You likely wonder and ask: What is a standby generator?
Well, a standby generator is simply a power backup system that is designed to work automatically as soon as a power outage occurs.
Who can really benefit from acquiring a whole house generator?
It is primarily people who live in a place where power blackouts frequently occur.
Yes, if you reside in an area where power outages are the order of the day and this takes hours to be fixed, you surely need a whole house generator.
It is an asset you dearly need.
Of course, there are many possible situations that can leave us out in the dark, depriving us of much-needed power.
Talk of natural disasters, bad weather and the like.
We all know what life is like without power. If you depend on electricity to do your work or maintain household appliances and there is no power for hours, woe unto you.
You are doomed.
Yes, the food stored in the fridge will go bad, many ordinary services will be interrupted and internet connection will not be there.
Of course, this kind of scenario is quite unpleasant, even dangerous.
A whole house generator provides a wonderful solution to such a problem.
As the name suggests, it is generally designed to take care of your power requirements in the whole house.
In this post, we will discuss all elements of the best standby generators in the market in 2020.
Also included here are the most recommended reviews of standby generators, a few comparison tables and buying guides. You can skim through these to make a choice of the best equipment for your home in 2020.
Our Full Whole House Generator Reviews
Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator
- Fuel: Liquid propane, natural gas.
- General Power output: 22,000 W.
- Transfer switch: 200-amp, NEMA 3.
- Dimensions: 48 x 25 x 29 inches.
- 5-year limited warranty.
- LED indicators for generator status.
The Generac 7043 comes nicely wrapped in an all-weather anti-corrosive aluminum body. The generator has harmonic distortion rates of less than five per cent. This is important for protecting sophisticated electronics.
You are always free to buy the generator alone or buy it with the 200-amp automatic transfer switch. The Generac 7043 comes with a 22 KW power output.
For easy and quick installation, repair and maintenance, it may be advisable to remove three sides of the original enclosure. Note that, because the cost of the battery is not included in the initial price, buying the Generac 7043 also means you must budget for the battery separately.
The generator comes with a multilingual LCD display. This helps the user to monitor the status of the generator. It also helps the user to check the utility power presence and other maintenance issues.
Test of Quietness
We went ahead to do a Quiet-Test Self- mode on the Generac 7043.
As a result, we found that the machine recorded a lower RPM.
This simply means the Generac runs on less fuel when compared with similar products made by other manufacturers. Moreover, the Generac G-Force engine comes conveniently pressure-lubricated. It, therefore, requires less servicing and maintenance. Further, it is quite reliable.
You can fuel the generator with natural gas or liquid propane.
The Generac comes with a mobile link remote monitoring app. You can, therefore, control the generator using your smartphone, tablet or computer. You can also use the app to check the machine’s maintenance schedule and current operating status using this app.
The Generac comes with a five- year limited warranty.
- Higher power output
- Comes with a special application for mobile and web monitoring.
- Easy maintenance.
- Has an excellent, cooperative customer service.
- It has no alternator for charging the generator battery.
- You can’t run it for more than 24 hours.
- You can’t change the battery while the generator is running.
Champion 12.5-kW Home Standby Generator
The new Champion 12.5-kW home standby generator can easily provide you with 24/7 power for your home.
This fully automatic unit of the modern generator is classified as a quietest-in-class item.
Remarkably, the machine never needs irregular refueling. It is designed to operate in extreme heat or sub-zero temperatures. The unit comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
- It is a totally automatic machine.
- The generator comes with a special, automatic ATS100 emergency essentials indoor transfer switch. It has 16 available circuits and can provide power seamlessly during an outage.
- It a quietest-in-class product.
- Due to its advanced sound -dampening system and specially designed low-tone muffler, the Champion 12.5 generator runs at just 63dBA noise levels. This is quite residential-friendly.
- The 24-volt starting system generator operates in sub-zero or extreme heat (ranging from 22° F and 104° F). You don’t need to use a warming kit with this machine. Further, the generator is capable of performing self-diagnostic tests on a weekly basis.
- The 12.5-kilowatt Champion generator offers 12,500 watts of continuous power. You can run it using propane or natural gas, without refueling. It has no manual operation. You, therefore, do not need to use an extension cord.
