- What is a Standby Generator
- How the Standby Generator Works
- Which Fuel Whole House Generator do I Need?
- How much it cost to buy Standby Generator
- The warranty duration given after purchase
- The size of the generator needed to power the house
- The Function of The Transfer Switch
- Installation of the Whole House Generator
Last Updated on
If you live in areas where the electricity is not reliable, it is important to have a whole house generator. Due to bad weather the liability of the electricity lowers and chances that the power can go out are high hence interfering with the normal operation. To avoid the damages caused by the power outages, one should have a Whole House Generator to keep all the electronic devices on.
There is a variety of generators that one can choose from and therefore one should consider several factors before making a purchasing decision. Some of the factors to consider are the power output, the design of the generator, the manufacturer and the warranty period among others. The power output should be considered according to the power requirement which is dictated by the power needed to serve the devices that will be used by the generator.
It is also essential to check the design of the generator to ensure that one selects one that is easy to use and also cheap to maintain. The reputation of the manufacturer is important because it determines the warranty period as well as the quality of the product. This article, therefore, discusses the standby generator as the best type of generator that one can have for a whole house.
What is a Standby Generator
This is the type of generator that back up electricity system and that has been set to operate automatically. The standby generator is set to start within seconds after the electric power goes off. The usage of these generators aims at making sure that there is proper functioning in all federal facilities and also at homes.
It is therefore important for one to settle and be educated on the best standby generator required for a whole house. This will help one to know the best standby generators required at their home, and that will work effectively without failing. This type of generator is very reliable and also needs less workforce to operate it since it automatically starts after the power outage.
How the Standby Generator Works
Since the standby generator is the electricity back up, it is set to operate immediately the electricity goes off automatically. Within a short time limited to seconds the generator senses the power loss, and therefore command is sent to the generator, and it starts its work immediately. Here the standby generator start to supply its power to the whole house, and all the electric driven machines continue without failure.
The whole house generator which is installed outside the house automatically the power on during an outage in regardless of whether the owner is at home or not. The standby generator uses fuel to keep on running; this varies with the type of generator installed. Some generators are run using the supply of natural gas or propane, so there is no fueling done to them, so the generator is very quiet.
Benefits of a standby generator
Standby generators offer many benefits that make them suitable for use at home and in other locations. One of the benefits is that they have noise reduction mechanism that reduces the level of sound they emit. This feature makes them not only friendly to the environment but provides comfort in the neighborhood where they are installed.
Standby generators are designed in such a way that they can work for a long time without getting damaged. It implies that they have long maintenance intervals thus they reduce the cost, unlike portable generators that require regular maintenance. Apart from durability, they are also efficient, and they require less fuel to run compared to portable generators.
This feature results from automotive style engines that provide high-quality service that makes them efficient, and reliable. Efficiency is also improved by the fact that they are cooled by liquid. They also have load management and A/C shedding features.
Portable vs Whole House Generator
Comparing the two types of generators, the portable generator which is portable are not commonly used in homes, and therefore are used in garages, parties and emergency backups for more complicated cases. These types of generators cost less and reduced by size for easier moving and transportation. The portable generators produce less energy compared to the standby generators, so they tend not to be reliably for large homes.
Compared to the portable generators the standby generators are permanent and remain stationary in one place over the years they cannot be moved during emergencies. The standby generators are normally large and even more expensive compared to the portable generators which are cheaper. The standby generators can run for long hours and even days after the power outage because they are powerful and they do not use much fuel while the portable generators can run for many hours hence consuming a lot of fuel.
Although both of them are reliable, the standby generators are considered to be more advanced and more effective than the portable generators when it comes to whole house usage. It is therefore important to consider the standby generators when choosing a generator for whole house usage to get the best services they offer.
Difference Between Portable and Standby Generators
The differences between these two types of generators are highly noticed according to the size, their effectiveness and even their usage. The standby generators are installed permanently outside the whole house while the portable generator can easily be moved from one place to the other when there is a need. The standby generator turns on automatically when there is power outage while on the other hand the portable generators must be turned on to keep on working.
The portable generators are affordable but labor intensive compared to the standby generators which are expensive but require no labor to run them once they are installed. The standby generators last for a long duration of time for about 15 years before they get damaged and once one decides to resale, the machines reduce about 50 percent of the original price compared to the portable generators which easily get damaged and has no resale value once they are used for a long period.
Which Fuel Whole House Generator do I Need?
The standby generators use various types of fuel, the type of machine that one is using determines this. Internal combustion engines that are also powered by the fossil fuels drive the standby generators. However, the diesel fuel has been used in the backup machines for a long period, but there is some machine with dual fuel usage. Some of the machines can be run either by the natural gas or the LP vapor fuel depending on the availability of fuel.
