Important Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Residential Generator

First time buying a power generator for your home? We’ve got you covered.

You’re looking to purchase a residential generator. That’s great! But before making your pick, it’s best to go into the process as informed as possible.

Most generators at the residential level fall within two categories: necessity purchase, and convenience purchase.

Of both of these categories, there are some common reasons that lead potential buyers to finally make their purchase decision.

Perhaps you’re in a situation where your grid connection is unreliable, presenting wavering connectivity issues (don’t fret - you’d be in good company). Or maybe, the grid is reliable but you reside in a location where the weather can turn – resulting in prolonged outages. With roughly 400 annual power outages across Canada in recent years, affecting millions of customers in provinces like Ontario, B.C., Quebec and Alberta - this is a very valid concern. And, let’s face it: extreme weather conditions have consistently been a leading cause for these outages.

But maybe your motivation comes from simply wanting to be prepared in case of an emergency. You’ve got a lot to protect - the perishables in your fridge, sump pumps, medical equipment, and thanks to recent events - home offices (cough - Covid - cough).

Or, perhaps you fall into the purchase category of wanting to protect valuable investments that fall outside of your primary residence - for instance, a cottage, a hot tub, a backyard arena or barn… the list goes on.

(Another very attractive incentive: You may want to also increase the value of your home by roughly 5-8% with a backup generator.)

Needless to say, no matter the reason(s) you’re purchasing a backup unit - there is a lot to consider when investigating a generator project.

From a practical standpoint, it really all comes down to the scope of work and the scope of supply. The scope of supply is broken down into two main systems – the generator and the Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS).

The generator will be sized to the support the load you intend to back up. You should be going into the process considering generator size requirements based on the sizes of your appliances, and the most critical loads you’ll need to support. You should also be aware of the types of fuel generators run on (NG/propane/diesel/gasoline), to make the right decision in this regard, as well.

What is an ATS, and why is it important?

An ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) is responsible for switching a load between two power sources, ensuring a continuous and seamless delivery of power. The ATS is important because it identifies any disruption to your utility, and automatically signals the generator to kick on. The ATS is sized to the utility service running into your home. Which leads us to our next point – the labour portion of your home generator project.

When it comes to installing a residential generator, leave it up to the professionals.

When it’s time to install your residential generator, a trained electrician or electrical contractor will come to your home to complete a site evaluation. The contractor will help assess how the project will be completed, considering factors including:
  • · The size of the demand you intend to backup
  • · The size of the electrical service running into your home
  • · Identification of your fuel supply
  • · The placement of the Pad/Generator
  • · The electrical installation/wiring
  • · Gas hook-up

The good news for you is, our partners can provide a full turnkey solution – you won't have to lift a finger throughout the process. Of course, if there are any electricians or contractors you’d like for us to work with, we can always extend that relationship.

Peace of mind is a good feeling.

Once your home generator is installed, there isn’t much else you need to worry about. The units are quite robust and are conscious of end user operation. The generators will be programmed to perform a regular weekly troubleshooting cycle, and most residential units are equipped with some sort of remote monitoring software so you can be alerted of any issues directly on your mobile phone.

If you purchase your generator through an authorized distributor, then servicing and maintenance work will be standard. Most generators offer a standard 5-year warranty - and with proper routine maintenance, have the ability to last for 15-20 years.

So… how much is this all going to cost?

Simply put: it depends. (Cop out answer, we know). Each project is far too unique to nail down a specific number, but you can get an idea by understanding the specifics involved.

For instance, the size of the generator and ATS will be important factors. The larger the units and switches, the greater the cost. The type of unit you require will also affect pricing (liquid cooled vs air cooled), in addition to the placement of the pad/unit.

The work involved in each project will also be different, and the layout of your home will indicate how the project will be completed. For example, the location of the breaker and amount of wire that needs to be run will be considered, in addition to the gas supply in relation to where the generator will be placed. Another factor is whether any trenching will be involved, as well as gas lines.

As a rule of thumb, smaller home generator projects generally cost anywhere between $8-12k. Mid-sized projects can be completed for approximately $16k – with a full home switchover typically falling into this category. Larger projects can extend into the $20k+ range. All of this pricing is ball-parked and assuming a full turnkey installation.
Make no question about it: There’s a whole lot that goes into a generator project.

If you consider your project as more of an investment than an outright purchase, then the value quickly becomes apparent. Beyond the peace of mind that a backup generator provides, it can also be quite financially viable - as again, most homes can expect to see an increased value of 5-8% by installing a generator project.

Investing in a home generator project offers endless advantages - and we can help bring those advantages into fruition.

Your home generator investment begins with an informed (and wise) decision made by you. And before you begin your project, it helps to be as educated as possible - which is why we’re here to assist you every step of the way.

If you have any questions for us regarding investing in a residential generator to protect your investments and increase the value of your home, reach out to our T&T Power Group team today to chat - and find out how we can make your generator project viable.

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Posted by Ron Bougram | Dec 2, 2020 | Categories: Power Generation