Generators FAQs

 

What is an automatic backup generator?

It is a backup power system that monitors utility voltage and, in the event of a power outage, starts automatically within seconds restoring power to the home. Once utility power is restored, the unit shuts down automatically.

 

Why should I buy an automatic backup generator instead of a portable generator?

During a power outage, an automatic backup system will start within seconds, restoring power to your home. It’s an automatic process that starts anytime you lose power, unlike the manual process for starting a portable unit. A correctly installed backup generator system is typically safer than using a portable one, as well. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is minimized with a correctly installed automatic backup system.

 

With a permanently installed generator, you don’t have to worry about running extension cords throughout your home.

 

Portable generators require you to store gasoline in case of an emergency. The automatic generator system will be connected to your natural gas or propane supply, eliminating the need to fill gas tanks on portable generators. As long as the gas is on, you should have power.

 

What brands does BriteBox Electrical sell and maintain?

BriteBox sells and installs Honeywell; however, we service and maintain other brands as well.

 

How often should I service my generator?

At least once a year. Your system relies on an engine to perform when you need it most, and just like any engine, it needs to be serviced regularly.

 

My generator just ran for a long time, do I need service right away?

No, not unless it is time for your regularly scheduled maintenance.

 

Can an automatic backup generator replace utility service?

No. These systems are designed to be used as a backup power source, not a primary source. Using the generator for your primary source would be very expensive to operate and can reduce the manufacturer’s warranty.

 

How do I correctly size a generator for my home?

There are several, very basic online tools that will give you a ballpark idea; however, to correctly size a generator, you need a qualified electrician and experience in system design to do a site visit with a detailed evaluation.

 

Can I install a generator myself?

This is not a DIY project. We suggest having a qualified electrician install it to make sure you comply with National Electrical Codes that insure a safe installation. You should also be sure to check any H.O.A. requirements and local regulations. A good system designer will do this as part of your evaluation.

 

What happens if the generator gets overloaded?

Quality generators should be equipped with overload protection that will protect the generator in the event of an overload condition. The engine will still operate, but the unit will not produce electricity. Once the overload condition is gone, the unit can be reset, returning the generator to normal operating condition.

 

Where should I locate my generator?

Placing your generator in the proper location is key. Each home is different so it’s best to have a free in-home assessment by a qualified electrician to determine proper location. Never install a generator near windows, doors, or other openings that might allow carbon monoxide to build up inside the home.

 

What kind of base should I use?

Concrete is the best base for a worry-free installation.

 

What kinds of options are there to fuel my generator?

Natural gas, propane, and diesel fuel.

 

Why does my generator turn on by itself?

The unit internally monitors incoming utility voltage and when it senses a power loss, it starts automatically restoring power to the home within seconds. Your system may also self-start once a month for routine maintenance and self-monitoring. (See next question)

 

How do I know when my generator needs service?

There is an indicator light on the unit. Also, if the generator is installed by Britebox Electrical, your system will send our team remote alerts and notifications of problems proactively discovered during monthly self-testing.

 

How long can my generator deliver power to my home?

As long as your fuel supply lasts. In most cases, a direct natural gas line to your generator should provide an uninterrupted supply of fuel for your system. If you choose propane or diesel, be sure to consider supply and fuel storage needs.

 

How much power do I need for my home?

Every home and situation is different. It depends on the items you wish to ensure have power when the lights go out. During a free in-home evaluation, your BriteBox Electrical system designer will ask you specific questions to determine a recommendation power supply that is right for your home and your individual needs.