The diesel has been the commonly used fuel for the traditional standby generators and has more advantages. This is because diesel is highly thermal and therefore it can yield a low cost per every KW that is 150 KW or even more depending on the standby machine used. The usage of diesel for standby generators has heavily been proved as the best more so in the remote areas that do not have the natural gas. Compared to the gaseous fuels the diesel fuel prices are high, and therefore people prefer natural gas.
Moreover, there are other types of fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, and propane. The natural gas option is commonly avoided for the industrial backup power. This is because of its cost effectiveness, power density, and perception of durability and fuel reliability.
How much it cost to buy Standby Generator
Sometimes it can be a hustle to purchase a Whole House Generator because there are qualities that should be considered. Generally, owning a standby generator costs roughly between $500 and $3000. Unlike portable generators, standby generators may require expertise to install and therefore one may be required to hire a professional. This cost is dependent on the amount of effort that is required during the installation process.
The overall cost for the best standby generator will depend on the type of generator that the user will prefer. Although there is the aforementioned costs less than $1000, there are others whose prices range from $20,000 to $10,000.
The warranty duration given after purchase
The warranty period of standby generators depends on the model as well as the manufacturer’s policy. The Champion Power Equipment 14KW Home Standby Generator assures the user that they will not suffer from an unprecedented blackout with its ten-year limited warranty period. The Generac 22KW Whole House Generator has a 5-year warranty period while the Briggs & Stratton 20,000 Watt Standby Generator has a five-year limited warranty period.
The size of the generator needed to power the house
The size of the generator that one needs to power their house will depend on some factors. Some of these factors include the water being used in the house, and the heating system of the hot water and heat pump systems. In the case of a house that is utilizing a good pump, it is necessary to ensure that the power generator has a voltage output of more than 230V which is the equivalent or more than 3800 watts of power.
There is also the factor of heat pump for the heating system whereby the power wattage should not be less than 2500 watts. However, the power requirement for the generator also significantly depends on the size of the furnace system. The larger the system is, the larger the power requirement. However, it is notable that most heating systems that utilize electricity require more than 15,000 watts so that they can function effectively.
In a situation where the system for heating water is powered by electricity, more power will be required because it needs more than 4500 watts while in the case of gas or oil powering; the power requirement should be at least 2500 watts. The overall power requirement for a house that has city water and has a small furnace, the power generator should have a wattage of between 3000 and 5000 watts. However, if the furnace is large and the water supply is a well, a larger power of 5000 to 7000 watts will be required.
The Map Of The Home Electrical System
After one has determined that power generator that is suitable for the house, it is essential to plan on where it will be installed. It implies that it is necessary to survey where the power generator will be mounted. Important factors that are considered are the location of the outlets as well as the switches. It is essential to understand how the switches are connected to the devices and circuits. In some instances, the mapping process may require more than one person, and therefore it may be necessary to make use of a mobile phone or a walkie-talkie to ensure that effective communication is facilitated.
Calculating Home Generator Wattage
It is essential to ensure that one is aware of the power requirement which is essentially the summation of the entire power requirement according to the devices that need to be powered. It implies that consideration should be taken for the power requirement of all devices and add up the values. In most cases, all powered devices indicate the power requirement, and if the information is not indicated, it can also be accessed on the manual of the product.
To make it easy for our clients to calculate the home generator wattage requirement, we have in place an online wattage calculator. It is important to note that different devices have differing power requirement and therefore some of them may have a lower power requirement while others may have a higher power requirement.
The Function of The Transfer Switch
As mentioned earlier in this article, the transfer switch is important because it plays a significant role. The primary purpose of the transfer switch is to cut off and switch on the power which provides safety as far as power is concerned. Some of the benefits that are attached to using a transfer switch are protection for the devices as well as the generator. Furthermore, using the power generator in the absence of the transfer switch might endanger the life of the user as well as other people that may be in the vicinity.
In some cases, installing the transfer switch may not be a complex task, and if one has some technical background, then they might be in a position to install by themselves without necessarily requiring help from an expert. However, it is noteworthy that an incorrect installation may lead to a breach of health and safety procedures. In this case, it is essential to seek assistance from a professional which will incur a cost. The estimated cost of hiring a professional for installation of the transfer switch is approximately $500 to $900 inclusive of the labor cost.
There is also the alternative of using an interlocking device that is much cheaper and costs from $50 to $150. This device may prove useful because, with the help of a manual, one can easily install it by themselves. The interlocking device can be helpful in preventing incidences of energy spikes.
