Control Your Power, Control Your Life

Scott KellyBy Scott Kelly

What is an automatic backup generator?

An automatic backup generator is a backup 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 returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage.  It operates on natural gas and sits outside just like a central air conditioning system.

Why should I buy an automatic backup generator instead of a portable generator?

During a utility power outage, an automatic backup generator provides numerous advantages over a portable generator:

  • The American Red Cross recommends permanently installed generators as a safer way to provide backup power to a home than a portable generator.
  • With an automatic backup generator properly installed outside, your home is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning that it is much greater risk with portable generators.
  • Running on a home’s natural gas or LP fuel supply, it is less expensive to run than gasoline, and sources, such as natural gas, do not need to be refilled.
  • They start automatically within seconds of a power power outage and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout the home.
  • They provide protection 24/7, whether your are home or away, and they turn themselves off when utility power returns. So there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.

Can I install and automatic generator myself or should I hire a professional?

Power Outage - What's Your PlanUnless you are a professional, generator installation is potentially dangerous for your home, equipment and personal well-being.  Finding the right generator is only half the battle.  You must also make sure it is properly connected to home.  Improper installation can increase fuel consumption and wear and tear on your standby system.  Many manufacturer will even void their warranty if the product is not installed by a licensed professional.  Since standby generators power your home, they will need to your main electrical panel by installing a transfer switch.  If you lack professional electrical experience, you have no business being around this high voltage equipment.  Standby generators need to connect directly to your home’s fuel line.  To make things harder, most require an additional high pressure gas meter, which will also to be specially installed.  It’s easy to spring a gas leak during the process, and hard to detect one, which can lead to fires and explosions. Leave it to a professional.

How much does an automatic backup generator cost to install?

Approximately $500 per kilowatt. A load calculation is done to determine what size generator is needed.  Customers can choose to power their whole house or just the essential circuits.

What is the difference between and automatic air-cooled generator and an automatic liquid cooled generator?

The engine!  Air-cooled generators come with an engine that uses fans to force air across the engine for cooling, while liquid-cooled generators use enclosed radiator systems for cooling, similar to automobiles.  Generally, liquid-cooled engines are used for larger kw generators due to the larger engine required for the higher power output.