Frequently Asked Questions
Unless you are a generator technician yourself, some or all things about generators may seem extremely foreign to you. We rounded up some of the most frequently asked questions about generators for our technicians to answer. Read on to find the answers to your questions!
It really depends on the time of the year that you ask us to come visit with you. If our generator service or installation visit comes in the middle of the Summer, keeping the house cool with the air conditioning on will be primary concern. If you ask us to come out in February, you’re probably more concerned with your furnace and keeping your home at an even temperature.
In general after doing evaluations on each and every home that we sell a generator to in the past 10 years, what we have seen is that people can get whole home generators that they didn’t think they could afford to get ten years ago. For example, the generators are 60% smaller in size and KW. That saves a lot of space in the yard and requires less energy or fuel to power. What we have also found in the past 6 years is that 18KW generators should be effective for backup power in the majority of homes in South Florida.
Going into a purchase of this type, it’s important to really analyze the value and security against the generator cost. You should have two budgetary numbers in mind as the majority of the homes can run on a 18 KW standby generator. To be honest (and cost efficient), you need to probably budget somewhere between ten and twelve thousand dollars for a whole home generator system. These systems and full service installations save you the time and hassle of going to a big box store, having the delivery men drop the unit off to you and then you are left to your own devices. That’s a lot of work sitting right in front of you and you still have to figure out how to get the thing to work, let alone set up all the parts in the correct working order.
If you just want to do part of your home, maybe one air conditioner or something simple, a 13.5 to 17 KW standby generator will do the trick. For that type of installation, you should probably budget somewhere between $7,500 to $9,500 dollars. You get what you pay for with standby generators and the service we deliver is top notch. We treat every installation as though that location is our home and we want you to be 100% satisfied. If you ever have questions, we’re here to help.
*Prices may vary. Contact PPS for a free quote.
Those that have never seen a standby generator in action will be marveled at their efficiency and seamless integration. Our team is not just great at what we do, but we truly take pride in treating every installation and service call like it is for our own homes.
Now, here are the three major components to the system:
- Transfer switch (think of this as a smart thermostat)
Here’s how they work: When the system is on your home, the generator is going to be monitoring your home 24 hours a day. That’s a lot of protection and it’s just what you need to keep your home up and running with maximum efficiency. When the generator senses there’s a power loss, it immediately turns on and about 10 or 15 seconds later, if there’s no power back to your home, the generator tells that transfer switch to engage. When that generator transfer switch engages, the generator will produce the electricity to run your home and will continuously run your home until your power is restored.
As the power to your home does get restored, the opposite process occurs. The generators tells the transfer switch to disengage, which to be frank, is a nearly seamless process. In fact, you may or may not see the lights flicker at all. Once the unit is completely disengaged, the standby generator will then conduct a cool down for about 5 minutes, and automatically shut off and be prepared for the next power outage.
Today, natural gas standby generators have an automatic exercising switch. It’s a lot simpler than it sounds, I promise. Simply put, the system, just like a person’s body or heart or what-have-you, it needs to be tested to operate properly. At PPS, what we do is we teach you how to just set the standby generator at any time during the day to be “tested.” Every day at that time during the day or night the following week and weeks and months after that, it will always exercise.
The generator, without interrupting power to the home, exercises the necessary functions to ensure maximum efficiency for the long haul. For about 15 minutes, your generator is made operational. After, there will be a green light saying it’s good to go. The machine is in great working order, however, if you want to enhance that process as you travel quite a bit (maybe in the Summer or for business), we offer on-site generator monitoring. With this service, Personalized Power Systems will email you anywhere in the world on your iPhone or iPad or Mac or whatever you have, we will send you a confirmation alerting you to the fact that your generator just completed it’s exercise, how long the exercise lasted, if there was a power outage, the extended run time and most importantly, if there’s a fault. If there’s any fault it emails you and/or the PPS team and the dealer, simultaneously so we can respond very quickly and get the standby generator serviced right away.
In a normal installation, two men will arrive on the very first day with a generator, a precast slab that can withstand winds over 100 miles an hour. The installation team also delivers a transfer switch and all the pipe, wire and conduit needed to install the standby generator system.
The generator installation team will hang the transfer switch on the wall and pipe from the transfer switch to the generator. Sometime on day one or early on day two, the team will interrupt the power in your home in order to connect the transfer switch to the electric utility. It’s a fairly simple process for our team, but incredibly important for safety reasons.
Once we have completed all of those steps, we then bring in the gas division; one man will come to your home and trench from the generator to your existing gas meter. This vital member of our team will lay a polyethylene pipe in the ground and then pressurize it for our next step.
The plumbing inspection comes next as they are called in the next day. The approval will be done at this time and once they are satisfied with the measures taken, we backfill the trenches.
The generator technician will be next and he will approve the start. Startup will go through the wiring of the entire generator, making sure that everything is good. After he’s confident in the setup, we will start up the unit, start up will go through the entire wiring of the generator. Making sure everything is good.
He is going to start the generator up to ensure that the unit is installed properly and that everything is on the “up and up.”
One of the key steps follows: the team has to perform several power outages on your home to train you to know what to expect, what to listen for, how the process works, the LED displays and how to read them.
Confident in the process now? Good, this is when you get the keys and the peace of mind that you’re ready for when a power outage strikes.
With PPS’s natural gas generator systems, we are totally automatic; whenever you lose power you’re automatically going to get power back. That saves a lot of hassle with running out to start or restart a gasoline generator. You never know when a power outage is going to happen, you could be away and your love ones are home and the power goes off. There needs to be a contingency in place and the natural standby generator provides that comfort.
