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It Is Vital To Keep The Lights On

It’s a fact that today we rely more on electricity than we have ever done before, and not only that, but we are going to be relying on it even more in the future as the world moves towards electric vehicles.

At the same time, it seems that climate change is also having an effect, with more violent storms in Scotland and the North-West having brought power outages recently - in some cases for two weeks!

So, it is important to keep the lights on. It is vital if you run a business which relies on electricity to power plant and keep machinery running. You cannot afford to have your factory come to a grinding halt because of power outages. OK, if you are watching TV at home and the power goes down, that can be annoying, but it is not like interrupting workflow. Even so, more people are looking to buy a new generator in the UK for their homes today.

If you are considering that you might buy a new generator in the UK, then you need to talk to us at Blades Power Generation: it is what we do. We have generators of all sizes, from those for small usage in the home to much larger models that can keep the power running in your factory and prevent the productivity losses that would otherwise occur.

You Need A Changeover Switch

If you have never installed generator before, you will need a changeover switch. This is a legal requirement as it prevents the mains power coming into contact with the generator when the mains come back on, and it also avoids the generator back feeding the mains, which would put the lives of electricity workers in danger.

There are two types of changeover switch – either a manual or automatic changeover switch. If you have a manual switch, it means that you have to switch from mains to generator – and back again – manually. In turn, this means that somebody has to be on the premises in order to do it.

An automatic changeover switch, as you might guess, does it automatically, which means that you will only be without power for a few seconds while the generator fires up. 

Standby Generators Are Becoming More Important In Today’s World

In today’s world we are almost totally dependent upon electricity – far more so than even 50 years ago. Back in the day, we didn’t have computers, but today it is almost impossible to run a business without one. Even a local convenience store which deals largely with cash may not need a laptop for the actual serving of customers, but you can bet that the owner has one for ordering stock and supplies, keeping track of stock levels, and so on. Electricity is also necessary to keep the fridges running. So, electricity is vital.

However, with the increase in the use of electricity comes the possibility of more power outages. This is increased further by climate change which seems to be bringing us more frequent and very heavy storms, which in turn can bring down power lines. So, if you run any sort of business, it makes sense to invest in a standby generator in order that you can keep going when the power doesn’t.

Used Generators

But you don’t have to invest in a brand new one if you only run a small business or need one for your home. You can buy used generators in the UK for considerably less than a new one. In fact, when you buy used generators in the UK it is just like buying a used car. Sure, if you can afford the very latest swanky Mercedes Benz or a Roller, then you might want to buy one. But a second-hand Nissan Juke will get you around just as well.

You can buy used generators in the UK for under £500 at Blades Power Generation. Of course, you then have to add in the cost of installation as well. And you will need a transfer switch. This is a legal requirement because it stops the mains power coming into contact with the generator, which would almost certainly burn out if this happened. It also stops the generator from back feeding the mains when it has failed, endangering the lives of electricity utility workers.

You can buy an automatic transfer switch (ATS) or a manual transfer switch. An automatic transfer switch does what it says on the tin, so when the power goes down it will fire up the generator and you will have power back on within seconds. However, a manual transfer switch costs a lot less than an ATS. It does mean, of course that you have to fire up the generator and then switch over. This is OK if someone is on the premises but could prove difficult if you need to keep the power running even though you are not there. You need to consider your options. 

Should You Buy A Generator For Your Home?

More and more people today are investing in a standby generator for their homes because of the possibility of greater numbers of power outages. There is a definite increase in violent storms, the like of which we have not seen since October 15th 1987, and these can bring down power lines and cause blackouts.

Buying and installing a standby generator for your home or business will give you the peace of mind that you know you will still have power if or when the worst happens.

To some extent, a standby generator is a matter of choice. For some people, even one blackout is enough to warrant a purchase, but if you live in an area with frequent (more than three a year) or long blackouts, then it becomes something of a necessity.

Generators come in different sizes, depending upon the mount of power that you need. This is not just related to the size of your home, but more to the complexity, or otherwise, of your electrical system, especially if you have air conditioning. You will need an electrician to calculate the size of generator that you need.

Manual or Automatic Changeover Switches?

