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Prepare for the Next Hurricane with a Residential Generator

It makes sense that more people start thinking about a residential generator after a hurricane than before. High winds can quickly knock out power, but what we’ve seen in South Carolina is that flood waters can do it too. If you’re new to residential generators and considering one now, you don’t need to know anything. That’s because Cooper Electrical Services will come to your home, perform a free assessment of your needs, and educate you in an honest way about the options available in residential standby generators. When selecting a residential generator we consider the following: size, fuel type, budget, phase type.

How a Standby Generator Differs from a Portable Generator

It’s important to first know that a standby generator is different from a portable generator that you see flying off shelves of big box stores in the wake of a storm. Portable generators provide small amounts of temporary power for short periods of time. They allow users to plug major appliances directly to the generator. They must be manually fueled (usually with gasoline), are not connected to utility power sources (utility box), are usually noisy, and result in a mess of extension cords. In a crisis, they are good for temporary power to meet your most basic needs: refrigeration, cooking, and limited light.

Residential standby generators, on the other hand, are permanent fixtures outside your home. They tie directly the your main power supply and use an automatic transfer switch to immediately shift from utility power to generator power at the first detection of an outage. This means that you retain whole-house power include power to your HVAC system, appliances, light—everything. Moreover, standby generators require no manual start or refueling. They tie directly to existing fuel lines (propane, natural gas, diesel) and are quiet.

How to Determine What Size Generator is Right for Your Home

Generator size is based on wattage need instead of simply square footage. A home with more occupants tends to have more power need, so a larger generator may be needed than a household of one or two.

Part of a needs assessment includes a calculation of the amount of watts needed to “run” your home under normal conditions. You can use the details from past utility bills for averages, or you can use a simple generator size calculator on the Cummins website to see which size generator fits your needs. The calculator asks for your zip code, square footage, and an appliance and system checklist for “whole house” or “just the essentials” to calculate minimum size need.

Again, a Cooper representative is happy to come out and perform an assessment to determine generator size, asking questions to determine which options will best suit what you need powered in an emergency.

How to Determine Which Fuel Type is Right for Your Home

Usually fuel source is determined by what already exists at your home or what is most common in your region. The main sources are natural gas, liquid propane (LP), and diesel. In Myrtle Beach, natural gas and propane are the most common fuel types. If you already have a natural gas line to your house, it is most economical to use what is already there as it reduces installation costs.

In short, if fuel costs are the most important factor, diesel is a suitable fuel source that can reduce long-term costs on fuel. There are some trade-offs of course. For many, propane is great, and it’s readily available in our Myrtle Beach area. While it’s generally more expensive than diesel, it has a longer shelf life, which is very helpful, and it is much quieter as it burns.

For more information on the different fuel types and their advantages and disadvantages, check out this blog post from our site comparing fuel types.

How to Find a Standby Generator within Your Budget

Like many consumer products, there are a variety of standby generators at different price points. Some of the things that most directly affect generator cost is size and phase type (although almost all residential, non-industrial spaces use single phase). Cooper Electrical Services works hard to find solutions that meet your needs and work within your budget. We also provide free needs assessments and estimates that include installation costs.

As an authorized Cummins dealer, we offer the full line of Cummins residential standby generators. However, our professors are fully capable of installing, maintaining, and repairing generators from all major manufacturers.

How to Get More Information

To learn more about residential standby generators and get a free estimate, simply Call Cooper. We’re here to look at your power needs, review options, and help you find the best generator in your budget.