Author Topic: Thoughts on Backup Power (Generator) - Can your Family Operate it Without You?  (Read 307 times)

Offline Citizen Zero

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When it comes to backup power generators I have found one thing to be pretty much inevitable, the power seems to go out more often when I am out of town on travel and it is my better half that actually needs to utilize it.

That being said, I have put a lot of effort into making a backup power system that is as reliable as it can be when it comes to commercial power failures. When it comes to the person that is the one that actually designs and installs the alternate power system for a dwelling THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND IT 100%. For those in this particular audience that I am assuming that it is someone in the household that has actually designed and implemented the backup power solution (though this may not be the case in all instances), while the actual operator may be a total novice when it comes to powering the dwelling during a commercial power failure.

What I am addressing here is the other members of the household that may need to operate the backup power system in your absence, yes it happens (in my case more often than not). When you have a backup generator installed it is very important that all eligible members of the family are familiar with its operation and house hookup to get the juice flowing again as well as safety information that will help them when something goes terribly sideways (aka. fire or any similar catastrophic failure of said generator – it happens).

Number one priority:
Create a checklist for the operation of the backup power source (aka. generator). This needs to include detailed start and shutdown procedures as well as power transfer procedures that the operator needs to follow, as well as warnings and caveats for things that may go wrong if proper procedures are not followed. A catastrophic failure due to operator error will literally leave you in the dark!

Number two Priority:

Document fuel transfer! This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for those that choose to run consumer grade generators. Cool down time and the like need to be observed per the manufactures recommendations (aka gasoline powered gen sets). Gasoline can be very volatile when introduced to an already warm/hot tank that was previously restricted by the fuel cap on the unit, the vapors present when refueling a warm (at temperature) gasoline generator are more than explosive!

Yeah, I know that this is sounding a bit corporate or military in nature, but processes and procedures that are well documented, and observed, by operators of the backup power solution are the key to success or total failure.

I am sure that most here have already assessed their needs, or are in the process of assessing their needs, when it comes to backup power. Planning ahead is essential whether you are planning for a short outage of a few days or an extended outage of months or more.

These thoughts have surfaced in light of me introducing an new generator to the household, the changes are night and day compared to the previous generator that we had.

As always, just my $.02
I may be wrong, or I may be right. Only time will tell.