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:
The American Red Cross recommends permanently installed standby generators as a safer way to provide backup power to a home than 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.
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. What would your family miss during an outage?
Essential Circuit Coverage – 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 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 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.
Where can I place the generator?
Every town has its own required setbacks as per your local municipality; your town will have that information. However all generator needs to be at least 5 feet from all windows and compressors at all time.
Can I install a generator myself?
We recommends having a factory-authorized dealer install your system, since he or she will be familiar with local and national codes, make sure the generator is properly sized, and avoid code issues with local inspectors.
How long does an installation usually take?
The installation duration is typically from 4 – 7 days. Each install is different but general installs take planning and execution. Concrete work (day 1), electric and machine placement (day 2), Plumbing work (Day 3), Start-up on with power test (day 4).
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 offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience.
Does a generator require a permit?
Yes, each town has its own laws and setback. It is required that you follow the laws and install a generator to your town’s requirements. We are experts and fully licensed. Our expertise in expediting and assisting you will come in handy to fulfill the permitting process.
What is the Warranty on these machines?
You will find that the 20KW and below come with a five year Warranty from the generator manufacturer. However the larger machines have 1 to 2 year Warranty but you can get an extended Warranty at any time. Warranties cover all factory limited parts. But labor is setup with your service contract specialist.
How do I register my generator's warranty protection?
To register your warranty, have an authorized service technician complete a post-installation Warranty Start-Up at your home. Then, instead of your warranty beginning on the day the generator ships from the factory, it begins on the day your service technician submits your generator system’s details to the Warranty Start-Up program. The technician completes a checklist, makes sure the system is properly installed, and enters all necessary information onto the Kohler Warranty site. This moves the warranty start date to the day your generator is installed; instead of the date it left the factory.
Does my generator purchase include a battery?
Generators ship without batteries to ensure that the freshest possible battery is installed at the jobsite. Your Operation Manual recommends the proper battery for your generator model. Batteries come in sizes that are readily available at any battery or auto-parts store.
What happens if the generator gets overloaded?
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.
What is the difference between RESAL and RESA generators?
RESAL generators come with a transfer switch. RESA generators come with a controller that offers access to advanced settings; a transfer switch is purchased separately.
What is the difference between a transfer switch that's rated for a service entrance and one that's rated for a non-service entrance?
A service-entry-rated switch comes equipped with a main-line disconnect breaker built into the transfer switch. This is a nationwide code requirement when the transfer switch is wired directly into the incoming main power line for whole-house power. A non-service-entry-rated switch requires the addition of a disconnect breaker at the jobsite. The service-entry-rated switch saves you time and money during the installation process.
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.
What’s the advantage of an aluminum enclosure?
In addition to its sturdy galvanneal steel enclosure with RhinoCoat, Generac is one of the few companies to offer premium aluminum enclosures for its residential standby generators. 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.
Ask On Support
If you still have questions Contact Us and an expert will be happy to answer your questions.
Use Our Forum
If you have questions that are not answered here check out Our Blog and read what other questions people have asked.
01. How do I learn about local installation codes?
Code requirements for installing standby generator systems vary nationwide. That’s why we recommends having a factory-authorized dealer install your system, since he or she will be familiar with local and national codes, make sure the generator is properly sized, and avoid code issues with local inspectors.
02. How do I manually “power off” the generator set?
Open the generator hood or access door and flip the circuit breaker to the “off” position (you’ll find the breaker near the digital controller). This shuts off power to the house (the load). It’s a good idea to run the generator with no load for 2-5 minutes. Then press the “off” button on the controller.
03. What type of oil do generators us?
An SAE rated high detergent oil that meets API Service Class SF requirements for gasoline engines, similar to your car. Also known as synthetic oil, you can get it at almost any gas station.
04. How much oil does a generator normally use?
The amount varies and depends on engine model, length of time since the last oil change, amount of power the generator is producing and length of the power outage. Check the Operation Manual included with your generator for a complete list of required maintenance procedures and schedules.
05. How long can my generator run before I need to check the oil?
We recommend checking the oil level after every 8-24 hours of operation, depending on the size and model of the generator. Oil change and filter change frequency and other routine maintenance vary per model, especially during periods of extended power outage. Check the Operation Manual included with your generator for a complete list of required maintenance procedures and schedules.
06. How do I check the engine oil?
(1) Power off the generator and let the engine sit for two minutes to settle the oil. Pull the dipstick from the back of the engine and wipe with a clean rag. Insert the dipstick back into the dipstick tube and pull it out. Note the crosshatching on the end of the dipstick, from “F” (Full) to “L” (Low), and see where the oil level falls. Add oil if the dipstick indicates that the oil level is low.
(2) Locate the yellow oil-access cap on the front of the engine (look for the oil can icon). Add a few ounces of oil, then recheck the oil level by inserting and removing the dipstick. Add oil until the level is near “F.” Do not overfill the engine.
(3) When you’re finished adding oil, make sure the dipstick and oil access cap are securely in place. Push the AUTO button to place the generator back in standby mode. If the utility power is still out, the generator will start within three seconds. After the generator starts, move the circuit breaker to the ON position so the generator is now supplying power to the house.
07. How do I open the generator unit?
A large metal key is included in your owner’s packet. Insert and turn the key 45 degrees to open the top hood or side-access door of the generator.
08. Where is the oil dipstick?
The dipstick has a bright yellow ring attached to the end. The location varies by generator, but it’s typically noticeable as soon as you open the access panel or hood.
09. What type of oil should I use in my generator?
Your generator ships with Mobile 1 5W30 full-synthetic oil, which is the oil recommended. Although a synthetic blend may be used, our recommendation is full-synthetic oil. However, if you know that the oil has been changed out to conventional oil, then use only conventional oil from that point on. Do not mix synthetic oil with conventional oil.
10. What should I do if the generator is submerged in water?
Water and electricity are a very dangerous mix. If you can safely access it, power off the generator. If it continues to run when submerged, internal damage to both engine and generator will be significant. If you can’t safely access the generator or the main-line disconnect, do not make any attempt to turn it off.