Standby Generators


  • Why Buy A Standby Generator?


Standby generators can help power a home for days after a blackout. Blackouts are inevitable in times of major storms and other catastrophes. Home standby generators can cost you anywhere from $3,000 to as much as $15,000 for the more sophisticated and high-end models. But, is it really well worth the investment? Here are some points to consider if you are planning to buy one.


  • What Are Standby Generators?


Standby generators are your reliable power solution in times of continued power outages. Compared to portable generators, they are permanently installed in your backyard to offer you uninterrupted power backup. Standby generators are directly linked to your electrical panel at home and are powered by external fuel like diesel, gasoline, or liquid propane as the case may be. The slightly smaller, air-cooled essential circuit generators are bigger than the portable types. and can power some of the lights and appliances at a given time. The much bigger, liquid cooling systems will power an entire home just the same.


  • Standby Generator Motor Load Considerations


To calculate the normal running load, just add up individual loads of the running electrical devices. However, there are several electric powered home appliances that require double or thrice the stated normal load when these are started. This is the starting load for these appliances. You must take into account both normal running and starting loads to ensure the generator can offer efficient and adequate current at all times.


For instance, a 0.5 hp air conditioner normally runs at 1,050 watts. However, the starting load will be 2000w to 3000w. Generally, a 25-30% factor is highly recommended when choosing a standby generator to keep your electrical appliances at home running smoothly.  


  • How Do Standby Generators Work


The control behind the entire operation is the auto transfer switch. This disconnects the direct power source after it detects an interruption. The moment your home is off the grid, this switch will disconnect from the power grid and start the standby generator before transferring power to the home’s electrical panel. Inside the system is the internal combustion engine and powered by natural gas, diesel, or liquid propane. The system relies on a specific amount of fuel that can easily be used up when a storm or other natural disasters hinders delivery or when sudden demand spikes delay the supply.


As power resumes, the switch will shut down the standby generator and reconnect your house to the main power grid. This streamlined operation makes standby generators perfect for families with small babies and children. It is also especially useful in homes needing uninterrupted power because of senior family members or other residents that have an underlying medical condition. This is also very useful for those who run businesses at home. The transfer switch will offer a safety mechanism as it hinders feeding back power to the grid, a dangerous occurrence which is a fire hazard and can harm workers who are working to restore power in your area.


  • Installation Problems and Concerns


There are many cities that have strict noise ordinances that restrict the installation of backup power generators in their area. The machine can be rated at 65 decibels, measured at 25’ feet. It can sound like an idling Harley motorbike, which is highly tolerable in a rural setting but totally unacceptable in a suburban or cramped up city setting. Urban installations can be quite complex as building codes need generators to be at least 5’ feet from the opening of the home and at least 5’ feet away from highly flammable matter. Replacing fuel tanks is also restricted if done near parking lots or school premises.


Power generators emit carbon monoxide which can kill people, and so it must be placed outside the housekeeping away the fumes. For safety purposes, do not operate a generator inside the house.


  • They Are Not For Newbies Who Are Clueless About It


Consult a professional to help evaluate your load needs and the proper logistics to install the generator in your home properly. For those planning to connect the standby generator to their natural gas supply system at home, a high volume and high-pressure line is a must. Generators require continuous fuel supply at 4-7 inches of water column pressure, which is not available in some cities and or localities. Check with your local provider if you are to pay a fee to have access to it.


The installation of a standby generator set is not a very easy DIY project. It needs highly advanced electrical and plumbing skills, as well as working knowledge of the local building code in your vicinity. Permits and appropriate licenses are likewise needed before you start with the installation. A concomitant inspection will be performed as part of the license requirements. Due to the complexities involved, installation must be done by professionals. Lastly, after continuous 24-48 hours of standby generator use, you must have it serviced. This is to ensure that the generator system is working in tip-top shape after an uninterrupted use.