- The Champion 12.5 comes with a 10-year limited warranty and a free lifetime technical support offered by a team of dedicated experts.
The Champion Power Equipment 12.5-kW is a powerful home standby generator. It has a special ATS100 Indoor-Rated Automatic Transfer Switch. It gives you the simplest solution to the problem of a power outage.
Yes, using this generator, you can enjoy much peace of mind with security and convenience for the family during emergencies.
GENERAC 7175 13KW
The Generac 7175, on its part, is a 2-cylinder, 816cc G-Force engine generator.
- The machine’s oil tank can store up to 2.2 quarts of oil. The air-cooled gas engine can run on various speed ranges using the G-Flex variable speed technology.
- The generator’s digital voltage regulation is -/+1%. Its automatic voltage regulation system is designed to maximize regulation, optimize response to changing load conditions and provide maximum motor -starting capability.
- This makes it wonderful for all climate situations.
- The Generac gives a whole house protection and comes with an aluminum outdoor enclosure, NEMA 3R 200-amp, NEMA 3R smart switch.
- The Generac’s Wi-Fi capabilities allows the user to check the machine’s status from anywhere in the world. You can also check the weather conditions at home. The efficient control panel uses an alarm to alert the user whenever there is a faulty condition.
- The machine comes with lots of protection systems.
- It shuts down automatically during extreme high temperatures, when sensing situations like low oil pressure, over the crank, over or under-speed, wiring error, controller fault, over or under voltage, and such issues.
- This mechanism helps to extend the generator’s life.
- The Generac comes with a dual-fuel carburetion system engine.
- It runs on pipeline, natural gas or liquid propane vapor.
- The fuel system is usually configured during installation.
- The Generac 7175 generator is both EPA & CARB compliant.
Generac 7175’s Clean Energy
It is also a UL 2200 and ETL certified product. The Generac 7175 is ideal for residential use. It can be used to run refrigerators, sump pumps, furnaces, air conditioners, TVs, monitors, computers, microwaves, and general lights.
The machine comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
The Generac 7175 13kW generator is the latest entrant into the Guardian family. The machine produces crisp and clean energy, ideal for all household appliances. You can get the generator at a lot less than the cost of similar models.
The special, air-cooled generator is specifically designed for long use. It gives low emissions at a low THD of -5%. It requires limited maintenance and comes in an aluminum casing which is weather-resistant.
The wonderful Wi-Fi capabilities is what makes this model to be the number one choice for most modern homeowners.
What is a Standby Generator?
A standby generator is essentially a power backup system that switches on automatically when a power outage occurs.
The generator usually starts within a few seconds following a blackout.
Through the automatic transfer switch, the generator automatically senses power loss. Once this happens, the electrical load is transferred instantly. At this point, the generator will immediately start supplying power to the circuits.
The wonderful point with a whole house stand by generator is this: These machines come ready installed. When you acquire them, they are just waiting to rescue you in case of a power blackout.
Truly, the best option for homes in case of a power outage is a standby or whole house generator.
This is primarily due to the generator’s simplicity and variety of rich benefits.
How Does a Standby Generator Work?
A home standby generator has two primary parts: The actual generator unit and the automatic transfer switch. In case of an outage, the two parts will work together to ensure your home is powered within seconds.
The transfer switch and the standby generator are usually installed by a licensed professional. These get connected to the existing electrical wiring at home.
In case of power loss, the generator is always ready to start automatically. Moreover, the machine has the capacity to sense as soon as the utility power stops flowing to the regular home system.
The automatic switch will transfer the home selected appliances and circuits to the generator. This happens within seconds.
Once the backup generator senses again that the utility power is back, the system is automatically transferred to utility power. At this point, the generator automatically shuts down until a future time when its services will be required again.
What Benefits Can You Get from a Standby Generator?
A standby generator comes with reduced noise. This helps in better and efficient operation. Most modern standby generators are designed to muffle sound with the latest technology. This minimizes noise levels to become suited for residential purposes.
Longer intervals of maintenance:
A standby generator, unlike the portable one, can sustain longer maintenance periods.
