Before a natural gas generator instalation, the first thing that should be checked is if the home has adequate gas pressure. Bergen county has a lot of old towns that were built before their were many gas appliances so the original gas piping was not sized for the demands of todays living. Most gas utilities have records of what size piping was installed to each home as well as the overall length to the main trunk in the street. In order to determine if you are in a low pressure zone you need to fill out a Gas Load Data Inquiry form with the gas utility company. The contractor must total up all the appliances that use gas in the home, i.e. stoves, clothes dryers, furnace, hot water heaters etc. and get a total number of BTU’s, once he has that number he must then add on the total btu’s that the generator uses. Typical generator btu’s range anywhere from 139k up to 312k BTU’s for air-cooled models and as high as 1,000,000 BTU’s for liquid cooled models.
The utility company will look over the gas inquiry form and compare it to the line size you have entering your home and the capacity of the meter which is currently installed in your home. The gas meter rating is usually stamped on a plate on the face of the meter. In New Jersey gas meters come in three standard sizes the first one is the 250 the second is a 425 and the third is an 800. Most homes are equipped with either a 250 or a 425. However when you install a generator you may be over the capacity of your current meter and may require the next size up. Generally there is no charge to go up one size in the meter however if the meter must go up 2 increments from a 250 up to 800 in most cases there will be a charge ranging from anywhere between $100 to $900. If the contractor fails to fill this form out and submit it to the utility company what will happen is in the dead of winter when most homes are using their gas fired appliances
you’ll find that your home will have low pressure and the generators operation will be negatively affected. Generators have very specific requirements when it comes to natural gas pressure to operate correctly and deviating off of that pressure can cause a generator to fail and make your investment worth nothing. Most utility companies will not change the meter until after all the city inspections have been passed. Once all inspections are past you have to contact the gas company one more time and let them know that you are ready for the meter to be changed .
It pays to go with a professional that has experience dealing not only with the local town inspectors but also the utility company to make sure that the piping and the meter size are correct for your installation.