What I'm Seeing Now

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Generators

One thing that is getting more and more popular, and I am seeing more and more of, especially on new construction, is the installation of generators.

And of all sizes!

One house not long ago had a generator large enough to light up a small town!

This house is in rural Virginia, on the edge of the mountains, across the gravel road from a Black Angus ranch, and has its own transformer on the leaning pole at the edge of the road.

It is also 2 miles from the main highway, where the electric poles are substantially larger and stronger.

Electricity goes out a lot.  The homeowners built knowing that, and installed a propane-powered generator when they built the house.

And it's a beauty!

It provides 115amps of power during power outages.

The homeowner reports that it has been used many times.

One time it supplied power for over three days.

The house is equipped with two 200amp electric panel boxes, so it is a sizable house.

They chose what circuits to turn on when power goes out.

This can be altered by the new owners, but the generator now controls the AC main level, electric kitchen appliances, a dedicated freezer receptacle, office, master bedroom and bath, main level family room (with the large TV, of course!), the garage doors and a guest bedroom and bath.

If there is a power failure the unit turns on in 1/2 second. 

After power is restored it runs for 1/2 hour, just to make sure the power will stay on.

And it tests itself every Saturday at 10:30am for 1/2 hour!

We did NOT test it during the home inspection.  The seller asked that the buyers come back Saturday morning to see the test.

They readily agreed!

I think there is a plan to sit on the back deck and listen to the wind blow through the trees, sip something and talk.

This is the view from the back deck!

It isn't in yet, but that is a beautiful flower garden with matching, symmetrical walking paths through it.  I told the buyers it was really a crop circle and the lightning rods on the roof were really antenna. 

Yes, I'm sure that's it.  Booohahahaha...

My recommendation:  a generator is becoming a best practice in new construction of larger, more rural homes.  And why not?  What a great thing to have.  Sometimes power restoration comes to the hinterland much later than the rest of the world!

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 23 commentsJay Markanich • May 11 2013 04:54AM

Comments

Hi Jay.  Yes!   A generator has become one of those added value items that buyers like to see with resales as well.   I have noticed that they get a nice and important lesson on safety from some home inspectors too!  

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay... I hate to lose power and I am considering installing a generator.... good investment...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) over 7 years ago

In this case, A&C, the seller is an elderly widow who gave them a lesson on the spot.  I just sat back and admired!

Barbara - I have never looked into it.  Be sure to install a surge protector in the panel box too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I've considered it since moving in and finding that elec. goes out in heavy storms. 

I never installed one because I figured it would just be one more thing that didn't work.  That's the story of my life.  It's also why I'm so concious of good maintenance.

Thankfully, VDOT and the county has done a good job of tree trimming in the area and long outages have been reduced from 3-5 a year to zero to 1-2 shorter outages.  Of course with Sandy, it was out for 3 full days but I had no real damage. 

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 7 years ago

In areas where the lines are on poles, like your area, outages have to be very frequent.  And as I said, the hinterlands get attention last.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I don't know about the hinterlands, but around CT these devices have become extremely prevalent in the last few years. We have had no less than four major storms in the last two years with some residences being without power for almost two weeks. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

The major component of these automatic generators is the transfer switch that is used to de-power the power lines from the utility and switch to the generator.  And, this is something that needs a permit here in Martin County.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 7 years ago

it is one of those things we talk about...when the power goes out and forget when it goes back on...though the 5 day stint when we first moved here should have been enough to teach us !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 7 years ago

I have a small solar generator pack (designed for camping) but it has come in handy to have a light when the power goes out and to be able to charge a phone.  I can see the value of a whole house generator especially if you live far enough off the grid to be stranded for days when a bad storm hits.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 7 years ago

Jim - DC is infamous for long power outages in recent years.  Like yours.  Generators are the way to go!

Of course Gabe.  All this needs a permit.

S&D - well, life experience is a cruel teacher, but effective.  One day we all get the lesson!

Cindy - those are very fun.  Does it charge by flashlight at night?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

This is a trend here too. If the home is five miles out of town they are installing generators with the new homes.

Solar power is catching on as well.

Have a good day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 7 years ago

Lots of new construction here Clint, particularly large homes.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, generators are such a great thing to have particularly in more rural areas. My parents live on the Chesapeake and lose power a lot during storms. They couldn't live w/o their generator! I don't lose power much here but, when I do I always wish I had one.

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

Jay - I have always wanted to do this! Our power is pretty reliable here, but the coolness factor alone might be worth the cost!

Posted by Peter den Boer, MBA,GRI, Associate Broker, Realtor (Atlanta Communities) over 7 years ago

We don't lose power much either, Amanda.  Our lines are mostly buried.

Peter - it is cool, for sure.  This house has a huge propane tank.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Morning Jay that is one nice view.  It sounds like the new owners are going to be very happy there.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 7 years ago

It's a nice view from the front porch and rear deck James.  Beautiful actually.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Back in 2005 we had three hurricanes come through our area. We had no power for about five days. Had to move all out food to friends house... etc. No fun. Had no water either because I am on a well. Jumped in the pool every morning to bathe... and wake up! Anyway, in the evening the whole subdivision was totally dark, except for this one guy that had a portable generator running in his driveway. His whole house was lit up and stood out like you can imagine. Lesson learned!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 7 years ago

Life experience Fred!  A couple of years ago the compressor on one of our freezers died, and we had to schlep food to three different neighbors!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Schlep? Sounds messy... but I know what you mean! I moved my food twice during that period. The power came back on so I went and got it... then it went out again for a couple days!

If you didn't have those freezers that wouldn't have happened :-)

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 7 years ago

Had I not washed my car that one year Sandy wouldn't have happened.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay -- I hadn't heard of propane for the generators.  It would be interesting to know how much propane it takes to run that for an hour?  After all, it is running two hours a month, which could get spendy, depending on price of propane, and amount it burns.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 7 years ago

I have not seen a generator here that was not tied to the propane system, or had its own tanks Steven.  This homeowner reported it has run for as long as 3 days.  It runs now 1/2 hour every week and she reported no ill effects to the propane tank.  This is a 10kw generator, so it takes 2 gallons of propane per hour of use.  That would be expensive all the time, but surely NOT when it is used in an emergency!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

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