You also need to decide whether to install a manual changeover switch or buy an automatic transfer switch in the UK. If you have a manual changeover switch, it means that when the power goes down you will have to manually start the generator and then switch over when it is up and running. That’s OK if you are at home or on your business premises when the power goes down, but it means that if you are not at home then there will be no electricity. In turn, that means that your fridge and freezer won’t be running, along with anything else such as a water heater or the heater that keeps the tank of your pet gecko at the right temperature.

If you buy an automatic transfer switch in the UK, then that will detect the power outage, fire up the generator and then automatically switch over, so your home is only without power for a matter of seconds.

Manual Transfer Switch For Your Generator Or Automatic? Which Is Best?

One of the biggest arguments for buying a standby generator is that you will always have electricity, no matter what. So, any issues with the electricity supply will not affect you.

This is becoming more and more important in this day and age, particularly with climate change. As we have seen very recently, there have been some very large and powerful storms that have affected homes and businesses in the North-West and Scotland, and it seems that these could become more commonplace. Some homes have been without electricity for as long as two weeks.

When you have a generator as a backup to your business, you can forget about time and productivity losses, because your generator can kick in and take over while the power is down. And there can be more to it than time and productivity losses, because when there is a sudden power outage it can cause serious damage to devices and machinery when the power comes back on if there is a power surge, yet this can be avoided if there is a power backup.

You can also cut down on your electricity consumption in a business by using a generator as a backup during peak hours. Some studies have shown that you can save as much as 40% during this time slot.

A Range Of Sizes

Backup generators come in a range of different sizes, and in order to establish what you need, whether for your home or business, you will need a qualified electrician to calculate the amount of power required. The cost of a 1kW generator is only around £300: a 7kW one would be about £2,000, a 15kW one £6,000, and so on. To this, you need to add the cost of installation which can be around another £1,000.

Now we said that you will always have electricity, and this may, or may not, be true. It depends upon the type of transfer switch that you install. You can have a manual transfer switch or an automatic transfer switch.

As you might guess, if you have a manual transfer switch you have to switch over to the generator manually. That means that if you are not on the premises when the power goes down you won’t have electricity, so if you happen to be away on holiday for three or four days, you can say goodbye to the food in the freezer!

However, an automatic transfer switch will detect when the power goes down, fire up the generator, and within a few seconds the lights will be back on. The choice is yours.  

Energy Bills Could Increase To £60 A Week!

The likelihood of power shortages and outages in the UK has increased considerably since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Only a few days ago, MPs were warned that oil and gas could be rationed because of the crazy increase in prices. Experts have stated that household energy bills could increase to £3,000 a year – that is £60 a week!

The US, UK and EU have unveiled a growing list of sanctions, including on the import of Russian oil and gas. While only 3-4% of UK gas comes from Russia, plus 8% of our oil, Russia provides 40% of the EU’s gas and 25% of its’ oil, which means that energy price increases on the continent will have a major knock-on effect elsewhere. 

At a Treasury select committee in parliament on Monday March 14th, Dr Amrita Sen, director of research at Energy Aspects, told MPs that the rationing of diesel and gas could be on the horizon as a result of supply issues and growing instability in energy markets. That can have a serious effect on electricity supplies.

What’s The Answer?

So, what is the answer? What can you do to keep the lights on and the wheels turning if the power goes down?

Fortunately, there is an answer, and it is one which quite a lot of businesses have been investing in recently. Many businesses simply cannot operate without electricity, and for place such as hospitals it is vital that they keep the power going. So, the answer is a standby generator.

If you have a standby generator in your home or at your business premises and you team it with an automatic transfer switch, when the power goes down you will only be without electricity for a matter of seconds.

Now, a new standby generator can cost quite a bit of money, depending upon the amount of power that you need to produce. However, you don’t have to buy a new generator because you can also find used generators for sale in the UK.

Indeed, at Blades Power Generation, we always have a selection of used generators for sale in the UK because as businesses expand, they find that they need a generator with more capacity than the one that they currently have. So, they come to us for a bigger generator and then trade in the existing one. We are happy to do that because it is a profitable deal for us, and it also means that you can get a generator for your home or business for a lot less than buying a new one. 

