What is a residential generator?
A whole home power generator is installed permanently outside your home and is fueled by either natural gas or liquid propane (LP) gas. When an outage occurs, the generator starts up automatically—whether you're home or away—restoring power in as little as 10 to 30 seconds.
How does a residential generator work?
At the heart of a whole home power generator is the Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), which monitors incoming voltage from the utility line leading to your home. When utility power is interrupted, the transfer switch immediately senses the problem and signals the generator to start. Within seconds, power is transferred from the utility line to the generator, which then begins supplying electricity to your pre-selected circuits. Later, when the ATS senses that utility line voltage has been restored, it automatically shifts the electrical load back to the utility line. After running a short cool-down cycle, the generator shuts down and returns to standby mode.
A whole home power generator is not an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system. Therefore, residential standby generators are not intended for use with dialysis machines, breathing machines or other medically necessary equipment or electronics requiring uninterrupted power.
Why should I purchase a whole home residential power generator and not just a portable generator?
Portable generators may be less expensive initially, but they present many limitations, inconveniences, hidden costs, and even potential hazards. With a portable generator, you must turn it on, plug in extension cords, and constantly replenish the supply of gasoline—which is especially problematic when gas station pumps quit working in a power outage. Portable generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, a threat clearly stated on the government mandated warning label every portable unit must carry. In addition, portable generators - and even some standby generators - produce unstable, low quality power that can damage sensitive home electronics.
What should I look for when purchasing a whole home power generator?
Look for whole home power generators that have the capacity you need, have quick start up times and are clean and quiet running. More important than the product features is the quality of the installation. Look for a contracting company that has the ability to offer a complete package, including installation, ongoing maintenance and service. Plus, make sure the contractor has programs in place to provide for warranty and extended warranty service. This is an indicator of interest the contractor has in your long term satisfaction.
Is the generator noisy?
Manufacturers are producing very quiet units. Extensive sound testing and verification, performed to rigid industry standards, is used to measure generator’s sound levels.
How does the generator protect my computer, TV or other electronic devices?
Whole home power generators are designed with the industry's strongest commercial grade digital controller. The electronic governor ensures delivery of clean, low distortion power to an amazing tolerance of which exceeds even the standards set by most utility companies.
Can the generator provide enough backup power for my entire home, including air conditioning?
Yes. Whole home power generators are available in multiple sizes ranging from 8kW to 30kW to meet the needs of most any home. The model you choose depends upon the size of your home and the number of circuits you want supplied with backup power.
How do I know my generator is always ready and able to work properly when a power outage occurs?
Generators run a weekly 15–minute test cycle designed to keep it tuned up and operating at peak effectiveness. During the test cycle, which occurs automatically on the day and time each week that you specify, power is not transferred to your home. The generator turns itself on, tests for any problems, and turns itself off. Fuel usage during test run is minimal. The generator's battery is constantly being charged to ensure readiness as well. When the generator is not running, utility power is converted to DC and a 2–amp trickle charge is delivered to the battery. When it is running, the generator itself provides a 2–amp trickle charge to the battery.
How long will the generator operate under continuous usage?
Your generator will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as long as the oil level, oil filter and air filter are properly maintained. In the event of an extended power outage lasting more than three days, preparation for servicing the unit with an oil change and filter, as well as routine maintenance schedules that are outlined in the owner's manual are recommended.
How big is the generator?
The smallest whole home power generator is about the size of a normal air conditioning outside unit. Larger models tend to be longer, but width and height stay about the same. All models have an attractive finish and will complement the aesthetics of almost any home.
Who is qualified to install my generator?
For your safety and peace of mind, and to protect the warranty, your generator system (including the automatic transfer switch) must be professionally installed by a qualified contractor who is properly licensed to handle the necessary electrical and plumbing work.
What is the warranty coverage on a whole home power generator?
Every generator system is covered by a manufacturer specific warranty that takes effect at the date and time your dealer starts up the unit for its initial test run. Specific details of the warranty program are outlined in the owner's manual. For added convenience and peace of mind, your qualified contractor should also offer longer term generator service and maintenance contracts.