Standby generators are also designed for greater fuel efficiency. They run using higher quality automotive-style engines. These are more efficient and reliable.
Standby generators are liquid-cooled. This means they can handle longer outage periods. Moreover, they feature load management and A/C shedding options for better efficiency.
This is a great asset to back up the entire home.
Further, you can use your high wattage and sensitive appliances like computers, air conditioners, and other standard equipment.
Which is Truly Better; a Portable or Standby Generator?
Yes, how do these two classes of generators measure up against each other?
Let’s start with portable generators.
a) Portable Generators
Portable generators are essentially manually operated.
You just need to take them outside the house to a suitable place. Then, all you have to do is plug them into your office or home. Keep in mind that you should keep adding more fuel to keep them running. You may use propane, gasoline or diesel fuel.
Portable generators are, however, not the best choice if you want an emergency power supply that is 100% hands free.
In case the power goes off when you are far away from home, a few nasty things could happen. For instance, you could be met with spoilt food in the refrigerator.
b) Standby Generators
Standby generators, on the other hand, switch on automatically whenever they register a drop in power.
Keep in mind that, whenever the power goes off, you don’t have to be present physically at home to turn the generator on. There will usually be a short delay lasting less than fifteen seconds as the generator fully switches on. Before long, the machine will soon start, getting the power rolling again in your home.
Many generator models, such as Generac, typically offer the internet connection option. This gives you remarkable control over your generator.
Yes, you can use a suitable smartphone app even when you are hundreds of miles away to turn it on or off.
Generally, these generators can be hooked to a more consistent source of energy, like natural gas or propane. This means in case of a power outage you don’t have to worry about refueling the generator.
Portable Generators will cost you between $500 and $1,500. This is the kind of generator that will give you up to 10,000 watts of power. Of course, this is enough energy to power the average home with standard home appliances and lights. Besides spending a little on fuel, using a portable generator, you will usually incur a setup cost of approximately $30.
To get a standby generator which can power the entire home, be prepared to spend between $3000 and $5000. Moreover, it will cost between $2000 and $4000 to install it. This includes the amount you’ll pay the installation technician and the plumber assigned to you.
What Type of a Fuel Standby Generator is Best?
Consideration of Fuel Types Generators
Traditional portable generators usually run off several sources of fuel. The most common types of fuel include gasoline, propane and diesel.
Regardless, most standby/whole home generators can utilize many different fuel sources. This allows them to continue running for extended periods. You do not need to spend a fortune to accomplish this. Moreover, you can always take advantage of other sources of fuel that get delivered to your home.
One of the most widely used, popular sources of fuel is diesel.
It gives a good amount of high thermal efficiency. For this reason, you can always get lots of energy production without using much fuel. Moreover, it is possible to store diesel fuel for longer periods.
Diesel is Safe and Reliable
Despite the fact that it is necessary to initiate a storage and transport mechanism, diesel fuel is always considered to be a safe and reliable type of fuel that anyone can count on.
Another commonly used source of fuel is natural gas.
It is widely used in home or standby generators.
It is especially used in homes that already have natural gas fuel delivered to serve other purposes like heating. Indeed, it is quite cost-effective to use a natural gas generator.
It delivers lots of power. Moreover, if the various sources of fuel are already available on site, the initial process of installation is as easy as a quick plumbing project.
Liquid propane systems (LP)
Liquid Propane systems are getting installed more frequently than in the past.
One reason for this is that the supply of fuel is never in danger of getting spoilt, regardless of how long it is stored.
Of course, the fuel should typically be stored separately, in much the same way as diesel. This is, however, one of the most popular sources of fuel for people who want to be sure that their valued investment in generator fuel will never get spoilt before use.
The greatest advantage of using several types of fuel is that you are always safe. You never have to worry that the fuel stocks at the local sellers is getting low, or that the fuel may not be available to anyone soon.
This is because you are always free to use several types of fuel.
What is the Cost of Buying a Whole House Generator?
The question comes: How much does it actually cost to buy a good whole house generator?
Well, if you calculate the total cost that includes the cost of installing the generator at home, it should be around $500 to 3,000.
Of course, this depends on the chosen model and a few other factors.
