Press Release

Power outage relief is available in North Central Ohio.
PowerSafe, a locally owned as operated company now offers automatic backup generator solutions including sales and service of top name brand generators such as Kohler residential and commercial units.
Mansfield, OH, May 14, 2005: To the folks who had a generator during last winterís storms, they seemed like a lifesaver. If improperly used, or installed incorrectly, they can be a life taker.
The power outages from last winter have shown to many of us the advantage of having a home generator. Many families in our area have already bought one. There is a bewildering variety of generators to choose from for those that have not yet purchased a generator, but are still thinking about getting one for their home. Summer thunderstorms and a repeat of the outage of 2003 might make such a purchase even more likely.
Many people found a solution in a portable generator. The advantages of them are that they are portable, and less expensive than permanent home standby installations. The size and use of these portables have certain limitations however. Most run on gasoline and will provide between 5-13 hours of electricity. Homeowners using these generators need to add a gasoline stabilizing product to the tank, or run the unit until the tank is dry before storage. The gasoline kept on hand for the generator should also be treated with a gasoline stabilizer. Most of us have experienced trying to start a mower or snow blower that has been sitting in the garage for six months.
A drawback to the gasoline generator is the refueling. The gasoline generator must be allowed to fully cool before refilling the tank. If gasoline spills on the hot generator, it could ignite in an instant and the flames could leap across the fumes to the gas can in your hands.
Portable generators bring electricity into the home through extension cords whose price is determined by the amperage they can carry and their length. That price can seem quite high to the consumer used to getting a light duty extension cord at a discount store for two or three dollars. Placement of the portable generator is critical because it should be properly grounded and set so that the exhaust fumes are not carried back into the house. Carbon monoxide is a deadly colorless, odorless gas. We read about fatalities caused by this byproduct of gasoline combustion, but a story we donít hear about is the long time it takes for recovery for people exposed to less than lethal amounts of carbon monoxide. Occasionally victims do not make full recovery.
Grounding is also very important. Your home is already grounded and you might consider using that source for the ground or buying a special six foot copper grounding rod. If you leave a connection attached to the rod it will allow you to quickly ground your generator before starting it. Youíll appreciate this time saver if you are starting the generator during a thunderstorm.
Gasoline generators use a mechanical governor to create the 60 cycles in the electricity of alternating current. Appliances should not be turned on while the generator is started or shut down. Some electronics such as home computers, televisions and newer furnaces controlled by circuit boards should not be used at all with these generators since the governor cannot keep the frequency close enough to the 60 cycles to prevent the sensitive electronics from being damaged. The portability of gasoline generators can also be a disadvantage. They should be marked with your driverís license number to allow you to more readily recover your generator if it is stolen.
The alternative to gasoline burning portable generators is a home standby generator. The disadvantages of these units are: they are not portable, so you canít loan it to a friend or relative without power when yours comes back on, they are more expensive, and if you choose to buy one, they are not installed quickly.
Itís a mistake to think of home standby generators as being all the same with only the size and price being the differences between them. Home standby generators most often run on natural gas or LP gas. Some larger units run on diesel. The kilowatt ratings on these generators are always for that generator type running on LP gas. There are more BTUs in that fuel and the generator can reach its full capability. Home standby generators running on natural gas will produce about 12% less kilowatts. You never have to worry about refueling a generator running on natural gas, but only the very worst weather would interfere with the ability of the LP gas truck to refuel your tank.
There are a number of advantages to a home standby generator. It is automatic and will protect your home whether you are there or not. You wonít have to worry about losing the ability to run your furnace, well pump, sump pump, refrigerator or freezer. Depending on the size of the generator chosen and your homeís utilities, laundry and air conditioning might be a possibility, but in any case you should be able to use your computer or television and have lights. A home standby generator will provide your home years of service if properly maintained. It will increase the value of your home.
          The cheaper models of home standby generators use a mechanical governor and their voltage regulators may also allow a wide variance in voltage. If you have a newer furnace, or want to watch television or use your computer during an outage, you will want to consider this when selecting a brand.
The Automatic Transfer Switch is what makes the home standby units operate. They continually monitor the utility power and when they sense an outage, they start the generator and transfer the power from the generator into the house. Depending on the brand of transfer switch and the manner in which it is installed, the Automatic Transfer Switch can actually protect your home appliances from the over voltage surges that happen when the electric utility is trying to come back online. Some brands will monitor the electricity and not transfer from generator power until the utility has produced good, clean power for six minutes before transferring. Other brands transfer after 13 seconds. Many North Central Ohio residents found themselves replacing refrigerators and freezers after this winterís outages.
The transfer switch will also direct your generator to run for a cooling period afterwards. This is very important with these smaller engines. Some brands will cool down for five minutes, others for as little as one. One feature most Automatic Transfer Switches share is the controller that directs the generator to test itself weekly This provides the necessary residents found themselves replacing refrigerators and freezers after this winter s outages.
The transfer switch will also direct your generator to run for a cooling period afterwards. This is very important with these smaller engines. Some brands will cool down for five minutes, others for as little as one. One feature most Automatic Transfer Switches share is the controller that directs the generator to test itself weekly. This provides the necessary lubrication and allows the generator to be in full readiness when the next outage comes.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing the brand of transfer switch is whether it monitors the utility at all. On some models of less expensive generators, the utility monitoring is done at the generator. If your home takes a lightening strike, the generator will be damaged or destroyed instead of the less expensive transfer switch. Some models of transfer switches can actually still be switched manually after a lightening strike. This would allow the homeowner to still start his generator and provide electricity to the house until the switch could be repaired.
When selecting a home standby generator some other things to consider are:
  1. If you need repair service or maintenance, who will provide it?
  2. Is repair service available round the clock?
  3. Will the installers be licensed and insured?
  4. What sort of guaranty does the generator comes with, what sort of extended warranties are available, and will someone from the retailer supervise the installation?
  5. Does the generator require a break in run under various loads and if so, who will do it?
With all generators, itís important to maintain them. Changing the oil, coolant, filters and inspecting any belts and hoses and verifying the generator outputs to see that the frequency and voltages are correct. During an extended outage, you need to remember to check the oil daily and top off as necessary. These units will burn oil and you donít want to depend on the low oil sensor to protect your investment. If you change your own oil, the drained oil should look almost new. Twice yearly oil changes and maintenance will protect your home standby generator for years.
With so many choices of generators available, whoís afraid of the dark?