ABOUT THE GENERATOR INSTALLATION PROCESS- inspection
Quality Installation Services
Home Stand-By Generators:
You’ve decided that a portable generator is not for you. You need a reliable back-up power source that requires no involvement from you to operate. A permanent, stand-by generator is the logical choice. Home stand-by generators are connected to your home’s electrical service and monitor FPL’s power to determine availability of utility power and turn on/transfer power to generator automatically should the power go out. The installation of a stand-by generator requires knowledge of multiple construction trades including electrical, gas plumbing, structural, mechanical among others. It is not a weekend project and should be performed by professionals. There are a few things for a homeowner to consider when deciding to install a home stand-by generator: Size, Manufacturer and Location.
Automatic stand-by generators come in many sizes and configurations. It is critical to first determine how the existing electrical system is configured and what coverage is needed. Automatic generators require no involvement from the user/operator. Because of this, they must be sized to handle the entire load they are covering. In other words, if you were, under generator power, to turn on every single appliance/switch being covered by the generator at the same time, the generator will be able to continue running. Although it is highly unlikely that in the normal course of living, a homeowner would have every appliance/switch in the house turned on at the same time, the possibility does exists that, under FPL power, a homeowner has everything on, then leaves the house and a power outage occurs.
There are three ways to design the system: 1. Use a generator that is big enough to cover every appliance in the house at the same time (whole house generator). 2. Use a smaller generator which can be hooked up to the whole house, however, if there is an electrical demand higher than the rating of the generator, it will automatically shed loads to maintain a running condition (Whole house w/Load Shedding) or 3. Pick select circuits in your home to energize and have a partial coverage system.
Once the owner decides on the coverage needed, they need to decide on the manufacturer. Empower represents nearly every US based manufacturer of stand-by generators. Generac, Kohler, Cummins and Briggs & Stratton to name just a few. Each manufacturer offers a line of generators complete with switch gear and accessories. It is important to know the benefits and drawbacks of each manufacturer’s product line. All of them offer competitive products and full support but some may work better for specific installation conditions and locations than others. Our experts will guide you in making the best choice for your home.
Each municipality differs in their requirements for stand-by generators as they pertain to setbacks from the property lines, the structure and other requirements. Depending on the lay of the land, there may be limitations on placement that will be permissible. That said, there are still options to consider as far as placement. Our experts will guide you in making placement decisions based on our knowledge of the local requirements. Once a placement location has been decided we can proceed with the installation. Now sit back and let us handle the details. The installation process is marked with milestones: Consultation, Permit Preparation, Permit Submittal, Permit Acquisition, Delivery, Electrical Connections, Gas Connections, Start-Up and Orientation. The following is an outline of the process:
Consultation – Every turn-key generator installation begins with an in home consultation. This will allow our expert to determine the customer’s needs and to assess the scope of work and provide a proposal for the installation. This process usually takes about one hour.
Permit Preparation – Once the terms of the agreement are defined, a set (4) of municipal permit applications and a Notice of Commencement will need to be signed and notarized by the customer. We will begin by collecting all the necessary documents required by the municipality including, electrical engineered drawings, structural detailed drawings for the pad, isometric drawings for the gas system and numerous other things. This part of the installation accounts for 2/3 of the time needed to install a generator.
Permit Submittal/Acquisition – Once the permit package is complete we will physically deliver it to the municipality. Although each municipality differs in the time it takes to process a permit, this process usually take 2-4 weeks. The permit will need approval from multiple trades. We will address any comments made by the plan reviewers if necessary. Once the permit is issued and picked up, the delivery can be coordinated.
Delivery – The physical work begins with the delivery of the generator. The delivery consists of site preparation, pad installation and generator placement/anchoring. Our installation coordinators will level the proposed location of the generator with aggregate, and set the concrete pad. The generator is set on the pad and secured. We strongly advise the customer to be present on the day of delivery to provide input on generator orientation and other esthetic choices. This process usually takes 1-2 hours depending on the equipment necessary to deliver the generator/pad (i.e. crane, skid steer, dolly)
Electrical Connections – Once the machine is in place we can begin the electrical connections. This process consists of Automatic Transfer Switch installation, Generator to ATS conduit installation and final connections. The automatic transfer switch is the device that senses utility power and transfers power to generator and back should a power outage occur. Every installation is different. Some ATS’s will be hung outside by the electrical meter. Others will be hung inside by the interior panels. In any case, power to the house will have to be shut down for 2-4 hours to route utility lines through the switch. We will inform you ahead of time to allow you to plan for this inconvenience. Once the ATS is hung, conduit will need to be laid connecting the generator to the switch. These lines are buried at approximately 24” in depth. The trench is usually about 1’ wide depending on the size of the generator/wires. Once the pipe is inspected by the municipal inspector the trench is closed and brought back to level grade. Wires are then pulled through the conduit and the final connections are made. This process usually takes about 1-2 weeks inclusive of inspections.
Gas Connections – Once the electrical portion is complete, the gas work can begin. Depending on the fuel source (NG or LP) the process consists of: (Tank Installation), Gas Line Installation, Final Connections. If the system includes the installation of a Liquid Propane tank, we will dig the hole for the tank and set/secure the tank in the hole. Then, the gas line will be installed from the tank to the generator. The gas lines are buried at approximately 18” in depth. The trench is usually about 1’ wide. Once the tank* and gas lines are inspected by the municipality the trench is closed and brought back to level grade and the final connections are made. This process usually takes 1 week inclusive of inspections.
Start-Up – Once all electrical and gas connections are made, the generator can be started up. A factory certified technician will install a battery, land the control wires, register the factory warranty and perform a series of functionality tests on the generator. This process usually takes 1-2 hours.
Orientation – Once the generator has been started up and all systems are working properly a short customer orientation will be scheduled. This orientation is designed to familiarize the customer with his/her new generator. Discussion will include: Basic Functions, Service Requirements, Remote Monitoring and Emergency Engine Check Procedures.