If a storm hits it may cause power outages and power loss for extended periods of time. Standby generators, also known as stationary generators, will kick in automatically when there’s a power outage and supply power to a home or commercial building until power is restored.
Unlike portable generators, standby generators are installed and fixed in a permanent location. They are often bigger than a portable generator to produce electricity for lights, equipment and appliances around an entire building.
What can you keep running?
During a storm if the power goes out, the backup generator will be a power source for computers and other devices, a refrigerator, air conditioners, and other appliances around the house or premises.
Although in the UK we don’t get a hurricane season, we can suffer from severe weather and a strong wind can easily cause a power outage.
If you live in an area that suffers regular power outages during a storm and the ability to generate electricity is vital to your health, safety, or to keep your business running, it might be a worthy investment to install a standby generator.
If a storm strikes you could be left without power for some time. In this article we look at what happens when a storm causes a power outage and determine if it’s worth getting a standby generator installed at your home or commercial property.
What happens when a storm causes power outage?
When we are hit with a storm, strong wind and heavy rain can cause trees and utility lines to fall causing wide-spread or local power loss. Utility lines are the system used to supply electricity, TV services, and phone lines, etc. to your property.
If you have a standby generator it will connect to an automatic transfer switch at your mains supply. When the power supply goes out, the transfer switch will start the generator to produce emergency power automatically.
It will instantly start feeding power to the mains system to allow you to keep equipment and appliances, such as a refrigerator, running until the utility power is restored.
When shouldn’t you use electrical power during a storm?
When bad weather hits, generators can be a life-saver, however, there are certain times you shouldn’t use electrical power during a storm.
During a lightning storm it is recommended you unplug all of your appliances to protect your property and devices from power surges caused by lightly hitting nearby electricity poles.
How to prepare for a power outage with a standby generator
If you know a storm is coming and you have a standby generator installed, there are several measures you can take to ensure your generator is ready should the power go out.
Have you got enough fuel?
Some standby generators will get their fuel source from a natural gas supply. If your generator runs off natural gas you shouldn’t need to worry about the fuel supply as natural gas lines should be a continuous source.
If your generator runs on other fuel sources, such as diesel fuel, petrol, or propane, you’ll need to check you firstly have enough to fill the tank size of your generator with the fuel type you need, and secondly you have enough in a storage tank should you need reserves.
Smaller generators may will have smaller tanks, so if you’re in an area prone to suffering loss of power for extended periods, it would be worth getting a storage unit to safely store extra diesel, petrol, or propane.
Test your generator
If a bad weather warning is issued and your generator has not been used for some time, it would be worth testing the generator to ensure the engine is running correctly.
Check the oil levels and run the generator for a few minutes, allowing it to heat. Check the pressure regulator is working properly, this regulates the pressure of the fuel or gas, if it fails you’ll notice a fluctuation to the power delivered to your property.
Load the generator with what you want to run, lights, appliances, etc. You’ll be limited by the size of your generator, so if you’re likely to use more power check your generator can handle the load. If you want to plug extra equipment into the generator, you’ll need to buy extension cords suitable for your generator.
Once you’re happy with your test, turn the generator off, let the unit cool, and do a final check of the fuel supply and oil levels.
If you use portable generators- where to place them
If you are using a portable generator, you need to think about where this will be placed. Standby generators will be fitted to carry toxic fumes away from the property, but a portable generator can be moved, make sure it is well ventilated and away from any open windows to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
When is the best time to get a standby generator installed?
The best time to get a standby generator installed in the UK is late spring to early summer. The weather at this time of year is more suitable for the work to be carried out.
It also means your generator will be ready for when the whether turns and winter storms hit. You’ll want to get your installation booked in early to avoid any panic later in the year when installation slots are booked up and it’s getting closer to the bad weather season.
A standby generator is used for emergency power and to provide peace of mind for those who suffer from loss of power regularly or simply can’t risk it happening.
If you are concerned about continuously having enough power to supply your home or place of business during stormy weather, it’s worth considering getting a standby generator installed so you don’t face disruption should the worst happen.
We can help!
If you would like to discuss your generator needs further, the team at Solent Power would be happy to help. Contact us today!