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Frequently Asked Generator Questions
- What is an automatic standby generator?
- Why should I buy a home standby generator instead of a portable generator?
- What is the difference between an automatic air-cooled generator and an automatic liquid-cooled generator?
- Can an automatic standby generator replace utility service?
- How do I correctly size a generator for my home?
- Can I install the standby generator myself?
- What type of oil should I use in the generator engine?
- What happens if the generator gets overloaded?
- What size of Generator will I need?
An automatic standby generator is a unit that will automatically supply power to the electric breaker box in your house in the event of a power outage. The generator will operate within seconds of the outage and when the power returns the generator shuts off automatically. A generator functions on gas, diesel, natural gas or liquid propane and is situated outside your home like your air conditioning unit.
You should purchase a home standby generator instead of a portable generator because a standby generator produces more power and no extension cords are needed. It operates automatically whether or not you are home, and it tests itself for approximately 15 minutes weekly to provide prolonged lifetime and make sure it will work when needed.
The difference between an automatic air-cooled generator and am automatic liquid-cooled generator is the engine. Air cooled generators use fans to force the air across the engine for cooling, whereas a liquid cooled generator uses an enclosed radiator system for cooling. Liquid cooled engines require a higher power output therefore, they are used on larger generators.
No, an automatic standby generator cannot replace a utility service. Fuel to operate the generator is more expensive than purchasing electricity from your current utility company.
In order to correctly size a generator for your home you must determine your needs in the event of a power outage which may be hours, days or weeks. A typical installation of an 8 kW, will provide power to 8 circuits, you would likely connect:
- Kitchen lights and microwave
- Air conditioner
- Home office and computer
- Garage door opener
- Lights and TV in your great room
- Power in the bathroom
It is possible to prepare for installation and then have a professional make electrical and fuel connections. You may also be capable of completing the entire installation yourself. BUT, to ensure adherence to proper electrical codes and safety issues, especially in pre-wired or larger units it is recommended to use a licensed contractor who can provide you with the proper ESA documents.
SAE oil which has been rated as high detergent that will meet API Service Class SF requirements for gasoline engines such as your car should be used. For a standard generator 10w30 oil is recommended. Refer to owner’s manual and regularly check the oil level in your standby generator.
If the generator gets over loaded the circuit breaker will trip and disconnect the unit. This is corrected by resetting the breaker in the generator.
In today society, most modern households depend on electric energy to operate all the small and big appliances and tools available to us. The installation of a backup generator can resolve the problem during a loss of power.
Since there are many sizes of Backup Generators, how do I determine the size of Generator that I will need? Simple, Here are some examples…
- Small Generators are the one that produces about 7-10 kW, and will be able to run a few basic household systems, but cannot run the entire home.
- Mid-Size Generators are the one that produces about 12-20 kW, depending of the size of your home, It might be able to power up the entire house.
- Large Generators are the one that produces about 22-45 kW, and will be able to operate the entire home.