Q: What size generator do I need? How do I correctly size a generator for my home?
A: Generators provide homeowners with a way to power everything from their most critical appliances and systems to their entire house. The size of the generator that you’ll need will depend on what you are looking to power in the event that your electricity goes out. Size, when referenced in terms of generators, most commonly refers not to the physical size of the machine, but its electrical capacity. If you’ll want to keep your refrigerator, air conditioning, and one TV running simultaneously, you can determine the electrical capacity you’ll need by adding up the total watts of each load amount.
Q: How much will a generator cost?
A: Generators vary in cost depending on a number of factors including the electrical capacity (watts) and the features of the unit. One of our generator technicians can find the right generator to fit your needs and budget. We also offer financing for installing a generator. Maintenance plans can also help provide peace of mind and ensure the longevity of your generator. It’s important to remember that the value a generator can provide you and your family cannot solely be measured monetarily. Generators provide owners with a sense of security and reliability that your family will be protected in the event of an emergency.
Q: What is a standby / automatic back-up / fixed generator?
A: Standby generators are permanent structures located outside of your home on a concrete base. They typically run using natural gas or liquid propane, and automatically turn on in a matter of seconds when a power failure is detected, even when you’re not home. Once utility power returns, a standby generator will power off on its own.
Q: Can I install a standby generator myself?
A: Standby generators require installation to be performed by an experienced professional. In addition to hooking up the transfer switch, a licensed electrician will make sure that everything is installed properly so that your warranty is protected and remains valid. Regulations differ on several different levels. By hiring a professional to install your standby generator, they’ll make sure that you have all the necessary permits and that your generator meets any local and state electrical code requirements.
Q: Do I need a building permit?
A: Will you need a permit for a generator? It’s possible you will need a permit before any installation work begins. You will also need a home electrical inspection conducted by a licensed professional after the installation is complete. Do research into your county or municipality to determine just what type or how many permits will be required.
Q: Do generators need maintenance?
A: YES! Just like any other mechanical equipment, generators also need to be maintained in order to keep your unit in proper working order and to prevent permanent damage. Just like a car engine, generators require periodic filter and oil changes.
Our generator service technicians can provide your standby and portable generator with 24/7 emergency response and standard maintenance services that are unsurpassed in the industry. Call us to find out more about our preventative maintenance agreement packages and routine maintenance services.
Q: What is the difference between an air-cooled generator and a liquid-cooled generator?
A: The difference is 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 kilowatt generators, due to the larger engines required for the higher power output.
Q: Do I have to push a button to turn the generator on?
A: NO! A standby generator with an automatic transfer switch is just that—automatic. They monitor the electrical feed from the utility company and when your home loses power the backup generator will automatically turn on.
Q: What do I have to do to make the generator work?
A: Once the generator is installed, there is nothing for you to do. Regular maintenance would include having the oil changed once a year by a Generator Authority-certified technician.
Q: How do I know the generator is working?
A: The generator runs a self-diagnostic test and runs briefly once a week for approximately ten minutes. This test will assure you that the generator is ready when you need it.
Q: How much does a backup generator cost to operate?
A: A standby generator operates on either natural gas or propane. The cost is a function of how many home appliances, lights, and heating and/ or cooling equipment you have running as well as the cost of propane or gas.
Q: How long will it run?
A: As long as there is a fuel supply of natural gas or propane, a well-maintained backup generator will keep running. If the generator is running on propane, with a 500-gallon tank, it should run 24 hours a day for over a week.
Q: How loud are they?
A: Generac generators are pretty quiet. They are average rated at 66 decibels at three meters (about ten feet). That’s about the sound of the A/C running or a phone ringing. You should call Generator Authority, 817-984-3600 if your generator begins making loud, unusual noises that indicate a problem with its internal components.
Q: What maintenance is required?
A: We recommend a 6-month service check-up and oil change once a year. You should schedule a maintenance check just like you would do with your air conditioner or furnace. A generator is an engine. It exercises once a week plus whatever power outages you experience.
Q: Do you offer a maintenance agreement?
A: Yes, we do. The maintenance agreement includes two visits, a 6-month service checkup , and an annual tune-up. We perform all service and system testing.
Q: Can a backup generator run the whole house?
A: It sure can. That’s what our experts help you figure out. We help determine what the right size generator is for your home and lifestyle. Our worst fear is you install a generator that is too small to operate the equipment you want or need in an emergency.
Q: Can I just run specific circuits?
A: Yes, you can select specific electrical circuits.
