While surge protectors and generators are essential devices in commercial buildings, they are not common in residential homes. Surge protectors protect your electrical devices and appliances from voltage spike, while generators help keep your electrical devices and appliances on during a power outage from the grid.  If you lived through the power outage caused by the ice storm in Toronto in 2013, you’ll understand the need for a generator. We received a lot of service calls during and after the ice storm to install generators for homes in Toronto area. There are few things to keep in mind when you consider installing a generator and a surge protector for your homes and offices


  1. Determine the generator size you need: By adding up the wattage of all electrical devices and appliances that you like to have on during the power outage, then multiplying it by 1.5 to get the minimum wattage for your generators. A small generator is typically 3,000-5,000W, while a medium is 6,000-9,000W and a large is over 10,000W
  2. Determine what type of generator you need:
    • Portable generators:

    You can get a portable generator and run the extension cords to your appliances. However you are limited to how many appliances you can plug into it, and at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if the generator is not placed outside and at least 10 ft away from your house and any open doors and windows.
    Our solution is to install a manual switch subpanel off your main circuit panel and a special inlet that you can plug in the generator to power the subpanel. This way in case of power outage, you don’t have to manually run extension cord to your appliances, instead just flip a switch on the subpanel to provide power to the circuit.

    • Standby generators:

    Standby generators are more expensive (5 to 10 times) than portable generators.  The setup is the same as the portable generators with subpanel, but with an automatic transfer switch that turns on the generator automatically when the power goes out (you don’t have to flip a switch on the subpanel). They are quieter and you don’t need to supply fuel to them since they run off your home’s natural gas supply.

Surge protectors:

  1. Power strips are not real surge protectors. They have every basic surge protection, but don’t offer any real protection from electric issues.
  2. Joules rating: Is how much energy a surge protector can absorb. Generally, more joules means a surge protector absorbs less energy while diverting more into ground
  3. Surge protectors don’t last forever: They will wear out over time. If there’s a serious electrical event (transformer blew out) or lightning, it’s probably wise to replace your surge protector.

Feel free to contact us for any questions or installation quotes regarding surge protectors and generators for your homes and offices.