Installation of the Whole House Generator
Safety should be a priority when it comes to installing the generator after it has been selected and although different procedures are depending on the type of generator, it is necessary to ensure that some key elements are considered during the process.
The first thing to do before starting the installation process is to ensure that one reads carefully the instructions that are provided in the manual as well as the ones indicated on the generator. If the user notes that the instructions are not clearly understood, it is advisable to seek help from a professional.
It is essential to ensure that the power generator is installed in a place that has sufficient ventilation. It is best to ensure that the generator is placed in a location where there are at least 5 meters of space in all sides and also important to ensure that it is kept as far as possible from any open flames.
Furthermore, one must ensure that the generator is placed on a flat surface and an outlet used to connect it to the electrical system rather than connecting it directly. The generator must be correctly and sufficiently grounded, and at the same time, it should not be exposed to vapor, dirt or moisture. It is also essential to ensure that the generator is not overfilled to prevent it from overfilling since fuel expands when temperatures are high.
Another important factor to consider is to ensure that the load capacity of the generator is never exceeded because it will only lead to problems. On the contrary, if the power required is more than the generator can provide, then the only solution is to use a more powerful generator that has more power output.
Choosing a Suitable Place For the Location Of the Generator During Installation
When installing the generator, it is essential to ensure that the location is where the device will function safely and effectively. It is necessary to understand that a generator deals with producing electricity and therefore if it is not installed safely, there is a possibility that people in the immediate surrounding may be exposed to the danger that may lead to injury or even loss of lives. Standby generators must always be installed outside the housekeeping in mind that the location must be free from flooding. This prevents the risk of electrocution.
Another factor that should be considered when selecting the location of the generator is to ensure that it is in a well-ventilated location because as it functions, it produces carbon monoxide which is a toxic gas. Two main factors should be considered when selecting the location for the generator namely placement and pads. When considering the placement, it is essential to consider the general guidelines according to the local authority requirement.
Standard procedures require generators to be placed away from other appliances and they should be placed in a location where the winds will blow the fumes away from the house. The generator should be placed in a location away from living areas, bedrooms and where the noises emitted by the same do not disturb the neighbors. It should be protected from animals, pets and in a location where it is not obstructed by vegetation such as scrubs.
After determining the location where the generator will be placed, it is essential to ensure that one obtains a permit from the local authority after inspection. By so doing, one can avoid loss of money and time in case the code inspector determines that the selected location is unsuitable after installation has already been done. In some regions, it is a requirement that the generator should be placed on a concrete pad while in others the pad can either be pea gravel or simply a bed made of gravel. There are instances where the manufacturer of the generator takes the initiative of providing an enclosure under one condition; the surface where the pad or enclosure will be placed is level or flat.
Maintenance of the Whole House Generator
It is necessary to ensure that one’s generator is maintained to ensure that it remains efficient and also safe similar to any machine powered by an engine. In the case of a standby generator, the duration after which it should undergo maintenance is 200 hours after it has been used or after two years of service if it is not used frequently.
Every generator is accompanied by the manufacturer’s maintenance kit that has detailed instructions of how the procedure should be handled. The first initiative to take is to ensure that you go through the owner’s manual because it has specifications that are designed for the model. The first step is to ensure that you conduct an oil change whereby old oil should be completely drained and replaced with new one.
The volume of the new oil should be 2 quarts. It is also important to ensure that overheating is avoided especially in situations where the generator runs for two days. To ensure that the generator is in good shape and working condition, it is essential to ensure that the spark plugs are changed after one year of use. After changing the oil and installing new spark plugs, it is essential to ensure that the air filter is also replaced.
Securing the Permit for The Standby Generator Installation
As it has been discussed in another section of this article, it is essential to ensure that a permit is obtained before the generator is installed. Although it may take time for the local inspector to show up and inspect the location, it is advisable that the installation procedure does not start without a permit. It is a requirement that an electrical permit is obtained because basically, a generator deals with electricity. Although there are instances where a plumbing permit may be required, it is not a requirement in most cases.
The permits required to depend on the municipality and the regulations set in place by the local authority. It is important to note that obtaining a permit if one is a homeowner may necessitate the acquisition of a license. In most instances, the professional mandated with the installation process to obtain the necessary permits for the installation process.
It is also worth noting that obtaining a permit requires that one pays a fee which can also be included in the installation cost. In the case where a plumbing permit is required, the installation professional will ensure that the permit is obtained. However, there are instances where the municipality or local authority may require the services of a certified plumber. If that is the case, it may be necessary for the contractor to seek the services of a subcontractor who is a plumber.