The key to any successful home improvement project is choosing the right contractor, and generator installation is no exception. Getting a generator for your home may seem as simple as picking up a generator from a home improvement store and plugging it in. However, the reality is there are many more steps to consider and a licensed professional is the safest and best decision when installing a generator in your home.
But how do you choose an experienced and trustworthy contractor for your generator install? The questions below will help you find the right contractor for the job.
1. How long has your company been in business?
Most contracting companies fail within the first few years of business. This leaves a low incentive for customer service and makes for a tough situation if something goes wrong after your installation. Look for companies that have been around for many years and have an excellent track record for their work and customer service.
2. Are you licensed and insured to do this work?
The best way to know your home is protected when hiring a contractor is to choose someone with a valid license to work in your state. If the contractor does not have a license, or has let theirs expire, that is a big red flag, and you should not work with that company. You can also check the status of the contractor’s license yourself online. Licensure makes sure that a company meets qualifications including financial solvency, applicable industry standards, and a fund to compensate you if something goes wrong.
3. Will you handle both the gas plumbing and electrical work?
For gas powered generators, the project requires a plumber as well as an electrician. An experienced electrician or generator installation contractor will usually have a plumbing subcontractor that they work with and trust. Ask about this up front and ensure that the plumber’s services are included in the scope of work.
4. What is the breakdown of costs associated with installation?
Many items go into the cost breakdown of installing a generator. Your contractor should be able to give you a scope of work that includes things like labor for the electrician, plumber, and install team, materials such as cement and piping, and complex electrical work like installing a new subpanel. These costs add up, and to stay in budget you need to know them ahead of time.
5. What permits are needed, and will you take care of them?
In most cases, your city, county, or state will require a permit to install a generator. Permits and cooperation with local government are especially important when new gas lines are being laid. This is a safety measure that cannot be avoided and most of the time the licensed electrical contractor must obtain the permit. Your contractor may or may not handle all or parts of this process for you. Make sure you know what is expected of you ahead of time.
6. Do you have any references that you can share?
You can check review sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) before even scheduling an appointment with the contractor. However, it’s also a good idea to see reviews from recent customers. Many contractors will have these available on their website, or they can point you to the review site that their customers use. Either way, it’s best to see what their previous customers’ experiences were like to find out how your project is likely to go.
7. Will you perform annual maintenance on my generator?
Generators need to be inspected by a professional annually to ensure that they are in safe working condition. Much of the time, your installer will not be the same as the maintenance company. However, they should be able to set you up with a generator maintenance company and plan. Knowing what that plan will cost ahead of time will help you budget for your new generator.
Brothers Services has been improving Maryland homes for over 30 years. Schedule a consultation to get started and our highly skilled electricians will properly scope your project. They understand your unique home, helping you to choose the right generator, fuel source, and installation location for your new generator.