Why is a back-up generator useful to have?

If you have previously lost power in the winter for extended periods of time, perhaps due to an ice storm or other severe weather conditions, you can appreciate just how indispensable having a backup power supply that can supply electricity to your home and appliances, is to the safety and comfort of your family and yourself. 

Emergency back-up electric generators provide electricity to your home upon loss of power from the from the electric grid. There is nothing more frustrating than losing power due to lightning strikes or other harsh weather, faults or malfunctioning equipment in the local distribution grid, planned work by your utility company, and to any other number of reasons. These outages to your power can happen anytime and last for long periods, so having a portable or permanent standby backup generator is crucial. They can prevent the food in your fridge and freezer from spoiling, as well as keep the lights and your electronics on, and keep the A/C or electric heaters running.  

Over the past few years, back-up electric generators have dropped in price and become more easily available. Additionally they have become smarter, easier to install and more efficient, allowing them to run for extended periods of time. Many of the affordable back-up generators available today will turn-on automatically following a power outage so that you don't have to manually go and turn it on. They can also be connected, through a transfer-switch, straight to your breaker panel, so that there are no extension cords running through doors, windows, or holes drilled in the wall. There are even a variety of options now don't even require you to have a supply of fuel as they are directly connected to your natural gas lines. Contact our Mississauga back-up home generator experts for an assessment of your back-up electricity needs.

Types of Back-up Generators

In essence, there are two types of back-up generators: portable and stand-by.

Portable back-up generators are cheaper than stand-by generators and thus are the most economic choice to provide electricity to your house during outages and emergencies. They run on gasoline, diesel, or liquid propane, and they need to be turned on manually following a power outage. Appliances are directly plugged in using extensions cords (which need to be weather and outdoor proof), or both the appliances and the generator are connected to a transfer switch (whole house, select load, or single load transfer switches). Never connect the portable generator directly to your home's wiring or to a regular home outlet as this can cause dangerous back-feeds or overload your generator, causing damage to your appliances and electronics. Portable generators should always be placed and run outside as they produce dangerous emissions such as carbon monoxide.

Stand-by generators are more expensive than portable back-up generators, but they are also more versatile. The automatic transfer switch monitors the electric power flowing from the power grid, and senses an outage or loss of power. It then turns the generator on and transfers the electrical load (the whole house, or only desired loads, as programmed and selected by your transfer switch) to the back-up generator. When the power from the grid returns, the transfer switch detects this, transfers the loads back to the grid supply, and turns off the back-up generator. They can either run on an independent fuel supply, which means you have to periodically add more fuel to them manually, or they are directly connected your natural gas-line.

As mentioned above, when installing a back-up generator, you will also need a transfer switch (it is a must for stand-by generators, and many of them already come with an automatic transfer switch). A generator transfer switch opens the utility power line to your home’s electrical system during a power outage and closes the line to your generator, then reverses the process when grid power is restored.

Generator Services Offered

Our Mississauga electricians and home generator experts offer the following services:

  • Generator sizing and consultation
    • fuel type
    • best placement of generator - dependent on where gas lines, electric meter, and circuit breaker panel location
    • generator type
    • what loads to back-up
    • permit requirements
    • and anything else you can think of related to installing a generator
  • Transfer Switch Installation
  • Portable Generator Installation
  • Stand-by generator Installation  
  • All necessary wiring for the installation of your back-up generator

If you want to ensure your family's comfort and safety then a back-up emergency generator is for you. Contact our electricians in Mississauga today if you want a back-up generator installed or to receive a quote.