Whether you live in a storm prone area or you’re just trying to make sure that you’re prepared for anything the world might throw at you, you might be considering a home standby generator in case the normal power grid shuts off.
These handy machines are made to automatically power on when the grid goes down and they’re experiencing a soaring level of popularity as faith in the electrical infrastructure goes down.
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This is a large, heavy-duty machine which is suitable for larger homes with a lot of appliances, especially if you want to keep the whole thing powered.
|Name||Wattage||Included Transfer Switch?|
|Briggs & Stratton 40396|
|Briggs & Stratton 40532||12kW||Yes|
|Briggs & Stratton 40445||8kW||Yes|
|Generac 6551 Guardian Series||20kW||Yes|
|Generac Guardian Series 5871||10kW||Yes|
Who Needs a Home Standby Generator?
A lot of us keep a generator around for those occasions where some extra power might be warranted, but a home standby generator isn’t just a little piece for handling a couple of extra rooms.
- Briggs & Stratton 40396
- Briggs & Stratton 40532
- Briggs & Stratton 40445
- Generac Guardian Series 5871
- Generac 6551 Guardian Series
- Who Needs a Home Standby Generator?
These generators often tie directly into gas lines, or less commonly work on propane, and are designed to kick on as soon as the power goes out. A good one will have you back online within just a couple of seconds, lessening the damage that an impromptu power shutoff might cause.
They’ve become quite popular in the US among certain circles, but the biggest consumers are still those who live in areas where massive storms for part of the year are a real possibility. Depending on how long a power outage goes on for, you might just have to use candles for a night or you might end up losing all of the food in your fridge.
In extreme climates, the loss of air conditioning or heating can be very uncomfortable as well.
Of course, they represent a significant investment since they’re massive units. The simple answer is this: if you think you’ll have need of one they’re a sound investment.
What to Look For in a Home Standby Generator
Of course, you’ll be looking for the best bang for your buck which means that you definitely have to consider the purchase as a whole when you’re picking one out. There are a number of different factors you’ll have to keep in mind when you pick one out and we encourage you to make sure you do your research instead of just spending the money on something which looks handy.
Making this purchase is an involved process, and one of the first things you’ll need to do is write down which of the devices in your home you consider essential and measuring the amount of energy you’ll need to generate in order to keep these devices powered.
For the most part, central air systems and your refrigerator and freezer probably take more power than anything else. You’ll still want to take account of everything you think you’ll need to power, for many people it’s simply going to be unfeasible to power the whole home like normal with a standby generator.
Remember that the wattage required to start many of these devices will require a lot more power than just running them and plan accordingly to make sure you have the surplus required. Take a look at the start up wattage.
You’ll also want to make sure that the wattage measurement given with the generator isn’t just the maximum wattage. While one of these devices can operate at that level it’s going to fail much more quickly, if the product listing doesn’t have a running measurement you’re usually safe judging it at 90% of the listed maximum capacity.
Natural gas is rarely interrupted in most places, but you’ll also require a plumber to come out and make sure that your generator is hooked up safely to the line in addition to an electrician.
Propane, on the other hand, will take up some storage room but renders you pretty much immune to any kind of utility shut off for as long as you have supplies for it.
In general natural gas is fine if you’re just planning on having to weather a storm or two during the rough season in your area. It’ll cost a little bit more to set up, but you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel for the most part.
Propane is ideal for those who want to be as off-grid as possible. It will also be a little bit more expensive to run for the most part, but if you have a decent stockpile of the stuff you can have power for quite a while in pretty much any situation.
Obviously you’ll want to make sure it’s still a durable and long lasting device, but the chance of running into a cheap knock off in this arena is pretty small. As long as you go with a reputable brand the above qualities are the main things you should be concerned with.
Wait! You Also Need to Think About…
A home standby generator is a little bit more of a complex undertaking than just running a portable and using an extension cord and some surge protectors. There’s a few other things you’ll need to factor into the whole thing.
Unless the generator includes a transfer switch when you purchase it you’ll need to pick one up separately. The transfer switch will go off when the power is cut and bring the generator to life in order to make sure that you’re back online as soon as possible.
You can probably contact the electrician you’re planning on having do the install of the generator to find one if you’re not confident in what you need.
Most people really shouldn’t be installing their own standby generator. This means that you’ll need to get some quotes from electricians to see how much it’s going to cost you to install it. This is a major project and you’re going to be looking at spending some serious money in order to get it done but the peace of mind might just be priceless.
If you’re running a natural gas powered generator then you’re also going to need a plumber to make sure that the gas line is attached correctly since an improper installation of this line can be downright disastrous.
You may also need to install gravel or concrete in order to make sure that everything is approved.
Permits and Licensing
Depending on your local laws, you may also need to make sure that you have the building permits and other legal necessities in place when you’re getting ready to set things up. Check with the contractor you’re planning on using to make sure everything is the up and up since fines will definitely add to the total cost of your project.
It’s not a simple job, but if you decide to make the investment in a home standby generator then you’re off to a good start to make sure that you can lower your energy dependence on the outside world. Once you have this major job complete, you can sit back and enjoy the fact that you have the ultimate back up plan in place.