  • Bulky and Expensive


The bigger the power generator’s capacity, the more circuits it will be capable of power at once. But, the size of the generator must be assessed by your needs in case of an emergency, storm, or temporary power outage. You may not need to power every appliance and electrical gadget all at the same time, but only at some given times. You have to know the electrical capacity that you will need, but you should consult a professional for a precise load assessment. They will calculate the total load of the devices and appliances which you intend to operate simultaneously while also examining the starting wattages of motor-run appliances like air-conditioning units and refrigerators.


A lot of homeowners choose affordable generators that fit their budget. A high-quality system can start at around $3500.00 excluding installation fees. There is also a need to factor in fuel costs. A fully loaded 7 kilowatts generator set can use up about 150 cubic feet of natural gas per hour of use, costing about $2.25 an hour. This can double with a much bigger capacity backup generator system. The initial cost might set you back but the long term benefits outweigh the cost.


  • Regular Upkeep Required


Just like cars, standby generators can run uninterruptedly for several hours, so they have to be maintained in the same way as cars. In fact, the bigger generators need more maintenance. After standby generators must be serviced after running continuously for 24-48 hours. Also, after ten days of use, the oil and filters to be changed. Your home power generator system will remain healthy and have a longer life if you regularly check the engine oil during use, run it at no more than 75% of its rated power capacity, frequently replace overworked parts, motor brushes, and do away with starting or stopping it under load each time you use it.


  • 5 Best Home Standby Generators


The following are considered as 5 of the best home standby generators with around 20kW capacity.

Standby Generators


Generac Guardian 70432. Generating 19,500-watt running load and 22,000-watt starting load, this Generac Guardian-series home standby generator is WiFi capable with an app and comes with a transfer switch. It also comes in an aluminum casing providing rust-proof convenience. Generac is the number 1 brand in sales volume for home standby generators. The WiFi mobile link provides users with real-time updates. It comes with a 5-year limited warranty

Standby Generators


Briggs & Stratton 40396. Rated at 20,000-watt capacity, this home standby generator from Briggs & Stratton has an automatic transfer switch capable rated at a dual 200 amperes or a split 400 amperes. The Briggs & Stratton 40396 is capable of running 2 units 5-ton air conditioner to cool a 12,000 sq. ft. area. Along with the air conditioners, it can also run TVs, washer/dryer, and the home lights. It has a 5-year limited warranty.

Standby Generators


Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS. This 20,000 watt, air-cooled home standby generator has a 200 amps single phase transfer switch. The Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS is capable of switching on in as little as 10 seconds from the moment the power shuts down. The 200 amp capacity is capable of powering up the whole house. It has a 5 year or 2000 hour limited warranty.


Briggs & Stratton 40355. This is another 20,000 watt home standby generator from Briggs & Stratton rated at 20,000 watts. It has an automatic transfer switch rated at 200 amperes. Another quick response standby power generator, it powers the home within seconds of a power interruption. The weather-resistant transfer switch allows for indoor or outdoor installation. It has a 5-year limited warranty.

Standby Generators


Generac 7043.  This home standby generator model is considered the best in its class for operating or charging sensitive electronic devices, computers, and appliances. It has a total harmonic distortion of less than 5%. It is capable of 19,500-watt running-load and 22,000-watt starting-load. It has an air-cooled motor with a 200-ampere transfer switch. It is easily accessible, the aluminum case has 3 removable side panels for service and maintenance.


  • Gather Information From Useful Publications


There is information about standby generators that you can get from various sources online and offline. These publications offer useful information to homeowners, small business owners, and industrial business owners for them to correctly choose and safely install standby power generators.


  • Conclusion


If you are planning to buy a standby generator for home backup use, you have to find the right one that meets the sizing and code requirements in your area. You have to take these important factors into consideration in order to find the right one that best matches your backup power needs. The right standby generator is vital to ensure you have an adequate and uninterrupted power supply to support your home appliances in case of power failure.


Standby Generators:Waiting for you to sit on the sofa!


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