Today, We Take Electricity For Granted

It is a fact that, today, the majority of people take electricity for granted. You flick a switch, and the light comes on. You would be absolutely astonished if you flicked the switch, and nothing happened!

And yet, the power can go down at any time, and usually just at the worst possible time. Moreover, with the way that things are going in the world just at the moment, it is becoming increasingly likely that there will be power shortages and outages.

This may, or may not, give you some concern. However, these days we do rely on electricity for much more than we used to 50 or 60 years ago. Just for starters, most people today have a freezer full of food. If the power goes down for a couple of days, you can say goodbye to that lot. Furthermore, if you have no power, how do you charge your mobile, or use your laptop to work from home as so many more people do? The answer is that you don’t, if the power is down.

As for running a business, you are reliant on electricity to keep going. If you have no electricity, your business simply cannot function.

A Couple Of Tips If the Lights Go Out

A couple of good tips if the lights go out in your business is to check other local buildings and offices. If they still have power, the odds are that the issue is in your own building, and you will need to call an electrician. It is also a very good idea to turn off all computers, printers, and other appliances because when the power is restored it can cause a power surge and this can result in damage to the appliances.

The very best answer today is to invest in a standby generator to cover the occasions when the power goes down. This will take over and keep your business going.

The best way to use a standby generator is to have an automatic transfer switch. This will kick in immediately the power goes down and start the generator, so you will only be without power for a matter of seconds.

Certainly, you can use a manual transfer switch, but that means that you have to go and start the generator by hand. If you happen to be away from the office but things still need electricity, that means that there will be no power until you return. An automatic transfer switch does the job for you.

Why An Automatic Transfer Switch Is Preferable To Manual

If you have a standby generator for your home or business, then you are one step ahead of many of the population. There is an increased risk of power outages due to climate change and the rise in global power usage, so having a generator that can jump in and continue to provide the power that you need makes a lot of sense.

You won’t have to worry about not being able to use the TV, the water going cold, and all the food in the freezer defrosting. If the power goes down, as long as you have the right sort of generator, you can last for days. It is like having an insurance policy. If you are going to buy a generator, it is important to get one that is the right size for your needs, and for this you need to calculate the wattage required or get an electrician to do it for you.

Whatever type and size of generator you buy, it is a legal requirement that you have a transfer switch. This can be either a manual transfer switch or an automatic transfer switch. A manual transfer switch is less expensive but does have disadvantages. As the name suggests, you have to switch over to the generator by hand and then go and start the generator. Not a lot of fun if Storm Fred is blowing a hooley and you’ve got to go outside to do that.

Goodbye To All The Food In The Freezer

Furthermore, if you have things that you need to keep powered and you happen to be away from home for three days, then there is nobody on hand to transfer and start the generator. So, you can say goodbye to all that food in the freezer, and to your tropical fish if you have them. Equally, you have to shut down the generator and switch back to the mains when the power comes back up.

Now, an automatic transfer switch does all this for you. It detects when the mains power goes down, starts the generator, and when that is up and running at full power switches over to the generator. This all happens in a matter of seconds. Equally, when the mains power is restored, the automatic transfer switch will close down the generator and switch back to the mains.

So, it really is a matter of choice, but despite the extra expense, an automatic switch is by far and away the best idea. 

How A Manual Transfer Switch Works

It seems that more people these days are investing in a standby generator in order to provide electricity to the home or business when the mains power goes down. This happened quite a bit recently in Scotland with all the storms that we have been having. There seems to be no doubt that climate change is an issue, and that means that those storms could become more frequent. This writer is old enough to remember the Great Storm of 1987 when our home was without power for 13 days! Fortunately, we had an oil-fired Aga cooker. If we hadn’t, we would have been in serious trouble.

In addition, of course, there is the threat of a lack of gas supply coming from Russia, and this could be used as a weapon by Vladimir Putin.

So, it makes sense to many people to have a standby generator to step in when the mains power fails. But how does the generator work?

Most generators run on diesel, and they can be started either manually or automatically when the power fails. Every generator must have either a manual transfer switch or an automatic transfer switch.

