SMO Energy

Standby Generators

Standby Generator Servicing
in Southern Maryland

In the event of a power outage, a standby generator can keep your home connected and functioning. SMO Energy provides complete standby backup generator services in Maryland. As your total home comfort provider, we offer a full suite of services including fuel delivery and gas piping. Standby generators can use natural gas or propane, allowing them to provide reliable energy when needed.

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Benefits of a Standby Home Generator

According to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), power outages are common across the state. Many power outages do not last for very long. But, there have been cases when people lost power to their homes for over a week. Even if it has been a while since your home has lost power due to a storm or for another reason, having a standby home generator installed can mean that you have a ready source of power when the electricity goes out.

Home generators are powered by either propane or natural gas, so they are ready to go even when the power grid is down. One way to think of a backup generator is as your home’s personal power plant. A generator will mean you have backup power when the main power supply is gone. Your home’s generator will kick on the instant you lose electrical power. It will keep your refrigerator, lights, air conditioning and any other electrical appliances operational.

At first, losing power to your home might not seem like that big of an issue. If the power only goes out for a short period, you typically do not have much to worry about. But when your home loses power for more than a few hours, several concerns come up. You cannot open the refrigerator or freezer to get food. If your stove or oven is electric, you cannot cook.

Many medical devices require a power source to operate, creating a genuine health hazard when the power is out for an extended amount of time. Communication can also be limited when there is no power. A home standby generator solves many of the problems created when there is a power outage. You can still use medical devices, listen to the radio and cook.

Another benefit of installing a home generator is that the generator is likely to have a long lifespan. A powerful generator can last for several decades if it is well-maintained. Maintaining a standby generator usually means scheduling an annual inspection. During a generator inspection, a technician will check the fuel piping, air ducts, wiring and more. They will also change the oil and filter.

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Common Questions About Standby Generators

A generator keeps your home powered up and operational even when the electricity has gone out. Standby generators are designed to turn on automatically once a power outage is detected. You do not need to connect the generator or power it up yourself. Standby generators usually run on either natural gas or propane gas and are connected to your home’s gas lines.

A standby home generator can power all of the appliances in your home, including energy-intensive appliances such as your air conditioning. It is essential to choose a generator that is big enough for your home and your power needs. Smaller units can be appropriate if you only want to keep critical appliances, like a sump pump or refrigerator, running. If you hope to keep everything in your home operational during a power outage, you will likely need a more powerful generator.

The cost of a standby generator depends on the size of the unit. A smaller unit, such as an 8-kilowatt hour model, will usually cost much less than an 80-kilowatt hour or 125-kilowatt hour model. Often, the price of the generator does not include the cost of installation. Another thing to consider when evaluating the cost of a generator is the cost to operate it. Larger, higher-powered generators will typically use more fuel than smaller units. We no longer sell standby generators, but we will service them!

A standby generator should not be too far away from your home, nor should it be too close to the house. Usually, generators should be at least 5 feet from any entrance or opening to the house. A generator also needs to be at least 5 feet away from flammable materials. In most cases, there are also code requirements that determine how far a generator can be from a propane tank. If you’re completing a standby generator replacement or installation with SMO Energy, we will consult with you about the perfect placement of your generator to ensure optimal performance and compliance will all local regulations.

Getting the placement of a generator right can be challenging. Ideally, the generator will be located in an area where any winds will blow exhaust away from your home’s windows and doors. The noise produced by the generator can be an issue in some cases. For that reason, you probably do not want to put your generator directly under a bedroom window or under a living room window. You might also want to place your generator as far away from your neighbors’ homes as possible. SMO Energy’s generator installation team will help you find the perfect spot to place your standby generator.

A well-maintained standby generator should not cause a power surge. If you do notice signs of power surges, such as lights that flicker or appliances that run unevenly, those signs can indicate that there is something wrong with the generator itself. An older generator is more likely to surge compared to a newer model. Surges are also more likely if the older model was not properly maintained. Other issues that can contribute to power surges include using the wrong type of fuel in the generator or worn out parts and components in the generator.

Water and electricity should not mix, so it is essential not to expose the inner workings of your generator to moisture or rain. However, standby generators are housed in waterproof, weather-resistant enclosures and are meant to be installed outdoors. You can usually use your standby generator when it is raining. Portable generators are a different story. They should not be used during wet or rainy conditions as they do not have the exterior protection that standby units have.

