Generac Generator New Jersey — Installations

Automatic Backup Generators

Generator Installation new jerseyWhen Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee hit New Jersey one after the other, many people experienced prolonged power outages. Many considered themselves fortunate because, based on previous experience with shorter outages, they had the foresight to purchase a portable electric generator to have on hand just in case of such emergencies.

Problems arose when people who had not experienced a power outage in quite some time, and whose portable generators had sat idle for months or maybe even years, tried to start them. Some reportedly spent precious hours yanking on a starter cable before finally getting the gas-fired generator engine to turn over. There is a simple, relatively inexpensive way to avoid this, however, by installing an automatic transfer switch with your generator.

The completely automatic switch monitors incoming voltage from the utility power line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When it senses a decrease in voltage, it immediately - within a few hundredths of a second - sends a signal to the generator's electrical starter to turn the generator on before power is lost completely. Once the generator is running at proper speed, the automatic transfer switch safely shuts off the utility power line and simultaneously opens the power line from the generator. Within seconds, the generator begins supplying power to your main circuit panel.

The automatic transfer switch continues to monitor utility power line conditions even while the generator is supplying power to your home or office. When it senses that the incoming voltage from the utility power line has returned to its normal level, it transfers the electrical load back to the utility line and resumes monitoring for subsequent voltage drops. The generator will continue to run for an engine cool-down period of several minutes while the entire system stands ready for the next power outage.

Since the system depends on an immediate reaction to a voltage drop, it is imperative that the generator turn on instantly while there is still sufficient power from the utility line to activate its electrical starter. To make sure it is always ready, the generator automatically turns on and exercises itself once a week.

An automatic transfer switch can be set up to provide power only to critical circuits or to entire electrical panels. Except in critical situations where loss of power cannot be tolerated for even a fraction of a second, such switches are open, or "make before break" transfer switches. In other words, it breaks contact with one source of power before it makes contact with another. During the split second it takes to transfer from the utility line to the generator, and again from the generator back to the utility line, the flow of electricity is temporarily interrupted, typically for about 1/6 of a second.

Caution: improper generator connections can allow electrical current from the generator to short circuit with utility line current when power is restored. This could cause the generator to explode or burn and could even cause your home to catch fire. Because of this, automatic transfer switches should be installed only by a licensed electrician.

Portable Generator Installations

Although people who had to be evacuated because of flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee made most of the headlines, even more people experienced serious problems caused by prolonged power outages. Many of these people are now rushing out to buy portable gas-fired generators to have on hand when the next serious storm draws a bead on New Jersey.

That's not a bad idea, but unless you make a few simple modifications to your main circuit panel before the next storm hits, you'll probably wind up with a maze of extension cords running through your house, causing not only a tripping hazard but a serious fire hazard as well. And that is definitely a bad idea.

The good news is that the modifications you need to make to your main circuit panel are fairly simple and very inexpensive compared with the cost of a whole house generator with an automatic transfer switch. Superior Wirework can install a device called an Interlock Kit that allows your portable generator to be safely and conveniently connected to your home's existing electrical system, avoiding the need for those unsightly and dangerous extension cords.

Power is normally fed into your main circuit panel by the electrical utility serving your area, probably either PSE&G or JCP&L. From the panel, electricity flows through individual circuit breakers to outlets located throughout your home. The Interlock Kit allows you to safely disconnect your panel from its electrical utility feed and switch it over to the generator, which can now feed it power through its own circuit breaker. The Interlock kit allows only one of these feed systems at a time to be operational, protecting the panel from being overloaded by both sources when power from the electrical utility is restored.

Because power is being supplied directly to your main circuit panel, you can now use it to activate any circuit within your home that would normally be in use if there were no power outage. This not only eliminates the need for extension cords, but because your generator is probably not large enough to power everything in your home at once, it also allows you to activate and deactivate individual circuits as needed simply by flipping a circuit breaker switch. During the day, for example, you can activate the circuit that provides power to your home entertainment center while deactivating the one that powers the lights in your bedroom. When you retire for the night, you can then reverse the procedure simply by flipping a switch. There is no need to plug or unplug anything.

When power is finally restored, you can switch your main circuit panel from the generator back to its normal electrical utility feed simply by sliding a plate provided with the Interlock Kit to another position. This automatically disconnects the generator, preventing it from overloading the panel.

Designed to be installed by a licensed electrician, the Interlock Kit meets the strict requirements of the National Electrical code and the National Fire Protection Code. And because it is installed directly on the main circuit panel itself, it requires no additional space.

So be prepared from the next disaster to hit New Jersey, as it inevitably will. It's OK to wait for a sale on generators, but it would probably be a good idea to have a Superior Wirework take a look at your main circuit panel in the meantime.  

 


Superior Wirework — 179 Route 46 West, Ste. 15, Box 275 Rockaway, NJ 07866 —
(973) 713-5345