Frequently Asked Questions about Generators and Emergency Backup Systems...
- Why do I need a generator?
Safety, Security, Peace of Mind...and the list goes on. While everybody has different, priorities, everyone can benefit from a backup generator. Keeping the heat on, to running your business or maintaining your security system, electricity is an important part of daily life - try to imagine your life without it. Today's power-hungry society has outgrown our power grid resulting in record usage and rolling blackouts. In addition to our already fragile power grid, it is also more susceptible to equipment failures and acts of terrorism. Be prepared, stay safe, stay in business; become self-sufficient. back to top
- What is the difference between Portable & Automatic Generators?
Portable generators often run on gasoline, and use a small engine. Portable generators are best suited to contractors and those who want to use a generator at different locations. An automatic generator is permanently installed with your electrical service, and comes on automatically when a power outage occurs. Automatic generators run on natural gas, propane, or diesel fuel. Installation of an automatic generator is considered a Capital Improvement in New York State so you pay no Sales Tax, and in many cases your new generator will often increase the value of your home or business. back to top
- What size Generator do I need?
It depends on how much you want to run during a power outage. Most homes will need at least 5000 watts to keep the essentials running such as the furnace & refrigerator. Automatic generators usually start as small as 7000 watts, and go up from there. For best results, it is smart to have your generator sized by a competent industry professional; this is an absolute necessary step for business & commercial users. back to top
- What about a Transfer Switch?
A transfer switch is a device that allows the safe connection of your generator to your home or business. The transfer switch is responsible for connecting to either the generator OR the utility power. Do you need one when using a generator? If you plan on using your generator with the existing circuits in your home, the answer is yes. Transfer switches should only be installed by qualified professionals; this is not a job for a handyman. back to top
- How loud is a generator?
Relatively speaking, portable generators are the loudest. Home standby generators are often much quieter due to their design and sound deadening insulation installed within their construction. A home standby generator operating on natural gas or propane will fall below the noise regulations set by most towns & municipalities. If noise is a consideration, the "QuietSource" line by Generac Power Systems, Inc. is an excellent choice. These units run at a slower speed, have additional sound attenuation and are enclosed in an aluminum enclosure that will never rust. back to top
- How long will a generator last?
This depends on many factors, including but not limited to: build quality, application, design, maintenance schedule, and usage. Generally, you'll get what you pay for in terms of quality. While a typical home standby generator could be installed for as little as $4000, the same homeowner could opt. for a higher quality liquid-cooled generator to perform the same job and it may cost as much as three to four times installed. The reason for this is because home generators are driven mostly by price. Many manufacturers produce generators that are suited to the homeowner, and these units work quite well in a standby situation for the average home. That same generator placed in a commercial application would fail perform the job as well, if at all. In simple terms, residential generators are relatively easy to spec. and install; commercial applications require expert design & engineering. It is very important to get the right unit for the job - save yourself time, money and headaches by working with a qualified contractor. back to top
- Can I use my computer on generator power?
With portable generators we do not recommend using electronics. Even an electronically controlled furnace may be damaged by a portable generator that is not in optimum running condition. Some home standby can handle computers and electronics. A home standby generator that has been properly installed and adjusted can often provide exceptional power quality. Larger commercial generators that are liquid-cooled are best suited for the job. If you have extensive computer, UPS, or server needs, it is in your best interest to have a professional power systems engineer evaluate your needs and recommend the correct generator - Make sure they will stand behind their recommendations! back to top
- Does a generator installation require Town Permint?
Yes. Most towns require that you obtain a Building Permit prior to the installation of a permanent generator. Don't let the "other" guys tell you that you town doesn't require a building permit! Unfortunately, there are plenty of "hacks" out there that install generators without obtaining a permit just to avoid another fee. In reality, obtaining a Building Permit is for your safety! By requiring a Building Permit, most towns will also require an Electrical Inspection - this is also for your safety. If your contractor wants to skip these steps show them the door - they aren't looking out for your best interest. back to top
- How long will it take to install a generator?
Portable generators with manual transfer switches can be installed in as little as two hours. A typical automatic home standby generator installation can be completed within one day with a professional crew. Larger generators generally take longer due to engineering, re-design of electrical distribution and installation time. back to top
- What kind of warranty is offered?
Each manufacturer is slightly different. Most generators will come with a minimum of two years parts and labor warranty coverage. It is important to consider this coverage and understand what is and what is not covered when you are making a purchase. New York State SitePower Corp. is an authorized service dealer for the products we sell. In addition, we also offer extended warranty programs as an additional service to our customers. back to top
- Who will maintain my generator once it has been installed?