Since generators are meant to provide back-up or temporary power, they usually are not designed to run for long periods, such as weeks. That is particularly true of air-cooled generators, which use air pulled from the atmosphere to keep the engine and internal components from overheating. Many portable generators are air-cooled. Smaller standby generators, such as those under 22-kilowatt hours, can also be air-cooled.

A general recommendation is to check on your generator every eight to 24 hours while it is operating. If you are not sure how long your generator should run, it is a good idea to consult the owner’s manual or to speak to an energy consultant from SMO Energy.

A standby generator that is designed to keep your entire home operational during a power outage can usually run continuously for days or in extreme cases, even weeks. You might need to inspect your generator from time to time while it is running to confirm that its oil levels are adequate and that the filter does not need replacement.

One factor that determines how long your generator will run is the amount of fuel available. If your generator is connected to a natural gas line, fuel should be readily and continually available, unless there is an issue with the line itself. How long a generator connected to a propane gas tank can operate depends on how much propane is in the tank or the size of the tank itself.

Both a standby and a portable generator will provide power when none is otherwise available. The two types of generator vary considerably in terms of price, size and operation. A standby generator is usually designed to power on when the electrical supply to your home is cut. Once your usual power supply returns, the generator automatically powers down. A portable generator requires manual operation. You will need to turn it on yourself if your home loses power.

While standby generators become a part of your home after installation, you can move a portable generator around. Many models are on wheels and can be used to provide electrical power when outdoors, such as during a camping trip or at a job site.

Portable generators typically use gasoline for fuel, while a standby generator is likely to run on either natural gas or propane. Portable generators usually have a much lower price compared to a standby generator, but they do not provide power for as long as a standby generator can.

Choosing the oil for your generator is a bit like choosing the oil for your car. You want to use the type of oil recommended by the generator’s manual. It is not a good idea to swap out the oil recommended with another type. Kohler generators use 5W-30 full-synthetic oil. The manufacturer notes that a synthetic blend can be used in its generators, but it strongly recommends using full-synthetic oil for the best results.

On days when you need to use the generator, it is important to check the oil. If you have to use your generator for several days in a row, you will want to have a technician come out and change the oil and the filter after about a week of use.

Although SMO Energy does not offer service agreements for generators, we do install Kohler generators. Every Kohler generator we install comes with a five-year/2,000-hours warranty, allowing you to enjoy years of service from your generator. If your generator is powered by propane gas, SMO Energy offers dependable propane delivery in Southern Maryland, Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County. We will deliver propane to your home on a schedule that works for you. Our free monthly payment plan option helps you fit the cost of fueling your home into your budget.

Signs You May Need a New Backup Generator

If you already have a generator installed at your home, you most likely know how valuable it can be when there is a power outage, especially if that power outage lasts for more than a few hours. Although generators do have long lifespans and can often withstand tens of thousands of hours of use, they do wear out.

Usually, if your generator is on its last legs or is due for a replacement, it will give you a few signs. One of those signs is if the generator does not automatically power on when your home loses power. Another sign that your generator is nearing the end of its life is if it starts to use more fuel when operating compared to before. If you notice a spike in your gas bill or suspect that your propane tank is emptying quickly, it could be because of your generator.

Another indication that your generator might need replacement is when it seems to provide less power than expected. If you purchased a standby generator with enough kilowatt-hours to power your entire home, and it is struggling to keep the lights on, it is probably time for a replacement.

Your generator might be acting up or not performing optimally. But you might not be sure whether it is time to replace it or if the generator just needs some attention and maintenance. If your energy bills have increased, if the generator does not power on immediately or if you notice any other causes of concern, contact SMO Energy. One of our certified technicians will visit your home, inspect your generator and let you know what the best next steps are.

Contact SMO Energy for Standby Generator Servicing in Southern Maryland

When the power goes out, you want to have something that keeps your home running smoothly. A standby generator will keep your appliances humming along when the electricity goes out. To learn more about your standby generator options, reach out to SMO Energy today.

Our Service Locations in Southern Maryland:

SMO Energy serves residents across Southern Maryland. We work with homes and businesses in:

  • St. Mary’s County
  • Anne Arundel County
  • Prince George’s County
  • Charles County
  • Calvert County

 

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