A generator allows you to easily generate electricity by yourself. The important thing to remember is that there are two types of generators:
If you are looking to get a generator, the first thing to do is to ask yourself what you want to use the unit for.
Are you intending to use the generator to supply a specific appliance?
In that case, a regular generator will do the trick. It will enable you to connect an electrical appliance to the generator using a simple extension cable.
Unless of course you are looking to continue doing what you were doing as always, as though the mains power had not been interrupted?
If you want to continue to have power throughout your home as a whole, or supply several appliances, changes will need to be made to your electric switchboard, and a change-over device will need to be put in place. In this case, an emergency power generator is your safest bet. The electrician will establish a direct connection between the emergency generator and your home power network. Please note: all changes made to your electrical installation need to comply with specific rules and regulations and your installation will need to be inspected.
The change-over device acts to disconnect your home installation from the public grid as soon as the emergency power generator kicks in, or reconnects your installation to the grid as soon as mains power is restored. This change-over device can be automatic or may need to be controlled manually.
See also: 'What should I do if there is a power cut?'
If you wish to connect the generator to your electric switchboard, these modifications need to comply with the rules set out in the AREI/RGIE - the Belgian General Regulations for Electrical Installations.
Next, an accredited technical assessment service will need to call round to your home to inspect your installation and make sure it complies with the AREI/RGIE rules.
In addition, an installation that enables you to simultaneously draw power from the power grid also needs to be reported to your distribution grid operator and comply with the provisions of Synergrid's C10/11 Technical Requirement.
Another consideration you will need to reckon with when buying a generator is the required power output.
One guideline to go by: if all you want to keep powered in case of a power outage are a few basic facilities such as lighting and your refrigerator, a 1.5 to 2 kVA power generating unit will cut it. The autonomy of generators ranges from 3 to 7 hours, depending on the machine.
A current generator has the major benefit that you will not be left without your electrically powered creature comforts for the 3-hour duration - which is how long the main power could be switched off at any one time during the winter ahead. However, this is offset by a number of considerable downsides.
Taking all of these elements into consideration, you will also find that getting a generator as a pro tem solution works out at a significant outlay. One that very likely will not ever earn itself back.
Finally, do not be blind to the fact that you are dealing with electricity.
Even though current generators are user-friendly enough, it is always advisable to get a professional electrician in to set up the installation when you are considering going down the generator route.
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