Common Questions About Generators
What is an automatic standby generator?
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.
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.
How does the Generac OHVI® engine compare to air cooled engines used in other brands of standby generators?
Unlike all other engines manufactured primarily for lawn and garden applications, Generac OHVI engines are made specifically for generators. They are engineered to run for the long periods of time required during a severe power outage or on a job site, utilizing the same type of pressurized oil lubrication used to give automobile engines long and trouble-free lives.
Generac OHVI engines have a significantly longer life than competitive engines – an unprecedented three to four times longer – making them the best investment on the market.
How long can I expect an automatic standby generator to last?
Because Generac engines were developed specifically for generators and designed to provide approximately 3,000 hours of use, with typical usage and proper maintenance an automatic standby generator can provide in excess of 30 years of service.
Example: Weekly exercise time (11 hours per year) plus four 20 hr. outages (80 hrs./year) equals 91 hours of operation per year OR over 30 years.
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.
Can an automatic standby generator replace utility service?
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.
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 you like your living conditions to be?
Quality Generators takes the guesswork out of sizing by supplying the Guardian Series air cooled generators with predetermined numbers of circuits based on the generator’s kW power rating. For example, eight circuits are supplied for the 8 kW generator and as many as 16 circuits are supplied for the 17 kW generator. 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.
Quality Generators also offers generators and transfer switches that can power the entire circuit breaker panel box…for these situations, we recommend consulting with our authorized personnel.
Can I install the generator myself?
Generac Guardian Series air cooled generator systems are prepackaged, pre-wired and come with comprehensive installation instructions. You could perform the simpler site preparation steps and have a professional make the electrical panel and fuel connections, or you could complete the entire installation yourself.
However, for safety reasons and to ensure adherence to all local, state and national electrical codes, particularly for non-pre-wired or larger systems, Generac recommends you use an authorized Generac dealer or licensed contractor.
Do they have to be maintained?
Yes, simple maintenance is required. Every Generac Guardian Series standby generator is powered by Generac’s Overhead Valve Industrial (OHVI) engine. These engines were designed specifically for running long hours in harsh conditions and have maintenance intervals that are twice as long as leading competitors’.
All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Preventative maintenance kits are available and Quality Generators offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules.
What type of oil should I use?
An SAE rated high detergent oil that meets API Service Class SF requirements for gasoline engines, similar to your car. Refer to your owner’s manual for details.
What happens if the generator gets overloaded?
Generac 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.
I no longer have my Owner’s Manual, how can I get another copy?
Owner’s manuals and other technical/ repair information can be downloaded from our website or by calling 1-800-259-1426