If you have a manual transfer switch you need to manually turn a handle or alternative lever to switch from the mains to the generator and then start the generator by hand as well.

Required By Law

In fact, a transfer switch is required by law in every country when you install a generator at a premises that has a mains supply. This is for two main reasons, one being that it stops the mains power coming into contact with the generator when the power is restored, which would almost certainly burn out the generator.

More importantly, it prevents the generator from back feeding the mains when it has failed which could endanger the lives of the electricity utility workers.

So, you switch from mains to generator manually and then go and start the generator. When the power is restored, you would then switch off the generator and manually switch back to the mains.

While a manual transfer switch is cheaper than an automatic one, the latter does have certain advantages. Apart from anything else, it is much faster, because it automatically starts the generator and then switches to it in seconds. If you are not on the premises when the mains fails and you use a manual switch, then you are without power until somebody returns and switches over.

How An Automatic Transfer Switch Works

If you have a standby generator at your home for the purpose of providing you with electricity if / when the mains power goes down, you also require a transfer switch. The purpose of the transfer switch is to ensure that the mains power and the generator power are never connected. If the mains power came into contact with the generator, it would almost certainly burn out the generator.

If the generator is running and is connected to the mains it could back feed the mains and this would endanger the lives of electricity workers. There are two types of transfer switch, one being a manual switch and the other being an automatic transfer switch.

If you have a manual transfer switch, it follows that when the mains power goes down somebody has to manually switch over from the mains to the generator. Then it is also necessary for someone to start the generator in order to supply power to the house again. This is not too bad if you are at home when the power goes down, but if you happen to be away, you are not going to get any electricity into the home until you return and carry out the switching process, or the mains power returns. This may, or may not, be a matter of concern depending on whether you need to keep anything running all the time.

The Automatic Switch Is The Better Option

The alternative, and probably better option, is to have an automatic transfer switch. These do cost more than a manual transfer switch but, as the name suggests, switch from mains to generator automatically. When the mains power goes down, the switch will detect the lack of power and then send a signal to the generator telling it to start up. Once the generator is up and running, it will send a signal back to the transfer switch to tell it that it is operating, and the transfer switch will then switch off the mains contact and connect to the generator. Thus, the generator and the mains can never be connected.

The automatic switch means that when the power goes down you will only be without it for a few seconds, until the generator is up and running.

There is another option, and that is an ATS without mains detection. In this case the mains detection has to be built into the generator which will send a signal to the ATS to disconnect from the mains. The generator then starts itself and when running sends a signal to the ATS telling it to switch over.

Why Not Buy A Used Generator Instead Of New?

There is suddenly a considerable and growing interest in people looking for standby generators. Until recently, many people didn’t think of having one in their home unless they lived way out in the sticks where there were a number of outages when the power went down, and everything came to a grinding halt. Let’s face it: it isn’t funny when you suddenly have no electricity at 6.00 pm on a December evening. No light. No heat. And unless you have gas, you can’t cook either.

But over the last few months things have suddenly changed considerably. To begin with, the price of gas has gone through the roof, and with it is going electricity bills. Not only that, but the energy cap is going to be lifted in April and who knows where that is going to go?

Not Many Alternatives

Then there is the fact that in the UK we don’t have a lot in the way of alternatives. Instead of building new nuclear power stations, we are closing them! The green lobbyists have managed to see to it that fracking has gone out of the window, despite the fact that we have so much natural gas underground in the Northwest. We won’t go into the politics of that here, but it does seem to be very short-sighted. So, it seems that we have to rely on the generosity – or otherwise – of Mr Putin. Erm, right.

No wonder so many people have suddenly become interested in purchasing their own generator so that they can produce the electricity they need for their home, since it seems that things are only going to get worse, not better.

At Blades Power Generation, we have a huge range of different generators available, which can provide the sort of power that you need. It is important to get the right size and type of generator for your particular home, because there is no point in having one which is too big. Equally, you need one which will provide sufficient power.

But you don’t have to fork out a lot on a new generator if you don’t want to, because we also have used generators for sale.

If you buy one of our used generators you can have the backup that you need for your home when the power goes down, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. Obviously, our stock is constantly changing, so contact us to discuss your requirements.