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Dear Ed: We just had a big snow storm in April! I’m thinking that even when winter is over, I can lose power with any unexpected storm and I want to look into a permanently installed generator. In past columns you have mentioned these systems. How are they installed?

— Sue, Rhode Island

Dear Sue: This is called a standby generator and is permanently installed to your home’s electrical system. Residential standbys run on natural gas or propane, and they automatically start up when power is lost. Here’s five basic steps involved when having a standby generator system installed:

1. Standby generators are professionally installed with proper permits pulled. So, first locate a licensed standby generator dealer/installer in your area.

2. After a location site visit and any trenching needed, the automatic transfer panel switch and generator are set in place.

3. All electrical lines/controls are installed and connected.

4. Natural gas or propane fuel lines are connected to the generator and underground wires and piping are backfilled.

5. Your dealer/installer starts and tests the system and your new standby generator is ready to light up your life.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com

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