Outstanding Advice: Why Are Some Generator Installations So Much Cheaper?

Rob Cartelli here, owner of the Outstanding Plumber! I’ve got some information that I know homeowners in Suffolk County need to hear, so listen in: this is about a bad practice that some untrustworthy service professionals are pulling that I want you to be on the look-out for! Sometimes cheaper service isn’t always the best way to go — especially when your home’s safety is on the line.

So you’re considering buying a standby generator. Excellent! However, I know that researching this can be a long process. There’s a lot to consider, not least of all the price of the initial installation. Some people are put off by that original price-tag, but smart homeowners realize that a gas-powered generator is not a purchase but an investment in more reliable security and utilities. With a properly installed generator, you won’t need to worry about your security system going down or your computer crashing. You’ll have safe and affordable back-up energy in the event of any black-out.

However, even the smartest buyers are falling for the new scam — which results in them getting a generator installed for less but having it not work properly in the long run. Here’s why you need to be skeptical of that low price tag:

The Generator Installation Scam: Doing it WRONG for Less
When you receive a generator quote, you might try somewhere else to see if you can get a lower price. That’s fine, and you should look for affordable service, but first make sure you aren’t getting a lesser product! Some contractors will tell you that they can cut your price down by not performing a gas upgrade to accompany the equipment upgrade on your home. They’ll tell you it isn’t necessary, but they could be more wrong.

To help you understand what I mean, let’s use an analogy:

Imagine this scenario: you’re buying a car, and you’re getting a bunch of different quotes. One guy is going to sell you the car you want for $10,000 — “Not bad,” you think, but you’ll try to find better. Finally you find a guy who says he’s going to sell you the car for $7,000, and you think, “Whoa, that’s great! What’s the catch?” And he’ll say, “There’s no catch at all! You get the whole car for just $7,000 — we just didn’t upgrade the gas tank, so it only holds about 2 gallons.”

A car with a 2 gallon gas tank isn’t going to get you very far. Not only are you going to have to refill your tank every few dozen miles, but your going to risk doing serious damage to the machine! You would never buy that car.

But that’s exactly the type of product you’re getting if you buy a standby generator without a gas meter upgrade.

Here’s are some of the facts that a dishonest contractor won’t tell you:

  • National Grid provides home gas meters in the following sizes: 250, 400, 600, and 800 BTUs
  • The standard home meter supplies 250,000 BTUs
  • A standby gas generator at peak demand uses about 198,000 BTUs, leaving about 52,000 remaining
  • Your home’s water heater takes about 50,000 BTUs — now there’s practically nothing left!
  • Add a gas boiler or other gas appliance and your generator just won’t work.

Reaching the end of your meter’s BTU limit doesn’t just mean you run out of power. It could potentially do serious damage to your appliances. A gas furnace, for instance, that is exceeding or drawing close to its BTU constraints tends to create an excess of soot and burn improperly. When your heat exchanger is having problems, a whole host of inconvenient and even dangerous problems can result: your heating can become imbalanced between rooms, fail altogether, contaminate your air quality, or even start to release carbon monoxide into your home.

Additionally, many manufacturers will void your warranty if your appliances are running with the wrong BTU scale. For instance, most water heater companies require that your have 5.0 water columns at minimum or else they won’t provide your replacement. They’re always looking for excuses to drop the warranty commitment, and this scam leaves you completely vulnerable!

Don’t get a generator installation without the proper meter upgrade. If a contractor offers you a number that doesn’t include proper meter adjustment, look somewhere else. Do the process right with the Outstanding Plumber. We offer 100% satisfaction guarantees on our services as well as warranties on all of our jobs. If you’re looking to get a generator installation done for your home this winter or if you have questions about the process and would like a consultation, call Outstanding today!

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