Thursday, October 10, 2013

Installing a Transfer Standby Generator

If you are lucky to have a natural gas line in your neighborhood, that you can connect to your house, a standby transfer generator can be connected to your power system.  The Jarvis house is in a very old neighborhood and has a gas powered steam boiler, gas fired water heater and gas range, so the natural gas line to the structure is already there.
After two major hurricane power outages, I called MTS Power systems of Farmingdale, Long Island.  Their specialty is mainly this type of construction.  When I called their office, the message said, " sales, parts and service."  I knew that they would be there for me if I needed them in the future.
A concrete pad was placed on the soil.  The contractor selected the location of the generator respecting the parameters of the town's code, five feet from the structure and five or so feet from the lot line, and behind the house.
 The Kohler generator.
Placing it on the slab.
Bolting it to the slab.

 The generator is rather like having a two cylinder car in the back yard, with a battery, oil and air filter.

Installing the battery.

Next the plumbing materials were delivered.  I upgraded my electric service from 100 amps to 200 amps, since the licensed electricians were there anyway.

 Mr. Plumber, the gas line specialist came to install the gas lines.
 Pipe cutter.
 The tech used a large drill to make an opening through the brick foundation.

 He installed a turn off valve for the new gas line.
After running a long gas line through the basement,  an opening was made for the line leading to the generator.

 The line went underground from the foundation to the generator.

 Making the gas connections.
The plumbers leave for now.
 The original electric panel.
 More pipes.
 The electrical contractors, Go West Electric, unload
 and start to install the upgraded electrical line.
They discovered that my electrical line from the street pole was not correctly connected, and that my power was running off the ground.  The Long Island Power Authority came very quickly to fix the connection.

 The parts for the new electrical box.
 The electrician worked in the basement to connect the new panel and the new transfer switch box.  They reinforced the backing for the boxes with plywood and 2x4's.
 The new outside electrical box.

 The new panels.
 Testing the gas line.

 Running the electrical  line for the generator underground.
 Another hole in the foundation for the electrical wires.
 Pulling the electrical wired to the generator.
 Connecting them to a splitter box on the side of the house.

 Back with the plumbers to ready the line for the town inspector.
 The stake marks the ground.
 Passing the inspection.
Covering up the trench.
 National Grid, the gas provider comes to upgrade the meter.
 He finishes a nice job,
 and relights the boiler in the basement.
 The keypad inside the generator which was set for a 9:00 am exercise run  once each week.  It runs this cycle for around 20 minutes and is very quiet.  All in all, the contractors were exceptionally professional, even artistic, in the way that they connected the lines.  Everything that was done made sense, and was done so that my questions were answered.   It took several weeks to do this job, mainly because I wanted to get the Town's permits and regulations followed.  I would highly recommend MTS Power systems and their sub contractors.  They put up with my  questions and endless picture taking.  But since I am not the only person who wonders about what might be involved with a job like this, we all parted as friends, and I will sign up for an annual service contract.
 I started to place bricks around the generator mainly to keep the soil from splashing up. I will finish the bricks and add some plants near by, but not too close.