Happily, as a rule, the cost of installation does not have to deter you when making your purchases. This is because, overall, portable units of the mobile generator do not require regular professional installation.
They are made ready and simple.
Mapping Out the Home Electrical System
You have now figured out precisely how to use your generator.
It is time to take a tour around your retreat or house.
You need to determine exactly where the switches are located on your outlets and switches. You need to flip the service panel switches. In this manner, you can determine which of these will switch your power, circuits or devices.
How Best Can You Do This?
The easiest way is simply to recruit one of your family members to help you do this. One person should stand near the service panel and flip the switches. In the meantime, the other member should run around to determine what is turning on or off.
You may use a cell phone or walkie talkie to communicate and relay back the information. Make sure you write everything down. In no time, this job will be effectively done. Moreover, it will be done successfully.
How Do I Calculate My Home Generator’s Wattage?
This question may also come across.
And it is a most important question.
It will help you to determine the right size of the generator to buy. It is crucial to calculate the wattage to determine this correctly.
For some people, the entire work is too much.
It does not, however, need to be this bothersome. Neither does it have to involve complicated processes.
All it should take is making the effort to go around your house to determine precisely which appliances need to be powered.
After finding out the power requirements, it is time to find out the wattage required for each item. Next, just add up the wattage and you are done.
Check each device.
Often, the manufacturers usually indicate the wattage. It should be printed on the device.
In case you haven't determined the wattage after doing this, there is still an alternative:
Check the product manuals. Without fail, you will find the exact wattage printed there. You may even find the information online, as long as you know the appliance number.
The whole process does not have to deter you.
Happily, for readers and other visitors to our website, we have a fantastic solution to this:
Simply visit our website.
You will discover, to your delight, that we already have an online generator wattage calculator conveniently posted for the benefit of all visitors.
This is the ultimate solution to the common problem of wattage calculation.
Do I need a Transfer Switch? How Essential is It?
Yes, you surely need a transfer switch.
What exactly is that?
In simple terms, a transfer switch is the device that safely connects a portable or standby generator to your circuit panel.
The transfer switch does this using a single cable. If you make the mistake of avoiding to use this crucial device, the utility workers could easily find themselves in danger. Alternatively, the generator itself could get badly damaged and the appliances may be caused to fry or burn.
A licensed electrician should install this transfer switch. It will, however, cost you between $500 to 900 to do this.
This cost is inclusive of labor charges. It is, however, notable that if you get a stationery model, the transfer switch will automatically turn on.
When the power goes off, for portable generators, you may need to flip some few switches by hand. You should, however, make sure to ask your electrician to walk you through all the relevant procedures.
You may find that most transfer switches are made to fit the 220-volt input.
This means it will work with a 5,000 watt generator or bigger.
Most stationery models of generators usually shut off automatically when the power goes off. If you use a portable generator, you may have to flip the same switches, turned the other way.
In this way, you can set on the live power.
If you want to save a little cash, you may have to install an interlock device. This one costs about $100 to $200 less than what a transfer switch costs. Moreover, it can be installed in less time by a licensed electrician.
Once this is done, it will cover the main cut-off switch of the service panel. In this way, when the power comes back, you will not be able to start your generator even accidentally.
Of course, if the generator were switched on, it would be unfortunate and undesirable, causing damages.
Please note that we already have a detailed guide on our website about “how to choose a generator transfer switch.”
You are welcome to visit the website and benefit from the deeply researched information on this topic.
How Can I install a Whole House generator?
This is how to install your home generator efficiently:
Keep in mind that the exact steps to install a new home generator usually depends on the type of generator purchased. Moreover, it depends on the specific electrical setup of the machine.
We can, however, try to provide a detailed guide on the exact steps that you can use to install a new portable generator. Of course, it is not that easy to install a new portable generator, especially if you are not a skilled electrical engineer.
Many users of these machines usually opt to go for a professional technician to do the job. As earlier noted, it is advisable to use a professional engineer or technician to help you do the job. It, however, depends on where you live.