You can’t always be sure that the right member of your family is home when the electricity cuts out. They may not be trained to take the gasoline generator out of garage, get it outside, fuel it up, find the extension cords and then bring it back inside…there are a lot of working parts to that type of system that brings different challenges.
What can a gasoline generator power? Maybe your refrigerator, maybe some lights, but certainly not your air conditioner. If the power goes off and you get the gasoline backup going, you still have to deal with many of the negative side effects of the storm or outage.
Our systems are designed to go through bad weather. Whether it’s 100 mile an hour winds, a driving rain storm, or a dangerous lighting and thunder situation, Personalized Power System’s natural standby generators are build to run through any bad weather.
A portable generator can only run in good weather. They’re not built to be outside in the rain.
Natural gas standby generators are safer, more efficient and they’ll always have your back. It’s an easy choice.
The size of your generator will depend on how much of your home you will want to power during an outage. Some generators will put out just enough energy to run your most essential appliances, and some can power your entire house (depending on the size of the house, of course)! Your generator installation technician will be able to help calculate the precise wattage your home will need.
The cost of your generator depends on three main factors: its size, manufacturer, and its power source. The generator inventory at Personalized Power Systems offers generators from the nation’s leading brands like Kohler and Briggs & Stratton. Gasoline generators cost less than propane generators, but they accommodate fewer kilowatts than propane generators or some of the other types of generators.
The important takeaway here is that the cost of your generator must be carefully assessed with the security and safety that generators provide during power outages. Generators vary in cost from household to household, but one thing remains the same: safety and security are priceless.
Once a generator is hooked up to your home, it will be running 24/7 to monitor the power of your home. Once the power is out, the generator will immediately turn on and provide your home’s backup energy. This backup energy will allow you to carry on as usual in your home until the energy is restored. When the energy is restored, the generator will power down again.
The installation process of a generator is a four-stage process. It has many moving parts within each stage, but our installation team will walk you through the steps of the process. These stages are as follows:
- Location selection according to local governing authorities and safety concerns.
- Installation requires laying down a concrete slab to place the generator on top of it.
- Connect the transfer switch and fuel, which will power the generator.
- Generator testing by the technicians to ensure that the generator works appropriately.
Once the installation process is complete, our team will set a self-test that the generator will conduct. At this time, our technicians will also offer the 24/7 monitoring service we provide our clients.
One of the critical differences between gasoline and propane generators is that propane generators typically have the option to be portable or placed permanently. Gasoline generators do not offer this type of flexibility in installation.
Propane generators are also less efficient than gas generators and are more expensive to install and refill over time. Most residents prefer natural gas and propane generators because their fuel lasts indefinitely, while gasoline must be replaced within a year.
Most generators are installed with the capability to run a weekly or bi-weekly self-diagnostic test that ensures that it is in proper working condition for the next outage. With Personalized Power Systems, you will have access to our 24/7 monitoring service, which will monitor your generator for you and alert you of any issues. You will be notified of needed repairs, and a technician will be arranged to resolve those issues.
We often get the question, “Can I just hook up a generator myself?”. While you have the freedom to attempt this installation yourself, we must warn you that generator installation is a very complicated DIY project. You will need to lay some concrete, connect the transfer switch to the electrical utility, and build out the connections for the fuel source of the generator.
This entire process has many moving parts that require extensive knowledge of electricity, fuel, and other components of generators. The technicians at PPS have all endured complex classroom instruction, a state licensing exam, and a hands-on training period to provide you with the highest quality installation and repair services.
The best generator that will be worth your money will be the one that will accommodate your household’s needs and keep it running during a power outage.
The cost to repair a generator will vary from one generator to the next. The factors considered are the generator’s type and size, and the type of repair required. On average, generator repairs cost $268. Smaller, portable generators will cost less, while whole-house generator repairs will cost more than the average.
Most generators will come across the issue of battery failure. This problem will arise due to the unit’s wear and tear. As the battery wears out, it will begin to provide less power before giving out completely.
The official title for the person who repairs your generator is generator technician. Each technician endures a grueling training program and must be certified by the Electrical Generator Systems Technician Certification Program before providing any repairs or installation work.
In Texas and Florida, we recommend that generators be serviced at least once a year before hurricane season. This will ensure that your generator will deliver the promised backup energy when a storm leaves you without power.
To prevent expensive repairs and ensure that your generator is in proper order, the generator maintenance technician will check the oil and coolant levels, refilling them as necessary.
The tech will also clear out any debris that would inhibit the generator’s work. They will clean the various parts of the generator, keeping it in good working condition.
During the maintenance check, your generator technician will clean the starting battery and filter to help it run as smoothly as possible. Lastly, your generator will also be tested to ensure that it will provide backup energy during an outage.
Are you in need of generator installation or repair? Call Personalized Power Systems for assistance today!
In the generator business
What Our Clients Say
Owning a generator have never been easier.
We have used PPS for our generator, pool heater and electrical. Each time we contact them, their response and reaction time is immediate. It has been a pleasure to deal with their efficient and knowledgeable staff. They really took the time to make sure we knew how to run and test our equipment. We have and will continue to recommend PPS.
Just before Hurricane Irma hit I called and asked for a technician to look at a friend’s generator which had not been used for over 6 years. My friend is not an existing customer. They scheduled a technician to come out on the day before the storm hit while I am sure they were very busy with other customers. The response time was impressive and appreciated.
Kevin C Gleason
Over the course of several years, Personalized Power installed two generators for me, and I never had any issues with the equipment, installation, or servicing. If you service them properly, and exercise on a schedule, there should be no reason for failure.
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