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A Buyers Guide to a Standby Home Generator

What is an automatic standby home 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, diesel, or liquid propane gas and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit.

Why should I buy a home standby generator instead of a portable generator?

While portable generators are effective in terms of backup power, a home standby generator produces more power, offers hassle-free, automatic operation even when you aren't at home and exercises weekly to ensure extended life. With a home standby generator, there is no need to run extension cords, the unit will operate rain or shine, and it will automatically turn on even when you are not home.

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 wattage generators due to the larger engines required for the higher power output.

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? In a typical installation with an 8 kW, eight circuit generator, you could connect (1) lights and TV in the family room, (2) microwave and lights in the kitchen, (3) refrigerator, (4) power to the bathroom, (5) computer and home office, (6) garage door opener, (7) air conditioner, and (8) furnace. Feel free to use our Gensizer generator application to calculate the home power generator you need for your home or business.

Can I install the standby generator myself?

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, we recommend you use a licensed contractor. APS has installed thousands of home generators in Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. APS installs generators all along the eastern seaboard.

Do they have to be maintained?

Yes, simple maintenance is required. All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Preventative maintenance kits are available Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules. Assurance Power Systems provides generator maintenance all along the eastern seaboard. One of our core markets is Florida with focus on home generator in Miami, FL - home generator in Boca Raton, FL and home generator in West Palm Beach, FL just to name a few.

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. A 10w30 oil is recommended as the standard generator motor oil to use in our home standby generator engines. Regularly check the oil level in your standby generator. Refer to your owner’s manual for details.

What happens if the generator gets over loaded?

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.

What is the difference between rated watts and maximum (surge) watts?

Rated watts describe the amount of power the portable generator can produce continuously. Maximum wattage is the power that the generator can produce for short periods of time. Motor starting is a good example of maximum wattage requirements.

What type of oil is recommended? How often should it be changed?

Above 40°F, use SAE 30. Below 40°F and down to 10°F, use 10W-30. Below 10°F, use synthetic 5W-30. Oil should be changed after the first 8 hours of operation and every 200 hours of run time thereafter.

When should I add engine oil through the spark plug hole in my generator?

Adding a little bit of oil through the spark plug hole in your generator so that it will directly enter the cylinder will prevent it from rusting. This should be done if you don't plan to use your generator for a long time.

What type of gasoline is recommended for my home generator?

Use clean, fresh unleaded gasoline with a minimum 85 octane rating. Turn off the generator engine and allow it to cool about 2 minutes before refueling. Never put gas into your generator while the engine is running.

Why should I use a gas stabilizer or additive for my generator?

The use of a gas stabilizer or additive will minimize the formation of fuel gum deposits during storage. Additives and stabilizers may be added to the gasoline in the fuel tank of the engine, or to the gasoline in a storage container. Make sure your fuel supply is reliable over time with the appropriate additives or stabilizers.

Does a portable generator require installation?

No. A portable can power individual appliances using extension cords. Using a manual transfer switch is even a safer way to power items in the house because it will block any power from back feeding in the power lines. It will also avoid a bunch of extension cords and allow you to power items hardwired into your house like a furnace fan.

Should the fuel be drained when storing the portable generator?

Yes. It is highly recommended that you drain the fuel from the tank and run the carburetor dry. You should never store combustible materials in your home or vehicle. Remember: You should never operate a generator in a confined space, particularly inside your home or garage. Carbon monoxide is deadly and can kill.

Can I vent the exhaust out of an enclosed area?

No. Never run the generator in the home or an enclosed area. Portable generators are designed to run outside where there is plenty of ventilation.

Can the generator be used during inclement weather in Florida?

Generators can be used during a wide variety of weather temperatures, but should be protected from the elements when not in use to prevent shorting and rusting. NEVER run a generator indoors.

Give us a call you need further answers or pricing information:

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