Backup Generator FAQ

Get essential answers to your questions about backup generators.

Natural disasters, no matter where or when they occur in the world, are reminders of just how vulnerable our electrical supply can be.

Generators, meanwhile, can bring a sense of safety and security to homes and businesses prior to, during, and after natural disasters.

In your house, generator power can bring light during a summer storm and heat if the power is lost during winter.A man filling a backup generator with gasoline

If power is lost in your community for an extended period of time or if there is a problem with a natural gas line or the gas supply to your neighborhood, a home generator can save you the expense of having to relocate.

This allows you to continue your day-to-day life in comfort with a fuel source in the form of a home standby generator. Your electrical meter won’t spin, but your central air or air conditioning units will.

Generators are designed for homes, large or small, and to meet the needs of whole-house or partial backup power. Homeowners can choose to use a portable generator or a permanent standby generator.

Home Generator Installation

Backup generator installation must always be performed by a certified, licensed electrician. They often have the install guide memorized and can inform you as to best practices for operational safety.

Your local inspector will check the installation to protect not only your safety but also the lineman’s safety while they are working on the electrical lines during an outage.

Improper wiring is very dangerous and can even be fatal.

Proper placement of the generator is also of utmost importance. Generators of any kind should be 10 feet or farther away from the house. They should also have three or four feet of breathing room on all sides.

Portable generators are typically gas-powered, while permanent set generators are natural gas or liquid propane powered. Installing a carbon monoxide alarm in your home would not be a bad idea, either, as a safety precaution. This will detect poisonous air to protect you and your family.

Commercial Backup Generators

Business owners know that a few hours without power means being cut off from work, clients, and potential revenue.

If power is out for days, this could mean severe profit loss and security risk. You need your electrical system to continue functioning regardless of the stability of the larger power grid to which it is attached.

An automatic transfer switch will turn the power on at your business within 10 seconds of utility failure. The generators will work in conjunction with an uninterruptible backup battery supply to deliver constant electricity to servers, hard drives, and data storage equipment.

Why Install A Backup Generator?

No one likes losing power for an extended period of time. It’s not only inconvenient; it can also be destructive. The temperature of your home drops significantly, food in your refrigerator and freezer can go bad.

The wrath of a storm is nothing to mess with, so having a backup generator is a popular investment for homeowners and business owners who need to stay powered up no matter what’s happening around them.

What Is A Backup Generator?

A backup generator is a permanent fixture in a home that will provide uninterrupted electrical backup for days. They are connected to the home’s electrical panel but powered by external fuel, such as diesel, natural gas, or propane. Large systems can power a whole home with ease.

The generator has an internal switch that disconnects the home from utility services once it detects an interruption, then it will transfer power to the home’s electrical panel.

Once the municipal power comes back on, the switch will shut off and the home will be reconnected to the grid. Generators are popular for families with small children who do not want interrupted service, as well as those who work out of the home and need access to power all the time.

How Much Does A Generator Cost?

Generators are an investment that varies in price depending on what size you need. The higher the generator’s capacity, the more circuits it can power at one time.

Consult a professional about what electrical capacity you need. This should help you determine if you need a smaller or larger generator.

Most homeowners only need to power devices that are used most often. This includes the fridge, air conditioner/heater, oven, or washer/dryer.

A basic generator that includes just the essential circuits will usually start around $4,000 before installation and fuel. Some larger systems that can power the whole home can cost upwards of $20,000.

Generators will add value to your home, especially if you choose one that can provide power for the entire home in the event of an emergency. Keep in mind, however, that the installation price will vary depending on building codes, the potential need for a fuel tank, the location of the power source, the possible need for a concrete pad, and other miscellaneous costs.

Do Backup Generators Require Maintenance?

Generators do require some upkeep, especially those that are bigger. You should service your generator when it’s used for 24 to 48 hours continuously. Using it for a week or more? Have a professional change the filter and oil.

If you take great care of your generator, it will last longer. In fact, it might help you through a lifetime of power outages.

Prairie Electric is a proud Kohler backup generator dealer and is here to answer any and all questions you have!

We stand behind all of the generators we install and can recommend Kohler models in particular with confidence.

We updated this blog post on Nov. 14, 2022.

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