Portable generators and standby generators are becoming increasingly popular because they can power some or all your home’s electricity needs in the rare event of an extended power outage. However, depending on your home’s needs, there are distinct differences between the two.
- A portable generator is able to power some of your home’s needs and is run on gasoline, diesel or propane. As its name suggests, it can be moved around as needed.
- A standby generator can power your whole home. However, unlike a portable generator it must be installed by a qualified licensed electrician and must include an automated transfer switch.
No matter which type you choose, there are some important things to know when it comes to operating them safely.
Portable Generator Safety
- Never use a generator in the garage or any enclosed spaces, including garages, because exhaust fumes can be deadly.
- Always set generators outdoors far enough away from the home to prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) buildup.
- Know your generator. Read all the information and materials provided with your generator and follow instructions regarding installation, safety, maintenance, and testing.
What about a Generlink Transfer Switch?
A Generlink Transfer Switch is a device that allows you to hook up a portable generator to your home as a source for backup power. The device is designed to connect directly to your existing CoServ meter and includes a plug for your generator. The transfer switch prevents electricity from flowing back on to the grid. CoServ requires that the Generlink be installed by a qualified licensed professional.
Standby or whole-home Generator Safety
A standby generator can power your whole home. However, unlike a portable generator it must be installed by a qualified licensed electrician and must include an automated transfer switch.
Why do I need an automated transfer switch?
Because these generators are connected to your home’s circuits, the transfer switch ensures that the generator will shut off when power is restored to the grid and will never send power back onto the grid, resulting in dangerous operating scenarios down line.
- In a worst-case scenario, electricity from the generator reaches the nearest transformer, which steps the electricity up to 14,000 volts, creating a hazard for the linemen working in the area.
To learn more about the requirements to install a standby generation system and safety precautions, please visit our Standby Generator page for more detailed information.
All Generator Safety
- Generator owners are responsible for providing and maintaining all equipment deemed necessary for the protection of member-owned property and operations.
- Generator owners are responsible for the installation and operation of the facility and will indemnify and hold CoServ harmless from liability for damage to property or person resulting from or arising out of or in any way connected with the installation, inspection, operation, maintenance, testing, and/or use of the generator.
Standby Generator FAQ
Yes, prior to installation, the Application for Operation of Customer-Owned Generation found on Page 16 in the Distributed Generation (DG) Manual should be completed and submitted to [email protected].
Yes, an electrician is required and should follow all applicable CoServ policies and the current National Electric Code.
Yes, generally the electrician you use will contract out the plumber for you, but that will be between your electrician and you.
Yes. However, CoServ requires that the Generlink be installed by a qualified licensed professional. Please visit CoServ.com/StandbyGeneration for more information.
Permits are required by most cities or towns within CoServ’s service territory. Please check with your local municipality to determine permitting requirements.