You have two options: You can elect to complete preventative maintenance yourself, or you may choose to have us do it for you. New York State SitePower includes the first year of maintenance with your installation - this includes two visits. After the first year, we recommend that a factory trained & autorized dealer perform preventative maintenance. Your dealer knows the most intricate details of your system and can often detect small problems before they become large headaches. We are proud to announce that we have kept our rates very competitive for maintenance services. We can pass these savings on to our customers because of the volume of units we maintain each year. back to top
- My brother is an electrician. He can install this, right?
Your brother may be the best electrician in town. The term "Electrician" is broad. Electricians work in diverse fields from Maintenance & Construction, Service & Troubleshooting to Specialty Markets. While one electrician may be proficient in his or her particular field, chances are that they may be less proficient in another area. Generators & power generation equipment require specialized knowledge, tools and practices. Experience proves that often you would spend more money, and experience more headaches having a "handyman" install your generator, than hiring a qualified, proficient professional at the beginning of the project. A professional will understand the most intricate operations of your power generation system - your project will be done right the first time with nothing left to chance. back to top
- My generator was installed by another company - Can you service it?
Yes. We service all major brands of power generation equipment and transfer switches. We offer a complimentary inspection of your equipment. Scheduled Maintenance Service, Extended Warranty Programs and Emergency Service are all examples of what we do every day. back to top
- I haven't heard my automatic generator do its exercise - What's wrong?
If your generator normally runs an exercise cycle, and you haven't heard it run during its scheduled time, you may need service. Your generator is designed to shut itself down when it detects a fault - the generator may be in "fault" mode, which normally requires an inspection by a service technician. Don't wait to call for service, call today. In addition we now offer a device that will monitor your generator to be SURE that it is performing as designed. No more false sense of security, you'll KNOW that your system is ready to perform when needed. Contact us for details. back to top
- Do you have an online store?
In the past we have successfully sold generators and parts over the Internet. At this time we feel that the importance of actually knowing our customers outweighs simply closing a sale. While it's easy to hide behind a website and sell to people in another state, we ask ourselves: How do you effectively know, understand & support that customer - the answer is: Its almost impossible to have control over that. We're sticking to the old fashioned principle of actually knowing our customers and being able to effectively support them and their products. Give a call, send an e-mail we would be glad to meet with you, or take your order over the phone. back to top
- Who is your competition?
We don't have competition. We have colleagues. We believe in strength through our relationships with fellow contractors. The fact is, most contractors that specialize in the generator field all know one another well. Most of us get along well, share ideas and continually benefit through shared experiences. Sure, there's a few that think they rule the industry and that nobody can possibly be better than them, but they are in a world by themselves - with no colleagues, ...or back-up for that matter. It is in your best interest to choose a contractor that is well connected & more importantly, well respected in the industry. You'll benefit from the experience of your contractor AND their colleagues. In fact, if you're looking for three prices, we'll actually recommend other trusted contractors that can provide the same quality and service! back to top
- Your "competitors" are on TV - where are you?
Big advertising is big expensive there is simply no way around it. Our customers are smart. They know that the extraordinary cost of advertising on Television and mainstream Radio advertising is ultimately passed on to them. It is for that reason that we invest in our customers, not fancy advertising with big companies. A happy customer is our best advertising. Let the other guys pay the big advertising bill & pass it on to their customers; we understand that you're smarter than that. back to top
- What is the difference between an air-cooled & a liquid-cooled generator?
Air-Cooled generators are smaller generator usually ranging between 6 & 20kW. These generator use "lawnmower" type engines. The expected lifespan of an air-cooled generator is 2000-3000 hours. Liquid-Cooled generators are larger generators ranging from 18 kilowatt to over 1 megawatt. Smaller Liquid cooled generators use automotive style engines with a typical lifespan of 6000 to 8000 hours. Larger Liquid cooled generators typically use truck engines running Natural Gas or Diesel. A typical lifespan for a diesel generator can exceed 20,000 hours. The largest generators in this class utilize locomotive engines powered by diesel or a combination of Natural gas & diesel otherwise known as "bi-fuel". back to top
- Air-Cooled or Liquid-Cooled for my business?
That depends on several factors including but not limited to the size of your business, the sizes and types of electrical loads served, and your expectations of the generator. There is no single correct answer here. For example, one local "generator guy" swears that an "Air-cooled solution is appropriate for most businesses". This same contractor has also installed air-cooled generators in several applications that clearly would have realized the benefits of a liquid-cooled generator. back to top
- If I call you for service, do you REALLY expect to get paid?
Yes, actually we do. If you have an existing NET30 account with us, we can invoice you, however with all other work, payment is expected upon completion unless prior arrangements have been made. Prompt payment keeps everything running efficiently and keeps your costs down. We provide a professional service, and we guarantee our installations & repairs. Our Technicians are trained / licensed electricians and Factory Certified generator Technicians; We don't use subcontractors or apprentices. Providing skilled people isn't free - so unfortunately, we can't work for free. back to top
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