8 Things to Consider When Buying A Backup Generator

Maybe you’re having problems with frequent power outages.  Maybe you just want to be absolutely sure you’re covered if something goes wrong.  Either way, you’ve decided that it might be a good idea to get a backup generator for your home.  Kendrick Electric is a Generac authorized dealer with over 20 years of experience.  We’re here to help you out with all your Generac generator needs.  But what do you look for in a standby generator?  Here are a few things to consider.


1. What are your power needs?

Generac Generator           While your budget may play a roll in answering this, the real question you have to ask first is this: do you want your generator to power the entire building, or just part of the building?  As a homeowner, this is largely preference, but both decisions come with different costs and different size needs for the generator.  If you want your generator to power your whole house, you’ll need to factor in power required for all electrical equipment.  This will require a larger generator, which may be a bit more expensive on initial installation.

If you’d prefer just powering a small section on an emergency basis, such as a living room or kitchen, the generator can be a smaller, less expensive unit; however more labor is involved.  You need a transfer panel installed next to your existing breaker panel to choose what circuits to keep running.  Or we can keep the transfer switch on the outside of the house and add relays to shut down equipment with large power consumption requirements.  This requires additional work to be done inside the house.  Be thinking about what you want your generator to do before you make your purchase.   Kendrick Electric can help you evaluate what you want and how to best serve your needs.


2. What fuel type do you want?

While gasoline might seem convenient, it’s a poor choice for fuel because of relatively short period of stability. There are two main fuel types for a Generac generator: propane, natural gas.   Costs for either of these vary depending on the size of the generator and the availability of the fuel type.  Propane provides an on-site fuel source, but you refill your fuel storage yourself.  Extended outages may require multiple refills.  Natural gas is supplied by a local utility station and avoids that problem, except in the case of a natural disaster that requires shutting off the gas lines.  You will need to upgrade your gas meter to connect it to your generator.

City ordinances and codes may also dictate what fuel you can use.  Some cities, for example, do not allow propane usage within city limits.  If you’re not sure about what’s allowed, you can speak to a local city representative.  Kendrick Electric, will be happy to find out for you.


3. Where will the generator be located?

Generac Generator            A generator will need to be installed in a location that provides easy access for maintenance.   If you’re installing it outside, it needs to comply with safety codes for minimum distance of 18” from house walls and 5’ from windows, doors, and vents. With these in mind, the generator should be located as close as possible to main service electrical panel and fuel supply.


4. Any special considerations for outdoor generators?

Some HOA areas have strict ordinances, so you should check with them first to find out what considerations they require.


5. What is the voltage requirement?

In the United States, the common low voltages are: Residential 120/240 volts single phase, Commercial Properties120/208 volts three phase, 120/240 volts three phase, and 277/480 volts three phase. If you are unsure of what your needs are, we are more than happy to help you find out.


6. Which type of transfer switch?

Transfer switches are automatic for standby generators, though manual transfer switches are possible.  We will determine the size of the switch based on what you decided for question 1.


7. Any additional accessory requirements?

There may be additional accessories available if you want them.  Residential systems typically have a remote panel that can tell you your Generac generator’s status from a particular location indoors so that you don’t need to go outside to check up on the generator.  Cold weather kits and other remote monitoring equipment may also be available.

            Cellular monitoring is also available with an app for your phone.  The app will let you know if the generator has started running, or if it has shut off due to an alarm.  It will also alert your generator service company of your choice.  Generac authorizes us to make any and all repairs to your generator.


8. What is the duration of the warranty?

Generac gives a 5-year warranty on all air-cooled generators sold.  The factory authorizes us to make full repairs during that period.


Maintenance For Your Generac Generator

Just like a car, your generator will need regular maintenance to keep it from breaking down.  Not only will Kendrick Electric install the generator for you, we also provide regular maintenance for it as well.  It’s easy to forget about your generator, especially if you go long periods without an outage.  Be sure to have us service it annually to make sure you don’t experience an unexpected equipment failure just when you might need your generator.  To keep the 5-year warranty valid, you must have routine maintenance performed on your Generac generator.  We are available whenever you need us.

Give us a call at (435) 752-1888, or get in touch with us through our main page contact form and we’ll take care of any issues you have as quickly and conveniently as we possibly can.