Al Smith Electric
California License Number B 726493
20833 Laurel Drive, Los Gatos, Ca 95033 408-353-3315
Licensed - Insured (5M)
Al Smith Electric is no longer installing residential generators.
We will only bid Commercial and industrials installations.
Q: How much will a back up generator cost?
Well, that is determined by a few things. Size, how much load you need to run. If you need automatic start and transfer? Or will manual start and transfer work for you. A quality 20kw (20,000 watts) automatic start generator with 100 ampere automatic transfer switch can cost $0 A quality 12kw (12,000 watts) automatic start generator with 100 ampere automatic transfer switch can cost $0 - $0 And a Home Depo Generac 5kw pull start screamer can cost $0, I call it a screamer because these cheap units are very, very load. There is more info on automatic transfer switches below. Click here to see the Onan Generator
Q: Why is my generator so loud?
Simple, cheap generators like Costco and Home Depot's $0 are just that cheap. They have cheap generator ends so they have to run at a whopping 3,600 RPM. Next they have no sound attenuation, sound shielding. And you can't cover them, to try and lessen the noise, they will over heat. Over heating will void your warrantee.
Q: Why should I buy a quality generator?
Well a quality generator will last a long long time. It can be as quite as 70db or less (about the sane as a large home a/c unit). It can run on propane or natural gas. It will start - stop and transfer the power back and forth automatically.
Q: Why is propane better than gasoline ?
Simple gasoline has a shelf life. It goes bad, turns into a waxy turpentine like substance. Once it does the generator will not run and will have to be serviced. This can happen in as little as 6 months. Propane and natural gas will never go bad. Also gasoline carburetors require a choke to start, propane and natural gas do not.
Q: What size generator do I need?
The size of generator depends mainly on what you want to run. First, figure out what you want to run, or your loads; keeping in mind that most appliances can take up to ten times the amps that it's rated at to start up. A reputable electrician is recommended to figure out your load requirements, as it can prevent overloading your generator. Second, after you've determined what your load requirements are, you can contact a credible generator retailer and tell them what your requirements are.
Q: Will my generator run my entire house?
Your generator may or may not run your entire house, it depends on the generator size and your load requirements. Call Al Smith Electric to get a free estimate. Or Email; me with your questions Email me now !
Q: Is it safe to run my computer and other expensive equipment from generated power?
It is relatively safe if you use a surge protector. Most people already have one. I would recommend purchasing an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). Most electronics retailer should carry this.
Q: Can we power our house without disturbing our neighbors?
Some generators are more quiet than others, it usually depends on size, cost, etc. With some models of generators you may be able to purchase a generator cabinet that will not only protect your neighbors from the noise, but can also protect your generator from the elements. Contact your local generator retailer for more information.
Q: I have a pressure pump and a well, can a generator help when the power goes out?
Pumps and wells can be run by a generator, although a generator that produces more wattage is usually required. Also, more complex wiring may be required.
Q: How can I interface with PG&E?
A properly installed transfer switch, safely transfers your house from local utilities to generated power. A UL approved transfer switch is required by the National Electrical Code. Click here for PG&E safety
Q: Why can't I hook up my generator myself?
Back feeding a home can send power back through the lines. Many PG&E workers fixing damaged power lines have been injured or killed by improperly installed generators back feeding the lines. A professionally installed transfer switch will eliminate back feeding power lines.
Q: How much will it cost to hook up my generator?
It all depends on what you want to run and the existing wiring in the house. Cost can range from a few hundred dollars up into the thousands.
Q: Do generators require a lot of maintenance?
As with any gasoline powered engine, it will require some maintenance to protect your investment. Propane powered generators are also an option, they require much less maintenance.
Q: I've heard of automatic transfer switches, do I need one?
An automatic transfer switch will start your generator even when you're not home. If you have frequent, extended power outages, or you are often out of town, this can be of great benefit (especially to those that have electric security systems or store a lot of food in their freezers). On the other hand, automatic transfer switches can be costly, but a great luxury. Click here to see the Onan Generators and automatic transfer switches