Generators

There is a wide range of generators ranging from handheld inverter generators with capacities under 1000 watts to standby generators capable of handling over 50,000 watts. Accordingly, several criteria are used to evaluate the best system for each circumstance.

Fuel Type, Consumption, and Supply:

Before deciding on a generator, calculate its fuel consumption versus available supply. The less fuel consumed and the larger the fuel reserve, the longer the supply will last in the aftermath of a storm or other emergency. As a general rule, an engine running at 1800 RPM will consume less fuel than one operating at 3600 RPM. Engines running at higher RPMs typically require greater maintenance and have a shorter lifespan. Most portable generators run at 3600 RPM and use gasoline. Availability of fuel and safe storage are considerations. 

Standby generators typically operate at 1800 RPM and use natural gas, liquid propane (LP) or diesel. Natural gas avoids the issue of fuel storage, but requires the availability and connection to a natural gas line in your area, which can be expensive if a line is not nearby. LP fuel generators require the fuel to be stored in a tank, usually 500-1000 gallons for standby generators. Many residential appliations require the tank to be buried and the permitting issues of setbacks and easements must be satisfied.

Diesel is a clean and efficient alternative to other fuel types. Late model diesels use less fuel (typically 30 to 50% less) per Kw (kilowatt) generated than their natural gas or LP counterparts. In addition, most diesel units come with an attached base tank for fuel storage, eliminating the need for a separate tank to be installed or buried.

Noise:

Many municipalities have strict ordinances and sound limitations on a generators noise level. These are usually based on the units sound decibel level at the property line. Most standby units now come with a sound attenuated enclosure to help meet these restrictions.

Installation Time:

The installation of most standby units requires more lead time due to product availability, site preparation and permitting. Fully automatic whole house systems requires load calculations be submitted at the time of permitting, ensuring that the size of the generator is sufficient to transfer the “entire load” over to the generator.

 

PORTABLE GENERATORS

Portable generators are often associated with smaller units ranging in size from 3 to 6 Kw. We offer a wide range of portable generators ranging in size from 3 to 17Kw. The larger portables actually have enough power to start and run a small central AC unit along with several other essential emergency circuits such as lights and refrigeration. Most of our portables feature heavy-duty Vanguard, Honda or Kohler gasoline engines. We also offer a variety of fuel choices with a portable generator. Some units offer a tri-fuel feature, which means they will run on gasoline, LP or natural gas. Some of portable units also run on diesel featuring quality Lombardini engines.

STAND-BY GENERATORS

The standby generator is usually associated with a fully automatic whole house residential system. When utility power is lost, the system senses the loss in utility power and triggers the generator to start. Within a few seconds, AC power from the generator is transferred to your home, operating all or a select number of emer-gency circuits. This transfer of power from utility to generator is completely auto-matic and is made possible by means of a transfer switch.

Common fuel types for standby generators are Liquid Propane (LP), Natural Gas and Diesel. Smaller standby units (12 to 18 Kw) are usually air cooled and run at a speed of 3600 RPM. Larger standby units (20Kw and up) are usually liquid cooled and run at a speed of 1800 RPM. Fuel efficiency, longer life and quieter noise lev-els are most often associated with the slower running 1800 RPM generators.

 

 

MOBILE GENERATORS

Mobile units are great when installing a permanent generator is not feasible due to size or other restrictions. Mobile units are virtually a standby unit on wheels. They can be fueled by LP or natural gas using a quick connect system. They can also come equipped with a diesel belly tank, like the one pictured here. With a mobile unit, the only installation required is the electrical equipment. When a storm approaches, the unit is usually delivered to the residence or business and con-nected to the transfer switch (automatic or manual) using a simple cord configuration. These units are a unique option where space may be at a premium or local restric-tions will not allow the installation of a permanent unit.

TRANSFER SWITCHES

Transfer switches can be either automatic or manual depending on circumstance and budget. An automatic system is usually sized to power the entire home or business, making the transition between utility and generator power virtually unnoticeable. Transfer switches range in size from 100 Amps on up to accommodate your specific needs and can be mounted inside or outdoors depending on the installation requirements.

Automatic transfer switches require no human intervention for the transfer of power from utility to generator. Automatic transfer switches can be used to power an entire home or a sub-panel containing specific “emergency” circuits.

Manual transfer switches are more commonly used with portable generators and require the user to physically transfer the load from utility to generator power. Once on generator power, the user can manually “shed” the load by controlling which circuit breakers are left on and for how long to avoid overloading the unit. For example, if you know that running your air conditioner and hot water heater at the same time will likely overload the genera-tor, you simply manage the load by turning off the circuit breaker for the water heater while running the AC and vice versa.

 

 

MECHANICAL INTER-LOCKS

Mechanical interlocks are an affordable alternative if you are lean-ing towards the purchase of a portable generator and have a load center that contains a main breaker.

A mechanical interlock converts your breaker panel into a manual transfer switch as a safe and affordable way to enjoy many of the same benefits of a more expensive standby system for a fraction of the cost.

Client Installations:

 


17KW Guardian generator, Delray Beach


47Kw Cummins-Onan generator, Boynton Beach

 


60Kw Broadcrown diesel generator, Delray Beach


Two 200amp Cutler Hammer automatic transfer switches

 


500 gallon underground LP tank


45Kw Tradewinds, Ritz Carlton, Jupiter

 


125Kw Cummins-Onan with 500 gallon belly diesel tank, Boynton