A standby generator is different than a portable generator in that it is installed permanently into your home’s electrical system. The generator is set up to automatically turn on when the power goes out to keep your electricity running. They operate on natural gas, propane or diesel, and often you have a storage tank nearby.
In some locations you can have a connection to a gas supply, but that can get tricky if the power does go out. These are complicated systems and you need to have it professionally installed, usually it will be set on a concrete slab like the one your heating and air system sits on.
These generators can run for several hours, or even days in some situations, but they are not meant for a permanent replacement for the power grid utility companies provide. There are three levels, and the price goes up with the levels. The lowest level keeps essential circuits, like to your refrigerator, running, or just a few minimal circuits. The next level is sort of a mid range that will run more circuits to keep you going. The highest level is a full service model designed to run your whole house without a blink, with virtually no limitations.
Here are a few that are available on Amazon. Some companies offer shipping, and some offer to connect you with a licensed installer. At least have a professional electrician do the installation.
Best Air Cooled Home Standby Generator
Generac is one of the top brands as rated by consumers. The Generac 6462 Guardian Series is air cooled and cranks out 16kW. It uses natural gas or liquid propane to power your home when the lights go out. It will all of the essentials in your home without a hitch, and includes a 200 amp automatic start switch. It is a mid-range as far as amount of power. It has a five year limited warranty and the company is offering free shipping, which is good because it weighs 235 pounds.
It requires a 12 volt battery, and must be serviced yearly. A test run is needed monthly to keep it running condition. The company has created the system to be easy to install, but it is still recommended that a professional do work on your electrical system. It is an internal combustion engine, and requires yearly oil changes. Since this one runs on propane or gas, it is relatively quiet. It can switch between propane and natural gas without additional parts. This generator is 48 inches long, 23 inches wide and 25 inches tall.
Customers like the reliability and ease of use. Many people feel they can install the actual system themselves and have an electrician hook it up to the home’s system.
Best Standby Generator to Buy
This standby generator – Kohler 20RESAL-200SELS cranks out 20,000 watts, is air cooled, and is a whole house unit, meaning it will power the entire house without any limitations. It includes a 200 amp service switch, that includes load shedding and automatic transfer switch.The power could go out and you might not even know it with this machine going. It can have power on within 10 seconds of a failure. The cover is sealed so it is safe even at the seaside. It has a 5 year warranty, or 2000 hours of use.
The wattage is rated at 20kw, and it puts out 240 volts. It is 48 inches long, 29 inches wide and 26 inches tall. This is the type model used by hospitals and airports, so it is heavy duty. It weighs 500 pounds, but free shipping is available. This generator runs on natural gas or propane, and has noise dampeners to keep it quiet. Be aware, if you use anyone other than Kohler installers, you will not get the full benefit of the warranty.
Readers liked the low noise level and how it turns itself on and is hardly noticeable.
Top Gas/LP Powered Home Standby Generator
The – Briggs & Stratton 40303 is a 15,000 watt generator that runs on natural gas or propane. It is air cooled. This model has an automotive style exhaust system that makes it much quieter than many generators. It has a big block air cooled engine, very similar to an automobile engine, that is powerful and quiet. It includes the automatic switch that will switch power sources by itself when power goes out. The system includes a timing meter, so you an tell how much it has run easily.
It has a four year limited warranty. This generator is designed to be quiet, and produce a lot of power without taking up a lot of space. It is about the same size as generators that put out 20,000 watts, but it does weigh 600 pounds. Briggs & Stratton has certified installers that it recommends using, and will help you get in touch with them. This engine comes filled with synthetic oil, and has been tested and run at the factory. There is no need for any break in procedure. You can hook this one up and start it running immediately.
When shopping for a generator, keep in mind your needs and preferences. If you are fine with just having the very basics covered, a lower level generator will work fine, and you will save some money. Keep in mind fuel storage and the availability of fuel when power is out, and make that part of the decision making process.