an external, whole house, backup power generator. Also a safety note: Never us a portable backup power generator indoors.

Backup power generator installation must-haves

It’s important to know that before you install a whole house, backup power generator, make sure a certified electrician has installed an automatic transfer switch (ATS). This device contains electronics and a switch that senses when the electric utility power is lost, automatically disconnects the utility mains and connects the generator inputs to your main circuit breaker distribution panel. This usually happens with 15 seconds.

Having an ATS is absolutely critical because it prevents “back feed” which occurs when electric power is introduced to the utility’s power lines from backup power generators without an ATS or by way of other faulty connections. In the case of back feed, lines expected to be de-energized are in fact live, and this can potentially electrocute crew members attempting to make repairs. Danger Will Robinson!

To help keep you and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning and electric shock from portable electric generators: Check out our What You Need to Know about Standby Generators web page.

Download a free PDF brochure on Portable Generator Safety


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