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Gas Generator

We live in a rural area and it is not unusual to lose power for several hours or even days at a time. Without electrical power I can get stuck outside because I had to have an elevator to get upstairs and down. We have a natural gas connection in front of our house so we installed a natural gas generator to provide power when we lose electricity. The generator cost around $2,500 and the electrician and Generac Transfer Switch was about $2,500 more. We installed it in 2001.

The generator isn't large
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This generator is not large, either physically or electrically. We bought a 5kw (5,000 watt) generator. It is probabaly the smallest size generator we should have considered. Now, two years later, I think it would have been better to get a 10kw generator so that we could use more lights and appliances when we need the generator. We can use one circuit of lights upstairs and downstairs. We also provide generator power to the refrigerator, garage door and, oh yes, the elevator. We do have to be careful to not use Everything at the same time because all of the electrical items we use on the generator's circuits total more than 5,000 watts. So, we have to make certain that we don't use the garage door opener and the elevator at the same time.

Generator requires light maintenance
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The generator does not require a whole lot of maintenance. We check to see that it has oil once in a while. We listen for its 15 minute self-test once a week. We also listen to make certain it is running smoothly. About once a year we have a maintenance man change the oil and check the connections, voltage, and other arcane generator mysteries. Other than that, it just runs itself when necessary.

Generac Transfer Switch
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The generator runs automatically because of the Generac Transfer Switch in our home. When we lose electricity to the house the transfer switch senses the voltage loss and starts the generator. Once the generator has stabilized the transfer switch disconnects the (non-working) electrical source and connects to the generator. We then have natural gas powered electricity for as long as we need. When the normal electrical power comes back on, (it has to stay on for about ten seconds) the transfer switch switches power back to the normal electrical connections and then turns the generator off. Here you see the Generac Transfer Switch and the fuse box for the (sometimes) generator powered circuits.

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