What Are the Benefits of Having a Generator at Home?

Video Transcription

Dan Razzano: Hi, I’m Dan Razzano from Razzano Homes and Remodelers. We’re here today to talk with Sean Duff from Duff’s Power Equipment about the benefits of having a generator. Sean, how you doing? Thanks for coming today.

Sean Duff: Thanks for having me, Dan.

Dan Razzano: Could you tell us some of the benefits for having a generator for back-up at your home?

Sean Duff: Yes, absolutely. Most of the time, what we see in the market is people are most concerned with their sump pump in their basement. A storm comes through and there’s a high water table and next thing you know the pump is not working. They put a remodeled basement in, and next thing you know, that’s all ruined because the pump never came on. A lot of other reasons we put generators in is because people have elderly parents at home, and they’re just worried about the heat being on.

Dan Razzano: Or conditions.

Sean Duff: Whatever reason, yes absolutely.

Dan Razzano: What would be some of the different types of fuel that would power the generators? Can you install the generators anywhere and how do they operate?

Sean Duff: For the most part, by code we have to be five feet from any window, so lot of times, when you have landscaping and the customer already has a preconceived idea where they want it, sometimes it can’t always go there because of code.

Dan Razzano: Right.

Sean Duff: Fuel options are the three big ones – liquid propane, natural gas, and diesel. For most residential homes we use propane or natural gas.

Dan Razzano: Right.

Sean Duff: When you put a natural gas generator in, you are working off a natural gas grid. If you’re going to put a generator in to back-up your electrical grid, then why not be a little safer and get away from the natural gas grid, which could also in some catastrophic event go down. Propane, yes it’s a truck delivery, but if you have a big enough tank, you can run four or five days off of your generator off of that propane tank.

Dan Razzano: Yes.

Sean Duff: Where you’re kind of relying on the natural gas grid, that’s usually a one or two day thing, but customers are different. They plan for different reasons.

Dan Razzano: So even if the house had the ability to have natural gas run to it, you would still recommend that the customer have some kind of propane tank that’s exclusive for the generator?

Sean Duff: Of course. But 90% of the time, the customer just wants the simple installation of going with natural gas, and I don’t talk them out of it. But if you’re going to put the propane tanks in, then why not go with the propane? You know what I mean?

Dan Razzano: So if the customer has natural gas brought into their home already and it’s existing, you would still recommend that they go with the propane generator.

Sean Duff: Yes, I suggest it. Just because I do feel like we are building another grid of natural gas which you’re relying on that natural gas delivery being underground and always being readily available.

Dan Razzano: Right.

Sean Duff: We don’t know, earthquake, some type of earth movement where if you break a main gas line…

Dan Razzano: Natural disaster.

Sean Duff: Yes, you could have all the generators you want, but they’re not going to run if they’re on natural gas.

Dan Razzano: Or a municipal gas line failure for whatever reason, something like that.

Sean Duff: Correct. Fire departments, for instance, we put them all on diesel generators, because they’re not reliant on the natural gas grid.

Dan Razzano: They go with their own energy source basically.

Sean Duff: Correct. Their own fuel.

Dan Razzano: Their own fuel source.

Sean Duff: Yes, absolutely. So that’s always where we start with that, and that’s what I try to do with our customers.

Dan Razzano: Are there any innovative technologies that would really benefit the customer at this point that have come a long way since installing generators maybe 10 or 20 years ago?

Sean Duff: Yes, there’s a couple. The biggest one, the first one, is they now have a gen ready load center that has your transfer switch which brings you from utility to generator power right there built into your circuit breaker panel.

Dan Razzano: Right.

Sean Duff: Which we call a load center.

Dan Razzano: So that is basically your electrical box?

Sean Duff: Correct.

Dan Razzano: So instead of installing a regular electrical box, you want to install an electrical box that’s already designed to handle a generator, and then essentially your normal breakers and your normal wiring would get wired into this box.

Sean Duff: Right.

Dan Razzano: Then let’s say you install a generator, now you can install a generator a year from now, and it’ll just plug right in?

Sean Duff: Yes, it’s just giving you the availability when you’re ready. The transfer switch is already there. Every time a generator comes on, you have to find a way to transfer or make a switch that goes from the generator to the house, and then back to utility. This has it already built into one.

Dan Razzano: Right.

Sean Duff: Anytime you’re upgrading your service, anytime you have an electrician coming in doing any kind of big upgrades, it’s good to have the generator ready load center put right in, and then if you wait three years down the road, I can come in and just put the generator, wire it right into that transfer switch, and it saves so much on installation time and cost.

Dan Razzano: So it would be very beneficial for the customer.

Sean Duff: Absolutely.

Dan Razzano: Whether they’re building a new home or remodeling, that they work with us, work with our electrician, work with you all at the same time and we can coordinate this together to make it more of a seamless approach.

Sean Duff: Absolutely. And it’s a 200 amp ready switch, so it handles what every customer’s pretty much using anyway. Now you can go to 400 amp, which is much bigger than the typical ones you see in the normal residential house, but that’s a totally different topic. But for most of the ones you see residential wise, this will handle all of that.

Dan Razzano: Right. So Sean, what is it that you really, genuinely like about installing generators?

Sean Duff: For me, it’s an industry thing. It takes two very technical trades and it combines them. So you’ve got to be an electrician, and you’ve got to be a mechanic. Because that generator incorporates both of those.

Dan Razzano: Okay.

Sean Duff: A lot of electricians will install a generator, yet they don’t service them. Because the mechanical side is there, the engine part of it.

Dan Razzano: Yes.

Sean Duff: I have to be very knowledgeable and very good about how those two things work together, and there are not a lot of us out there. There are not a lot of generator technicians out there.

Dan Razzano: Yes.

Sean Duff: And when you combine those two things and you’re also providing a good service for homeowners, it’s a win win. I feel everyday like I’m not going to work. I love what I do and I think there’s a lot of growth and potential for anything I do with my customers out there.

Dan Razzano: Sean, thanks again for coming in. This is Sean Duff from Duff’s Power Equipment here to talk about the benefits to having a generator for your home. I’m Dan Razzano from Razzano Homes and Remodelers. Thanks again, and we’ll see you next time.

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