Is Your Generator Ready for Power Outages in North Carolina?
Three Steps to Get Prepared for Winter
You already know what a good job propane does with keeping your North Carolina home warm during winter. But severe winter storms can damage utility lines and cause electrical power outages of varying lengths. In most cases, no power means no heat.
If you’ve already invested in a whole-house backup propane generator as a precaution for this type of situation, you always want to make sure it will operate properly whenever the power goes out. Please follow these tips to ensure you’re prepared for the next power outage.
- Check your fuel gauge. Make sure your generator has enough propane to get you through at least a week without power, since impassable roads and other emergencies may delay deliveries. How much is enough? As one example, a whole-house 22-kilowatt (kW) generator would burn between 2-3 gallons per hour, depending on the electrical load.
- Test your generator. Take your generator for a 20-to-30 minute “test run” about once every three months. Power it up to a full load and observe—and then have corrected—any problems. In colder months, increase the frequency of test runs to about one per month to keep moving parts lubricated.
- Follow maintenance guidelines. Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your generator running at its best. Annual service is a must; twice per year (pre-summer and pre-winter) is ideal. Please refer to your owner’s manual for more specific details about proper maintenance.
How to Find the Right Generator for Your NC Home
If you don’t have a propane generator yet and would like to explore your options, here’s what to know upfront.
When selecting a whole house propane generator, it’s critical to identify your specific comfort needs first. The size of a whole house generator depends on what you intend to operate during an outage. Electrical appliances in your home tend to fall into two categories:
- Your “power essentials,” which include devices like your lights, garage door opener, fridge/freezer, sump and well pumps, your furnace fan, security system, TV/computers, microwave, and washing machine.
- Your high-wattage items, including your air conditioner, electric dryer, hot tub, water heater and oven.
Generators range quite a bit in size – and price – depending on which and how many of each category of appliances you want or need to operate when the power is out. A small, 5-kW unit, for example, can operate power essentials such as lights, a refrigerator, a television, and other small appliances. Naturally, it would require much less propane to run compared to a large model.
A large, 25-kW generator can easily run high-wattage heat or air conditioning units while still being able to turn on lights and appliances. Depending on what other high wattage appliances are being run, a 25-kW generator for a large home may only be able to power one cooling system so it is best to consider what you want your generator to accomplish, no matter the season. Remember, power outages often happen during the warm weather months too.
If everything is working as it should, your power will restart automatically within seconds after an outage, and it will stay on until power is restored – all without the hassles or safety risks that may come with using portable gasoline generators.
To find out more about propane generators, reach out to your local North Carolina propane company today to learn about your options. If they don’t install generators, they can probably refer you to someone who does.