EasyStart Soft Starter for Coastal Hurricane Prone Areas

Home Soft Starter For Coastal Area Prone To Storms

Product Information: EasyStart Home Soft Starter
Customer Information: Upon Request

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Executive Summary

A homeowner located in a coastal part of the US, which is vulnerable to hurricanes and summer storms, has been through a number of them including Superstorm Sandy.

This person's goal is to use a generator to provide temporary power for appliances such as refrigeration, air conditioner, and lighting, both inside and outside.

Due to new policies enacted after Superstorm Sandy, the house was required to be raised 15 feet above sea level, as well as all its electrical and HVAC system components.

Unfortunately, due to high costs and construction limitations, it's not possible to install a ground-level generator large enough to power the components that the homeowner desires to have running.

Customer Background

A homeowner whose residence is located on the east coast United States in a seaside community, an area that is prone to hurricanes, and summer storms causing power outages.

Customer Goals and Expectations

Having lived through many hurricanes including Superstorm Sandy, the customer’s goal is to use a backup generator to provide temporary power for household appliances including refrigeration, air conditioning, and interior/exterior lighting.

The Challenge

Due to new flood zone regulations after Superstorm Sandy, the homeowner was required to elevate the residence 15ft above sea level as well as all electrical and HVAC system components. A ground-level generator large enough to start the air conditioner, refrigeration, and lighting was not feasible to due extensive costs outside of the budget and construction restrictions.

One additional issue found was that since the HVAC system was now mounted to the home, an excessive amount of noise was occurring throughout the house from the startup of the A/C compressor motor.

Some initial specifications and costs for the project: without a soft starter.
The minimum generator requirements to start the AC (3-ton) were between 14KW-22KW costing around $5,000.00 - $9,000.00. Outside electrical hook-up for the generator and internal electrical breaker box cost around $350.00 – $500.00. Permits and construction costs are not included in this estimate.

The Solution

The customer was first advised to use our Micro-Air EasyStart™ Knowledge Bank article titled "Selecting a Generator" to estimate the total power needed for the air conditioner (with EasyStart in the circuit), other electrical items such as a refrigerator, and some indoor lighting were added to the total.

For the air conditioner BTUs, it was determined that our EasyStart 368 soft starter would be a perfect solution for reducing the overall amperage of that system. See EasyStart Model Selector for determining the correct model soft stater for an air conditioner.

Customer Note: The air conditioner BTUs were 36,000 a 3-ton AC (1-ton = 12,000 BTUs)

With the above information, it was determined that the customer could use a less expensive 7500W portable generator, with prices ranging from $1,200.00 - $1,600.00. A new outdoor generator outlet box was installed along with an internal interlock switch. The interlock switch was installed in the electrical box to ensure that the generator circuit breaker and the main power circuit breaker cannot be turned on at the same time.

The Results

An initial test was completed by turning off the main breaker in the home, connecting the portable generator externally, utilizing the interlock switch for safety, and then finally powering up the generator outside. After ensuring that everything was running safely and as expected, the test was deemed successful, and the generator was disconnected from the main power system.

A pilot test was completed through the summer season, with the results being very positive. The customer highlighted that the project was a cost-effective solution leveraging a portable generator during power outages.

The last remaining item to note was the start-up noise of the compressor motor, the customer’s air conditioner was mounted to the home due to flood zone restrictions, and this was no longer audible due to a now gentle ramp-up of the compressor with the EasyStart installed.


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