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Backup Generator for Residential Purposes

By CSG Electric

What Is the Cost of Installing a Backup Generator for Residential Purposes?

Canada is no stranger to extreme changes in weather depending on the season. It follows that air-conditioning and heating systems are installed in houses as a solution for the changes in temperature. People just want to rest and be comfortable when they are inside their houses.

Canada is also known for its well-maintained power grids to prevent power outages. However, as nothing is perfect, outages still do occur. Especially during times wherein, the country is hit with strong storms and hurricanes, these may cause damage to electrical lines and poles. Nothing annoys people more than having no power. To avoid such from happening, a solution for this is by installing a standby backup generator for your house.

What Is a Backup Generator?

A generator is a machine used as a back-up electrical power system. In layman’s terms, it converts mechanical energy into electricity. It is considered safety equipment because it will power up your appliances and lights during power outages which may help prevent any accidents. This is normally found being used in commercial buildings. As it is important for work to continue even if there are electrical issues, companies more often than not are forced to install one for their own benefit. Even so, backup generators for residential use are also on the rise.

Types of Generators for Home Use

Having a vast development within the industry concerning back-up electricity, many types of generators have been introduced in the market. From differences in their sizes to the differences in the source being used to power the generators, each has its advantages and disadvantages. However, for home use, there are two types of generators that you may choose – portable and standby.

Portable Home Generator

This type of generator for your home is usually powered by natural gas or diesel. Start portable generators are by manually pulling a chord or, if available, turning on a switch. The internal combustion engine turns the alternator, which converts the mechanical energy into electricity. The resulting electricity is then converted to a voltage that is usable when fed into the different electrical appliances in the house.

Pros

  • Can be transferred to different locations.
  • Easily replaced.
  • Costs cheaper than standby generators.
  • Can also be used in construction projects, camping vacations, or even as power for boats.

Cons

  • The cheaper ones are known to be loud.
  • Since it has a relatively small size for easier movement, it is usually limited to powering smaller appliances. This may become an issue with your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Depending on the load, it may only run for a few hours.
  • It has to be turned on manually when there is a power failure, which adds a health risk to the person. There is a chance for the smell of gasoline to be emitted, most especially when there are leaks in the fuel refilling system of the generator.

Home Standby Generator

Standby generators are powered by a separate source, which may be natural gas, diesel, or propane. It is directly installed in the electrical panel of your house. Usually, it is partnered with an ATS (automatic transfer switch) or an MTS (manual transfer switch). For the ATS, when it detects that there is a power outage since there is no more electricity in the mainline connection to the power grid, it signals the standby generator to power up. This may happen in just a matter of seconds. Then power is supplied to the appliances.

Whenever electrical power from the power grid is sensed by the  ATS, it will send a signal to the standby generator to turn itself off and the ATS switches power consumption back to the power grid. For a setup using the MTS, you just have to flip the switch during a power outage to turn the standby generator on or off. This is why it is considered to be a backup generator.

Pros

  • It is known to emit less sound as a portable generator.
  • With the help of the ATS, the generator is smart enough to know when there is a power outage and will automatically provide electricity to your appliances.
  • If you are using a generator powerful enough to power your refrigerator and freezer, then they will continue to work even during power outages.
  • Depending on the size of the tank, you can continuously run a standby generator for about 72 hours before the need to rest the engine and refuel the tank. There are even models available to run for a week or more.
  • It will save you from food spoilage due to power outages.

Cons

  • It costs more than a portable home backup generator.
  • If there are problems/issues with the unit, it cannot be replaced on the spot.
  • It takes some time to install.
  • You have to consider regular generator maintenance in its cost.

Home Backup Generator Installation Cost

Before deciding on having a backup generator installed in your house, consider first the help of a professional to do the work for you. The installation process needs to be done properly to avoid any hazards from happening whenever a power outage occurs. Since you will be dealing with electricity, you must make sure all the safety precautions are followed.

It would be best to contact an expert to evaluate the electricity consumption and setup of your appliance. This will decide how much load your generator needs to produce. To give you an idea of the estimate to install a backup generator, let us consider the following factors:

  • 30kW heavy-duty (this load is able to power all the appliances and any other things or systems that are using up electricity): CAD 13,000
  • The estimated whole-house generator installation costs: CAD 11,000

To compute the total cost of the project, you just have to add the price of the generator and the labour cost. The total cost would amount to CAD 26,000.

As it can be seen with the estimated cost to install a backup generator, the price may be a bit high. The computation was used to consider that everything in the house would be fully powered up even during a blackout. However, it is still your option if you wish to choose the necessary appliances that need power whenever you experience power outages.

In the long run, having a backup generator will give you multiple savings other than monetary related. When you consider all the work and resources wasted during power outages, these can be prevented with the installation of your own standby generator. Be ready for the extreme climate changes of Canada. Maintain an unending power supply at your house.

