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Portable vs. Standby Generators

In previous years, many major storms have led to prolonged power outages. These outages and aging power grids, continue to become more unreliable. With the increase of time, minimal structural upgrades by Electrical Utility Companies and a daily increase in new customers, the problems have only exacerbated. Unreliable power grids have prompted many homeowners and businesses to seriously consider investing in a standby power generator. If you only experience brief and infrequent electrical outages, you may be able to continue operating without having to rely on an alternate energy source. On the other hand, if your area experiences frequent power outages, or outages that extend for longer periods of time, it might be beneficial to invest in a generator with the capability of producing its own electricity on demand.

When you invest in a generator, it affords you the necessary preparation needed for the next inevitable power failure. There are two types of generators: standby and portable. While both types of generators produce electricity in the event of a power outage, they have little else in common. Interlock Electric proudly offers Kohler Generators, in standby models, and would like to offer assistance with understanding the differences between both types of generators for both residential and commercial use.

Portable Generator

While portable generators can only handle the electrical demands of a few electrical appliances, standby generators are designed to efficiently power all of the devices you need or are accustomed to using. In the event of a power outage, while other neighborhood households might be in the dark, your home can run as usual. A standby generator offers a greater peace of mind, knowing that no matter where you and your family are, your standby generator has the ability to automatically start itself and keep your home safe.

Family happy campingPortable generators can be suitably utilized for camping, tailgating, etc. mainly due to how lightweight and how much smaller they are in size. They usually require manual operation and constant maintenance in addition to close monitoring. Portable generators usually require an individual to manually pull-start the generator and requires the individual to be physically present whenever the generator is being used. If a power outage occurs while you are gone from your home, for an extended period of time, you will most likely return home to several hazards that may range from spoiled perishables in your refrigerator to an inoperable alarm system whose standby batteries were depleted during the outage. Further inconveniences of operating portable generators, include the fact that most portables are gasoline-powered. Typical gas tanks hold approximately three to six gallons of fuel, which would need to be refilled even during the worst weather conditions. Gasoline also deteriorates over time and can cause damage to the generator if left in the tank for an extended period of time. Storing extra gasoline to fill the generator can also be extremely hazardous leading to serious injury, death, and property damage.

Men laughing around grillDue to the increased risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning from engine exhaust, portable generators must always be placed at a considerable distance from your home. They have to be protected from the elements, so that rust and deterioration don’t occur. Carbon Monoxide related deaths have occurred when individuals have tried to run their generator inside their garage or home to protect them from theft or exposure to the elements. Portable generators should always be run outdoors with adequate ventilation, so that individuals are not exposed to Carbon Monoxide fumes that can lead to death or serious injury. Another risk to keep in mind, is the potential to improperly wire the generator to your home. This may inadvertently push electricity into the utility lines, or through the home improperly, which could result in potentially deadly risks and property damage for the home owner, utility personnel, or others.

Standby Generator

While portable generators can only handle the electrical demands of a few electrical appliances, standby generators are designed to efficiently power all of the devices you need or are accustomed to using. In the event of a power outage, while other neighborhood households might be in the dark, your home can run as usual. A standby generator offers a greater peace of mind, knowing that no matter where you and your family are, your standby generator has the ability to automatically start itself and keep your home safe.

Family happy cooking together in kitchenCompared to portable generators, standby generators are considerably safer and quieter, and operate automatically. Standby generators can be fueled off liquid propane or natural gas which compared to gasoline, have a considerably longer shelf life. Standby generators produce cleaner power and in some cases, even better than your utility company. Your standby generator, once installed needs to be maintained approximately once a year, which Interlock Electric is able to perform for you.

Standby generators are designed for sensitive electronic equipment and Kohler Generators are designed to produce clean, quality power for the demand of such appliances. The convenience provided by standby generators surpasses the difference in price compared to a portable. An average system for a standby generator is comprised of a generator, automatic transfer switch, concrete pad, permits and plans, which costs approximately between $8,000 and $10,000.

Woman typing on laptop sitting at desk.Standby power generators are quite durable and tend to last a long time, making the costs more palatable. If you sell your home or building at a later date, these generators can recoup a considerable percentage of their initial cost, making this a profitable return on your investment. Kohler Generators carry a five year or 2000-hour warranty. We can also offer financing for qualified buyers up to six months, with some plans offering 0% interest if paid within the terms agreed upon. Routine maintenance is necessary, at least once a year or every 150 hours of operation and Interlock Electric can assist in ensuring the reliability and longevity of your unit. For families with medical equipment, the reliability afforded by standby generators is vital and virtually priceless. Being proactive and knowing that your business or home is always connected, no matter what the circumstance, assures that you will be up and running at all times.

Protect Yourself - Portable Generator Safety

Portable Generators are internal combustion engines used to generate electricity and are commonly used during disaster response. Portable generators can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

Major Causes of Injuries and Fatalities

  • Shocks and electrocution from improper use of power or accidentally energizing other electrical systems.
  • Carbon monoxide from a generator's exhaust.
  • Fires from improperly refueling the generator or inappropriately storing fuel.

Safe Work Practices

  • Inspect portable generators for damage or loose fuel lines that may have occurred during transportation and/or handling.
  • Keep the generator dry.
  • Maintain and operate portable generators according to the manufacturer's use and safety instructions.
  • Never attach a generator directly to the electrical system of a structure (home, office or trailer) unless the generator has a properly installed transfer switch because this creates a risk of electrocution for utility workers.
  • Always plug electrical appliances directly into the generator using the manufacturer's supplied cords. Use undamaged heavy-duty extension cords that are grounded (3-pronged).
  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) as per the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Before refueling, shut down the generator. Never store fuel indoors.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas. Many workers have died from CO poisoning because their generator was not adequately ventilated.

  • Never use a generator indoors. * Never place a generator outdoors near doors, windows, or vents.
  • If you or others show symptoms of CO poisoning - dizziness, headaches, nausea, tiredness - get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.

 

U.S. Department of Labor - www.osha.gov - OSHA 3294 10N-05

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