One main reason why you may want to contact an electrician for a generator install is if you happen to live in one of Calgary’s flood zones. After the devastating floods of 2013, homes with a generator were able to power up sump pumps and clean up much faster than those without, greatly reducing damage and easing the transition back to normalcy.
If you are unsure what your home’s chances are of water damage due to overland flooding, the City of Calgary provides comprehensive flood maps. The flood inundation maps are particularly helpful for those who live near to Calgary’s rivers. Some areas have a 20% chance of flooding occurring each and every year. If you happen to live in one of those areas, scheduling a generator install is a great preemptive idea.
Even if you don’t live near a flood zone, due to regular inclement weather like high winds and hail storms, power outages are relatively common in Calgary. Most often caused by downed power lines, power outages result in a delay in electrical service to homes and businesses. At times like these electrical providers will turn off transformers in order to prevent further accidents and damage while repairs are being done.
Generators can keep you and your family safe, warm, and comfortable while outages are being dealt with. They will run essential appliances such as your furnace, refrigerator, ovens, and lights, and save you from the expense of hotel stays, the discomfort of having to stay at a friend or family member’s home, the loss of ruined (and expensive) food, and damage caused by frozen and burst pipes.
Some jurisdictions do not allow for generator installs, but Calgary does.
How Generators Work
Only a certified electrician like those of us at A-Star Electric should perform a generator install. Permanent generators need to be correctly tied in to your electrical system to ensure the safety of your home or business. An incorrectly installed generator can cause a fire, placing you, your family, your employees, electrical grid workers and emergency personnel at risk.
Generators produce electricity through mechanical energy supplied to them by an external source, usually fuel. The energy compels the movement of electric charges in wires through an external electric circuit. That creates an output of electricity. Generators do not create electricity, but they do move it through their circuitry and out into the external world.
Types of Generators
Generators are either portable or stationary, and are sold according to the amount of kilowatts they produce. Larger, stationary generators should be able to power your entire home, while portable generators will only run your essential appliances.
Portable generators are not tied directly into your electrical system, plus are quite noisy and difficult to move around. Appliances have to be manually plugged in, meaning you will be dragging extension cords around. In a damp environment such as after a flood, this is not ideal, and even dangerous. Plus, since portable generators are most often run by gas or diesel, you must keep them fueled up at all times to ensure they will operate when needed. A good supply of extra fuel is also recommended, just be sure to store it in a fire-safe container away from an ignition source. If a portable generator is not operated correctly, it can cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
Permanent generators are more costly than portable generators, however they are much safer. They operate by natural gas or propane, and are quiet and convenient. A professionally installed permanent generator will kick in the moment it senses a power outage.
To figure out what kind of permanent generator will be best for you, we will calculate the wattage required for the items you want to make sure are running, ensuring to include the peak power necessary to start up those that need to most juice, such as furnaces. Overloading a generator will not only damage it, but can also damage your electrical system, which is why a generator install should only be performed by a professional electrician.
Considering a Generator Install? Give A-Star a Call!
We at A-Star Electric are certified journeyman or apprentice electricians who believe what we do can improve other people’s lives. Your home or business’s electrical system is integral to day-to-day life and work, and we believe in making sure your panel and wiring run as efficiently and conveniently as possible. We provide residential and commercial electrician services in Calgary including electrical panel and wiring upgrades and replacements, complete electrical installations, lighting design and overhead line services. Have a look at some of our favourite jobs for an idea of what we can do, and contact us if you would like to learn more.