The Safety Precautions for Installation and Use of a Home Generator
Apart from picking the right generator for your needs, it is also important to make sure that you remain safe with your family. This is essential, especially when the installation process is underway. It is also important when operating this machine. Here are the tips on how to stay safe:
- Read the instructions and manual thoroughly. Do so from the front-to-back, well before the generator set -up process begins.
If you think you need professional assistance, do not hesitate to go for it.
- Always run the generator in an open area; outdoors. You will not get enough ventilation in enclosed spaces. Remember that the generator requires a minimum space of five feet on every side.
Better still is 15 feet.
- Keep the generator far from pilot lights, open flames, and so on.
- If you buy a portable generator rather than a standby generator, never wire it directly into the home electrical system.
Instead, use an outlet.
- Make sure the generator is always kept on a level surface.
- Ensure your generator is grounded properly.
- Do not expose the generator to moisture, dirt, or vapor.
- Keep in mind that fuel expands. If you overfill the tank, you will create a big problem.
- Never exceed the generator’s load capacity. If you need more power, get a more powerful generator.
How Can You Choose a Location for the Installation of Your Standby Home Generator?
It is usually a fairly straightforward matter to choose a location for a new home standby generator.
There are, however, a few factors to take into account when choosing the best location for your generator.
First, a good location should allow the generator to work safely and efficiently. Do not endanger the lives of those living in your house.
It is always wise to install standby generators outdoors.
The machine should be placed on stable ground that cannot be flooded.
Further, the exhaust gases from the generator need to be kept away from the house since it contains the deadly carbon monoxide.
These are genuine considerations when choosing the location of the generator.
Is a Whole House Generator Easy to Maintain?
Yes, you can take some practical steps to keep a whole house generator efficient and functioning for a long time.
You can guarantee uninterrupted power using the following tips for preventive maintenance of the whole house generator:
The engine oil must be checked regularly.
This should be done with the generator shut down at intervals using a dipstick.
Follow the recommendations from the manufacturer closely. Allow the oil in the upper portion of the engine to be drained back into the crankcase.
Use dependable, high quality oils, lubricants and coolants.
This keeps the engine working well.
During shutdown, check the coolant levels at specified intervals.
Allow the engine to cool then remove the radiator cap. If necessary, add the coolant until the level reaches 3/4 in.
Heavy-duty engines usually require a balanced mixture of water, coolant additives and antifreeze.
Inspect the radiator exterior for obstructions.
Remove all foreign material or dirt using a soft brush or cloth.
Keep in mind that diesel can easily be corroded or contaminated if the fuel remains unused within one year.
Drain the fuel filters at specified intervals to keep the engine functioning efficiently.
Do You Require a Permit To Install A Generator?
How Can You Get It?
Ordinarily, people need permission to install or build anything.
For instance, throughout the US states of Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, the communities require a permit any time they do anything involving installation or building of anything outside the normal structures.
Regardless, it matters precisely where you live.
This will have a bearing on how and where you get the permit.
Such a permit may be required by the specific township or city where you live. When planning for the installation, make sure you know the processing procedures for the city, state or municipality.
This is because regulations vary from place to place.
Moreover, the time needed to process a permit can take several weeks or months. It is, therefore, important to acquire your permit at the earliest opportunity; as soon as practically possible.
Certainly, regarding this matter of permits, the sales company for the purchased generator can turn out to be of great help.
They can give advice to help you get the permit as soon as possible. Indeed, such permits are usually processed well before the installation process kicks off.
If you have a standby generator in your home, it is advisable to obtain a permit. The main reason is connected to issues of possible resale of the home in the future.
During such resale, there must be a home inspection.
In this case, a permit sticker is necessary.
Further, the authorities will inspect your home generator to make sure it passes the home resale inspection.
Unless it passes, there is no resale.
Consult the local building authorities to inquire about the permit requirements. Remember, the authorities have the final say in all matters of electrical and plumbing installations.
Make sure that you are never left under the mercy of an unpredictable emergency or disaster situation.
Make sure that in the event of an emergency, you will always have power within and around your home.
Have a guarantee that you will always have power no matter what happens.
The best guarantee for this is to purchase a standby/ whole home generator.
Do not hesitate to use the well-researched, in-depth information provided in this post to get yourself an excellent whole home/standby generator.
You will never be disappointed.