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Plumber: Hurricane season brings in generator questions

Last updated on 17/11/2020

Q: Hi Ed, I live on the East Coast and depend on a “portable” generator to get me through hurricane season. I now plan to upgrade to a “standby” generator, but need help. Can you talk about sizing up a home generator to meet your needs? Donald, Florida

A: As a pipefitter I have experience with standby generators since many residential standby generators run on natural or propane gas. Also, since standby generators are permanently installed to a homes electrical system, automatic operation is another great feature.

For sizing, the standard measure for generators is “kw” and that stands for kilowatt or 1,000 watts. Residential standby generators can range from 6kw to 20kw and even larger if needed. Issues that determine size can be the electrical load needed for your home or if you want to power the whole house or just selected circuits. That’s where your local generator dealer/installer comes in to do a site visit.

Bottom line: Work with a licensed professional to size and install a standby generator so you’ll never be left in dark.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write [email protected] Always consult local contractors and codes.