Can a Generator Power a House?

A home backup generator for use during power outages.

Whether you have problems with your home’s wiring or severe weather strikes, it’s inevitable you will experience a power outage. These outages could last for hours or even days, especially after a severe weather event. Outages keep you from using your air conditioner or heater or prevent you from getting weather alerts on your TV.

Cajun Comfort has the perfect solution to power outages: a backup generator for your home. We are leaders in generator installation in New Orleans, LA  and surrounding areas and understand how generators help preserve comfort and safety in the home during a power outage. With a generator, you won’t have to fumble around for flashlights and candles or worry about food going bad in the refrigerator.

You might want to know what a generator is and how it works before you call our team to install one. In general, a generator is any mechanical device that converts energy into power.  During a power outage a whole house generator detects the outage and within a few seconds restores power to the house automatically. The generator doesn’t need to be turned on by an outside source to work. It automatically shuts off once the main power comes back on. It is quiet and energy efficient as well.

Generator vs. Alternator

Generators, however, are not alternators, should there be any confusion. An alternator, though, is a specialized generator, usually used for cars. Both produce power, but generators are designed to produce power continuously, while alternators produce voltage when required and only produce alternating current.

How Big of a Generator Do I Need For My Home?

Residential house natural gas backup generator.

For the most part, anywhere between 3,500 and 6,000 watts will power a house and all household appliances.

When selecting a generator you will need to determine approximately how much power your home uses. Several things will factor into that consideration.

If you use well water, for instance, you will also have to power your well pump to keep the water flowing. Most well pumps will need a 240-volt generator, which produces 3,800 watts or higher.

You will also have to figure in your heating system. If it is gas or oil forced can use as little as 2,500 watts while electric or heat pumps might require too much wattage for a generator. Similarly, hot water heaters will need to be factored in. Gas or oil-fired hot water heaters use the least amount of wattage, around 2,500 watts. Electric water heaters need about 4,500 watts. Of course, you can get help and always rely on the technicians at Cajun Comfort to determine the right size generator for your household.

How Much Does It Cost for a Whole House Generator?

Prices will vary for what you want your generator to do. Portable generators cost anywhere between $400 and $2000, depending on the brand. Portable generators require someone to be at home to switch it on and a transfer switch will have to be purchased. Transfer switches run between $500 and $900.

While portable generators will keep essential appliances running during an outage, a standby or whole-house generator will manage all household electricity and are designed for long-term use. They are fueled by either liquid propane or natural gas. If you decide to purchase whole house generator, which will turn on and off automatically, it will run about $5,000 for a 10,000-watt generator.

What Is the Best Whole House Generator?

Cajun Comfort’s qualified technicians can install any generators but their expertise is with Honeywell home standby generators. We know these generators are reliable, operate smoothly and generate a lot of power. Their generators come in a wide range of sizes and fuel types. You can also monitor their generators from your computer or tablet or smartphone. These generators are sturdy and reliable, powerful and low-maintenance. Other brands we recommend are Champion Power Equipment, Generac, Briggs & Stratton and Kohler. All of these brands are high quality.

Generator Installation

When you consult with Cajun Comfort’s technicians they will make generator installation a snap. It’s a simple process, really.

First you chose a stable location that drains well, about 18 inches from the house, about 5 feet from windows and doors, and can provide about 3 feet of space for maintenance and repairs.

The site needs to be prepared with a concrete slab or pea gravel so the generator can be place on it. The fuel line is then installed and the system is tested. This is how simple it is to hook your generator up to your house. No major home repair is needed.

Can You Leave a Generator Unattended?

When running a portable generator, it’s not wise to leave it unattended. The generator should be turned off at night or when you are away from home. Portable generators also need to be outside and not running in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces like garages. This risks the build up of carbon monoxide gas and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Is It OK to Let a Generator Run out of Gas?

Letting a generator run out of gas can damage the generator. As they come to a stop, they will continue to put out power. This causes the electrical load from your house to drain the magnetic field from the generator’s coils. The generator might run when it restarted but it won’t generate any power.

Generator Issues

As with any device, a generator can run into maintenance issues. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Out of fuel: It’s the first thing to check when the generator won’t start.
  • Block heater worn out: If the block heater is worn, it will stop heating the coolant. This will slow oil circulation, especially in colder climates.
  • Low on coolant: There could be a leak if the coolant levels are low.
  • Dead battery: Generator batteries last about four years.
  • Not on auto: This error message or a similar one may show up. The generator needs to be reset physically.
  • Fuel leaks into tank: Underuse can cause fuel to leak back into the tank. Regular maintenance will help prevent this. In older model, fuel leakage might be caused by bad belts.
  • Pest infestation or weather damage: Location is always important to protect generator from weather damage. But pests like ants or bigger animals can damage lines and other components.

While you can’t predict the next power outage, you might want to plan ahead and consider installing a backup generator for your home. Our expert technicians at Cajun Comfort in Norco and New Orleans, LA are ready to hear from you. Give them a call at 985-764-8191.