Frequently Asked Questions
What is an automatic standby generator?
An automatic standby generator is a back up electrical system that operates whether you are home or away. Within seconds of an outage, it automatically supplies power directly to your home’s electrical circuit breaker box. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage. It operates on natural gas or liquid propane gas and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit.
Why should I buy an automatic standby generator instead of a portable generator?
During a utility power outage, an automatic standby generator provides numerous advantages over a portable generator: With an automatic standby generator properly installed outside, your home is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning that is a much greater risk with portable generators. Running on the home’s natural gas or LP fuel supply, it is less expensive to run than gasoline and does not need to be refilled. They start automatically within seconds of a power outage, and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout your home. They provide protection 24/7, whether you’re home or away, and they turn themselves off when utility power returns, so there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.
OK, But can you still tell me about a Portable Unit if I decide to go this way?
Of course! Many people still opt for a portable unit to keep the essential things running - A well pump for Water, the refrigerator and the electrical circuitry for heat (with and oil boiler)! It is a less expensive option, but requires some manual work upon a an outage, in addition to constant refilling of the unit (5-8 hours). If the unit is installed with a transfer switch, a great deal of work is offset and this can be a good option for true emergency power, and cost conscious home owners!
How much will the whole thing cost me!?
In the simplest of terms, the total cost will be the price of generator PLUS the price of installation. Most whole-house standby systems will cost between $3800-$5500 to install, depending on a number of factors. You can see what we mean at our HOW MUCH WILL IT COST Page. We like to tell customers to double the price of the generator, and this should be the high-end for the installation and In most circumstances we come in below this number. Also remember, whether you buy your generator from us, or a home center, CALL US FOR PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION! The Generator Guys will hook you up as we have since 2010.
It seem complicated to figure out how much it will all cost, do you have standard packages?
YES! Great Question! :) We have put together some standard packages that will apply to 95% of the market. These are turn-key prices which include everything but the permit, which will vary by town, and are basically insignificant in the total price. Take a look at our TURN-KEY PACKAGES HERE!
What is the difference between an automatic air-cooled generator and an automatic liquid-cooled generator?
The engines! Air-cooled generators come with engines that use fans to force air across the engine for cooling, while liquid-cooled generators use enclosed radiator systems for cooling, similar to an automobile. Generally, liquid-cooled engines are used on larger kW generators due to the larger engines required for the higher power output.
How do I correctly size a generator for my home?
The most logical way to determine your needs is to envision your home without power. Some outages may be short in duration, while others could last for days or weeks. We have developed a Automatic Wattage Calculator that will help you determine the size needed by letting you check the essential devices while we calculate the running and surge wattage. Then based on this answer, we can help you select the right unit!
What is the difference between running and Surge Wattage?
The running wattage is the total power your appliances use when running in constant state, while the surge wattage is what they use the moment they are turned on. Electric Motors take more power to start, than when running, so this number is important on an automatic unit, as when the unit turns on, ALL appliance start running. There are a lot of new systems that untilize a technology called load Sheding, which will turn appliances on in a specific order, so you will never experience a total SURGE and can size your generator accordingly. We will happy to discuss the various options with you.
What would your family miss during an outage?
With the broadest product line available, essential circuit coverage starts with the economically priced Generac CorePower™ Series. Other systems are available to cover virtually any application: Essential Circuit Coverage – Generac takes the guesswork out of sizing by offering prepackaged Guardian Series generator systems. The generator is paired with a transfer switch containing a predetermined number of circuits based on the generator’s kW power rating. Each circuit is directly connected to a matched circuit on the home’s main circuit breaker panel, providing electricity to that specific appliance or area of the home. For example, ten circuits are supplied for the 8 kW generator. With this system, you could connect (1) lights and TV in the family room, (2) microwave and lights in the kitchen, (3) refrigerator, (4) power to the bathroom, (5) computer and home office, (6) garage door opener, (7) air conditioner, and (8) furnace. Managed Whole House Coverage – You can get more coverage with less generator, up to whole house coverage, by pairing a smaller generator with one of Generac’s Nexus™ load shedding switch options. This creates a managed power solution where non-essential circuits are shed when the generator approaches maximum capacity. They are cycled back on when essential circuits no longer require power, so all circuits receive power at different times. Complete Whole House Coverage – Easily cover every circuit in your home by pairing one of Generac’s larger kW units and the proper transfer switch to provide full coverage. No circuit is ever left uncovered, so every appliance is available every minute.
What is your "NO SURPRISES COST ESTIMATE"?
NO one likes surprises - trust us! This is why we come to your home and assess the situation thoroughly and with the experience of having installed hundred of generators. We then prepare a cost estimate that includes our findings and builds in any contingencies so that you will know what the installation will cost to the penny. In this way, you will be a Happy Customer and we will be Happy Guys!
What is a transfer switch and why do I need one?
A transfer switch is an electrical switch that reconnects electric power source from its primary source to a standby source (the generator). Switches may be manually or automatically operated depending on configuration. An Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) is often installed where a backup generator is located, so that the generator may provide temporary electrical power if the utility source fails. As well as transferring the load to the backup generator, an ATS also tells the backup generator to start, based on the voltage level on the primary electric supply. The transfer switch isolates the backup generator from the electric utility, when the generator is on and is providing temporary power. Then once the utility power is restored, the transfer switch tell the generator to shut down, and it reconnects the circuits to the Utility!.
Once installed, how do I make sure it will work when I need it?
We program most Generators to do a monthly Self-Test so we know the unit will be working, however, it is a good idea to check the oil periodically and have the unit maintained especially if it had not be run for a while. We offer multiple options on this front -call us to know more.
What do I do when the lights go out?
With an Automatic Generator, NOTHING, the lights and important appliances should come back in within a few seconds. With a Portable unit, you will need to move the unit outside, start it, and plug it into the transfer switch. Then you will need to switch the desired appliances on in the correct order as not to exceed the wattage with the Surge Wattage.
If I previously bought my own generator will you install it for me?
YES, we would be happy to do a Professional installation of your unit, regardless of where the unit was purchased.
What’s the advantage of an aluminum enclosure?
Aluminum enclosures are naturally rust and corrosion resistant. For salt air or high humidity conditions, aluminum is highly recommended to ensure decades of worry free service.
Do they have to be maintained?
Yes, simple maintenance is required. All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Preventative maintenance kits are available and we offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules.
What type of oil should I use?
An SAE rated high detergent oil that meets API Service Class SF requirements for gasoline engines, similar to your car. Refer to your owner’s manual for details.
What happens if the generator gets overloaded?
Most generators are equipped with overload protection. In the rare event of an overload, the generator’s circuit breaker will trip, disconnecting the unit from the load. Simply correct the overload and reset the breaker in the generator.
If I have a problem with my generator where do I go for help?
If we installed it, we stanbdy it! -- Call us and we will help you with whatever the problem may be!