I plan to run my generator on propane, how large a tank do I need?

This depends on both the size of your generator and how long you plan on running it for. For most home usages we recommend either a 120 gallon tank for short outages (1-2 days) or a 50 gallon tank for more extended time periods (8-10 days).

Here are more exact estimates based on the size of your generator and assuming an average 50% load on the generator during the outage.

22kw Generac: 48 hours on 120 gallon tank / 197 hours on a 500 gallon tank

20kw Generac: 50 hours on 120 gallon tank / 210 hours on a 500 gallon tank

16kw Generac: 59 hours on 120 gallon tank / 246 hours on a 500 gallon tank

7.5kw Generac: 138 hours on 120 gallon tank / 574 hours on a 500 gallon tank

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Should I use Natural Gas or Propane to fuel my generator?

This depends entirely on your preference is or what pre-existing fuel type you may have already available at your home.

In general propane is a slightly more commonly available and customers can contact their propane provider directly to upgrade the size of the fuel tank and make arrangements to have a line added for the generator. Initial installation costs for the propane line tend to be a bit cheaper but propane is more expensive than natural gas over the long term if you will be using the generator for extended periods of time. Additionally the size of the fuel tank will determine how long your generator can run during an outage.

Natural gas installation costs a bit more but the fuel cost of natural gas is generally lower. As long as the supply of natural gas is uninterrupted your generator will continue to work.

Your generator will perform well on either fuel so many people select the fuel that they already use in their home, especially if the generator is intended for emergency back-up power and will not be used on a regular basis.

Both fuel types require a two-tiered inspection from county permitting offices. One when the fuel line is prepped and ready to connect and a second final inspection once both the generator and fuel source are connected.

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Will my power be off while installing my generator?

For safety, your main electrical power will need to be turned off while connecting the transfer switch and other components of your generator. This is generally done on the second day of installation and your power will be off for part or most of the day while work is completed. Please plan accordingly as hvac systems, refrigerators and other electrical appliances will not be available during this time.

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What is the process for setting up my whole home generator? How long will it take?

After accepting your generator proposal and making a few key decisions about fuel type and permitting we are generally able to install your new generator system in 4-5 weeks after receiving your deposit. Decisions about what type of fuel and if the homeowner is managing any fuel contractors or permitting will impact this timeframe.

Homeowners should allow up to 2-4 weeks to order materials, apply for the required permits, and co-ordinate schedules with a fuel contractor and then the installation is scheduled and can generally be completed in a week.

Installing a standby generator that is connected to you home requires careful coordination of the fuel contractor, Dynamic Electric and county permitting departments.  If homeowners decide to manage their own fuel contractor or the permitting process they may need additional time to gather quotes and manage schedules so should adjust their timeframe as needed. 

Assuming that Dynamic Electric is managing the fuel contractor and permitting, here is what to expect:

Weeks 2-4 after deposit is received

Dynamic Electric orders the generator and all required parts and materials.

Permit requests are submitted to the appropriate county offices.

Dynamic Electric contacts the fuel sub contractor (Propane or Natural Gas) and schedules installation of service lines with them.

Parts and materials arrive at Dynamic Electric and are staged for install day

Depending on scheduling needs the fuel contractor may come out and set up the service lines prior to Dynamic Electric's install date but in most cases we like to do everything the same week.

Week of Installation:

Install Day 1:  Generator is delivered to home and placed on service pad, leveled and all appropriate lines and materials are laid out for installation. Fuel Contractor sets up new line and preps for first inspection.

Install Day 2: Inspection of fuel line is completed. Transfer switch and electrical connections for generator are completed. Power to the home will be turned off for part or most of the day while this work is completed.

Install Day 3: Fuel contractor connects fuel to generator.

Install Day 4: Final inspection of fuel line and generator is completed. Depending on your county this may be a single inspection or may be two different inspectors.

Install Day 5: Start up test and run through of generator systems by Dynamic Electric.

Your back-up generator is now ready to go!

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Does this work require a permit?

Yes, installing a permanent standby generator always required a permit for the electrical connections and another permit for the fuel connection. We pull our own electrical permit and call for our own inspections after the work is complete. Fuel permits are acquired by the fuel provider but we can also provide a turnkey solution to work directly with your fuel provider at an additional cost and manage their installation as well.

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Can I plug a portable generator into my home electricity to run essentials?

This may be a great option for customers who do not need to run many items or are not ready for the expense of a dedicated standby generator. There are some great portable generators on the market that can be used for emergency power in the home as well as more common recreational uses.

Some customers prefer this option because they do not have natural gas or propane available at their home and are more comfortable running a gas powered generator rather than adding natural gas or propane service to their home.

What you will be able to run will depend on the size of your generator but even smaller models (2500-3000 watts) can be capable of providing electricity for basic household needs like a refrigerator, coffee pot and some lights during a power outage.

For lights and small appliance, it may be easiest to use the outlets provided on the generator and simply run an extension cord inside to the appliances. Remember, generators should never be operated inside the home and use caution to not overload an extension cord by plugging to many items into it.

If you would like to be able to run larger appliance like your refrigerator or don't want to mess with extension cords, you can connect the generator directly to your panel box and use it to run a limited number of breakers. (Your refrigerator and living room lights for example.)

In order to do this you will need a transfer switch to regulate receiving power from the generator into your electrical panel.

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What is a transfer switch?

A transfer switch is a switch that moves electrical load between two different sources, normally between a generator and an electrical panel/utility line.

Transfer switches can be automatic (ATS) (common with standby generators) or manual which require you to physically move the switch when you want to redirect the source of electricity. Both types ensure that power is not backfed to the generator or utility line when changing back and forth.

There are many options available and correct selection will depend on your specific home's needs.

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