Q: Can I just have my air conditioner, refrigerator, and a few lights work if the power goes out?
A: YES! You can install a generator to run just what you need or want; not too big and not too small.
Q: How long will my generator last?
A: There’s no guarantee for how long your generator system will last, but with proper maintenance and care, a quality unit used for emergency power can last upwards of 20 years. In particular, Generac generators are made with OHVI engines that were created specifically for generator use. These generators have been shown to provide owners with over 30 years of reliable service and are the most trusted name in the industry. Contact Generator Authority with any questions you may have with regard to a commercial or residential generator.
Q: Where should the generator be installed?
A: Location matters. If the generator is installed near an electrical meter or natural gas line, the cost of installation can be lower.
Q: Can an automatic backup generator replace utility service?
A: No! The generator fuel costs would be much more expensive than buying power from the utility company since their cost to produce electricity is divided among thousands of customers. Our automatic generators are produced for use as a backup to utility power, specifically, and should not be used as primary power.
Q: If I have a problem with my generator where do I go for help?
A: Generator Authority can perform repair/warranty service. We can provide service, and information on your generator regardless of where it was purchased/who installed it.
Q: How do I shut down my generator when it's powering my house?
A: IMPORTANT—to avoid equipment damage, follow these steps in order during utility outages. Shutdowns may be required during utility outages to perform routine maintenance or to conserve fuel.
To turn the generator OFF:
- Set the main utility disconnect to OFF (OPEN)
- Set the generator MLCB (generator disconnect) to OFF (OPEN).
- Allow the generator to run for a cool-down period of approximately one minute.
- At the controller, set the generator to OFF.
- Remove the 7.5A fuse from the controller.
To turn the generator back ON:
- Install 7.5A fuse in controller.
- Confirm the generator MLCB (generator disconnect) is OFF (OPEN).
- At the controller, set the generator to AUTO mode.
- Generator will start and run. Allow generator to run and warm up for a few minutes.
- Set the MLCB (generator disconnect) to ON (CLOSED).
- Set the main utility disconnect to ON (CLOSED).
The system now operates in automatic mode.
After you go through these steps, the control panel may go through the programming. All of your settings should be held there so you’ll have to just hit ENTER through it (or you can make any adjustments that you need) until you return to the main screen (“Switched to off, hours of protection” or “system” is flashing.) Additionally, you will need to reconnect your Wi-Fi if your router is not backed up by the generator
Q: What size gas line do I need?
A: We recommend contacting your gas provider, a licensed plumber, or we can arrange a licensed plumber. They will be able to size the gas line for you. Gas pipe size will depend on the length of run from the source and how many elbows and T’s there are. Every home and every installation is different. The placement of the generator, the amount of materials required, and the installation of the natural gas or propane fuel source all make estimating installation costs unique. The best way to know for sure is to get a free in-home assessment. They will listen to your needs, assess your home, and give you a detailed quote.
Q: Can my home backup unit be set up to run on propane and natural gas?
A: NO. Our Generac backup generators are designed to run on one fuel source. They are factory-set to run on natural gas, however; at the time of installation, your generator can be reconfigured to run on liquid propane.
Q: How big should my liquid propane (LP) tank be?
A: We recommend at least 250 gallons for our Generac automatic standby units. However, every property is different, and so is every installation and set-up. We recommend that you get a free in-home assessment to help determine the best solution for your needs. In-home assessments are available to you at no charge, with no obligation, and no pressure.
Q: How does an automatic transfer switch work?
A: The transfer switch is an essential part of the home backup system. Its primary function is to prevent your home from being powered by utility and generator power at the same time. If utility power is lost, the generator control panel senses the loss and tells the transfer switch to close off the connection with the utility and complete the connection with the generator. At this time, the generator will begin providing power to the home.
Q: How is the automatic transfer switch connected to the house/generator?
A: This can vary by the type of transfer switch and depends on the number of circuits you would like covered. In a partial home application, the transfer switch is installed similarly to a subpanel, and the circuits that are covered by the generator are moved either into a circuited transfer switch or are installed in a subpanel that is protected by a non-circuited transfer switch. In a whole home application, the transfer switch is installed between the incoming utility power source and the home’s distribution panel.
Q: How do I know which transfer switch I need?
A: If you’re interested in an automatic home standby generator let your technician know and we can determine the proper transfer switch to use for your unique situation. We will evaluate your specific needs and make a recommendation that fits your budget. During your consultation, you will receive the personalized attention and detailed evaluation you need to find a solution that works for your need.