4 Standby Generator Questions Answered

Generator Questions AnsweredWhen you imagine the most important appliances for your house you probably think of a refrigerator, toilet, or a water heater; all important items that give your family security and comfort. But, when an emergency occurs what system do you have to ensure that your day-to-day appliances will still work? Standby generators should be staples for homeowners who live in areas prone to power outages. They protect your home when the worst occurs, just like insurance or emergency funds. If you’ve considered buying a generator but don’t know where to start, we’ve answered some of the biggest questions homeowners have about standby generators.

What do I gain from buying a backup generator?

First and foremost, security; backup generators, portable or standby, provide safety to families in drastic situations. It keeps them in touch with others, ensures clean water, and protects the home. Generators are a great investment because they can help families save up to 10s of thousands of dollars in the event of an emergency. We’ve created a video that breaks down the expenses of what life without backup power might mean.

Am I at risk of frequent power outages?

Power outages vary from region to region. How extreme weather in your area is plays a big role as 70% of all power outages are weather related. Inside Energy, a site that reports on the status of all things power related in the U.S., created an animated map which shows a compressed timeline of the 866 electric grid disruptions over the past 15 years—and the steady rise in power outages per year. It’s easy to see where outages are most likely to occur and when. Generally, more blackouts occur in places where tornadoes, hurricanes or heavy snowfall are more frequent.

How does a standby generator know when to turn on and off?

Home standby generators are equipped with two parts, the generator unit and the automatic transfer switch. The transfer switch monitors the flow of power in the house. When utility power (your usual source) stops working, the transfer switch senses this and a message along to the generator unit to start working. Then the transfer switch monitors the flow of energy until the house is ready to switch back over to utility power. It only takes a few seconds for the transfer switch to sense the outage and start the generator. You can learn more details through this informational video.

How do I know which type of generator to buy?

It all comes down to how many appliances you’ll want to power. Certain items require more power than others, and some require additional power to initially get started (surge power). It’s also important to know the size of the house. These factors together will help you figure out how much power you’ll need for your generator in case of an emergency. You can try the math out for yourself on our generator sizing calculator.

If you still have more questions about generators, take a look at this article on standby vs portable generators to see which option is right for you.

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