If you have more questions, please contact CSG Electric at 416 893 9205. Our expert electricians will help you identify the perfect solution to your requirements.

 

Related article: What is the Best Backup Generator for Commercial Offices

Cost of Aluminum Wiring

By CSG Electric

Is the Cost of Aluminum Wiring Worth It?

The installation of electrical wiring is one of the key components of constructing houses and residential or commercial buildings. While most people recognize copper wires – being widely-used – aluminum wiring is also an option. 

Both metals are highly conductive, so there is no issue with resistance or conductivity. However, there is plenty of debate on the quality of aluminum wires compared to copper. Typically, aluminum wiring costs less than copper wiring. Is price the only benefit, or does it have more to offer?

Differences Between Aluminum Wire and Copper Wire

A fundamental understanding of the key differences in the characteristics of aluminum and copper wires can help you choose the most suitable metal for your needs.

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is one of the characteristics that determine the durability of metals. In this regard, copper with a higher tensile strength than aluminum can better withstand being pulled or stretched without breaking. The importance of stress tolerance can be seen when you are setting wires into feeders and ports, in which they are less likely to break and pose a fire hazard.

Thermal Coefficient

Temperature affects the size of metals. As electricity passes through a wire, the temperature increases, resulting in the expansion of its size. Consequently, it raises the probability of the wire breaking at the joints and areas where there is splicing. Aluminum wire, in this regard, has a higher thermal coefficient compared to copper, and thus more propensity for changes in size.

Rust Conductibility

Metals are bound to rust over time and there is a difference between the conductibility of the rust that formed in copper and aluminum. The copper oxide formed when rusted is still electrically conductive, while the white oxide formed when aluminum rusts is not a very good electrical conductor. This issue can cause overheating in an aluminum wire.

 

Related article: Aluminum Wiring Toronto

 

Reasons Why Aluminum Wiring Should Be Chosen Over Copper Wiring

At first glance, it does appear that copper – as a material – is better than aluminum wiring. However, there are reasons why aluminum remains a solid alternative. It also helps that current technology and manufacturing processes are much better than it was decades ago.

Cost-effective

Ever since the early 1960s, copper wire has always been the more expensive between the two. This still carries up to the present time, which is why there are people who prefer to use aluminum wiring due to cost considerations.

Flexible

The flexibility of aluminum wire makes it easy to install especially in tight spaces. More importantly, the ease of installation also reduces the risk of damage.

Improved Connectors

The methods of installation and development of special connectors have made it safer to continue using aluminum wiring.

For example, there are now connectors for aluminum wiring in receptacles, electrical panels, breakers, switches,  twist-on wire connectors to minimize rusting, breaking, and heating up. As for the installation of aluminum wire into connectors, using screw-type connectors reduced commonly encountered problems in the past.

Size of Wire

The issue about conductibility between the copper and aluminum wiring was addressed when there was an increase in the size of the wire used. For a 14 gauge copper wire, its counterpart was a 12 gauge aluminum wire. The larger aluminum wiring used works exactly the same as the smaller copper wire. Furthermore, the use of newer types of aluminum alloy was implemented to improve the overall quality of aluminum wiring.

Rust Formation

With regards to the issue of losing conductibility as a result of rust, there is a special joint compound created and used on aluminum wiring to prevent rust from happening.

In the past, there may have been problems with aluminum wiring in the construction of buildings. However, with the advent of improvements in the aluminum wiring industry, the use of aluminum wire has become safer and more durable. Also, a highly trained professional electrician should be tasked to ensure that the electrical wiring is properly installed and thus avoid the risk of line breaks which might cause fire hazards.

Conductivity to Weight Ratio

Not many people are aware of the extensive use of aluminum wiring in power grids and airplanes. Looking at transmission and distribution lines, it is not difficult to surmise that the electrical wires used must be extremely heavy. In reality, many utility companies have and continue to use aluminum wiring due to its cost and weight advantages compared to copper wiring.

 

Related article: Commercial Electrical Maintenance Toronto

 

The Cost of Aluminum Wire Is a Huge Advantage

Using an aluminum wiring solution for your construction needs is very much worth it. On top of the fact that it is a much cheaper alternative to copper wiring, it is also safe, easy to install, and can last a long time.

Similar to copper wiring, regular checkup and maintenance from a licensed electrician are very much recommended to uphold the integrity of your electrical connection. Never forget that even the highest quality of products will eventually have wear and tear and only professionals and specialists can identify if there is a need to upgrade or rewire your electrical connection. Contact CSG Electric today!

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Backup Generator for Residential Purposes
What Is the Cost of Installing a Backup Generator for Residential Purposes?
Cost of Aluminum Wiring
Is the Cost of Aluminum Wiring Worth It?