Things to Consider When Buying and Installing a Standby Generator

These days, almost every household requires electricity. It is not only for entertainment, but it is an integral part of our lives and without it, we would feel troubled. However, what happens when the power goes out? You are left with no alternative but to remain in darkness or sit under candlelight or use your phone’s flashlight and wait until the electricity comes back on.

Occasionally, the power outage may last for hours or even for days. Yes, days! The Queens blackout of 2006 lasted 8 days. In 2010 parts of Long Island didn’t have power for as long as six-day due to a severe windstorm.

If you’re someone who can’t function without electricity, then this would be a nightmare. The best solution will be to get a backup generator installed in your home so that when the power goes out or there’s a problem with the main supply line, you are prepared.

Even though there are other alternatives like inverter generators and solar power, they aren’t as reliable as standby generators and cost a lot more to install.

So What Exactly is a Standby Generator?

When the electricity supply in your home is not working, a standby generator will automatically start providing electricity as long as you have an automatic transfer switch setup to initiate this.

It’s just like having another electric panel installed in your house, but it has its fuel tank so that it can run continuously. In either case, they use either diesel or natural gas as their primary power source and require refueling regularly depending on how much they’re used and for how long. As you might expect, standby generators are significantly more expensive than other options. Additionally, they will require regular maintenance and servicing, which will eventually lead to an increase in your operating costs.

How Do Standby Generators Work?

The generator’s automatic transfer switch will detect when utility power is interrupted and automatically startup, restoring your power within seconds. As soon as the utility returns, your generator will turn off, go through a cooling process, like an intercooler on a sports car, and go back to standby. You do not need to turn it on for it to operate, so it runs even if you are not at home. Not only does this prevent food spoilage, but if you have a security system, that will stay on, any electric garage doors or property gates will be able to open. Unless of course you don’t install an automatic transfer switch and want to manually start the generator.

What To Consider Before Buying A Standby Generator?

If you are thinking about installing or buying a standby generator, you need to consider several things. The generator will be different for each home or business based on your needs. To use a generator correctly, you must first understand how it works.

The following are some of the most important things you should keep in mind when shopping for your generator:

  • Fuel Type – The type of fuel used to power your standby generators is extremely important. There are two options for fuel: natural gas and diesel, which are both good options, but their prices aren’t always the same. You should go with natural gas if you want to reduce your environmental impact, otherwise, diesel is an excellent choice. Even though fuel prices are rising, it’s still very affordable compared to natural gas.
  • Size Of Your Property – How many standby generators you will need and where you will put them will depend on the size of your home. When you have several homes to power, such as a small complex of units, it’s always more cost-effective to purchase two or more standalone generators than a large one. Furthermore, buying a smaller unit would be cheaper in the long run, especially if it comes with a good warranty. The same applies to businesses.
  • Power Quality – Additionally, you should consider what appliances are most frequently used in your household because that will determine the type of power quality that you should expect from a generator. If most of your appliances require a lot of power then you should opt for a backup generator with a high wattage rather than going for a cheap one because they probably won’t perform well.
  • Standby Type – In terms of standby generator systems, there are two types: automatic and manual. The main difference between the two is that an automatic system requires less work on your part since it turns on automatically when the power supply fails, while a manual system requires you to turn it on manually. It is generally more expensive to purchase an automatic generator, but it takes less time to set it up. We recommend an automatic generator if it’s within your budget.

In addition, you might want to consider the following before installing a standby generator:

  • Electrical Connections

Permanent standby generators use automatic transfer switches that start the generator automatically when there is a power outage. Depending on your unit, the switch may transfer control to a separate breaker panel that sends electricity to the circuits you have selected.

If a whole-home generator is out of your price range, or out of stock, interlock kits can also be installed for use with a portable generator. By using an interlock kit, you can eliminate the mess of extension cords that come with a portable generator, and you will be able to use the circuits that you need during a power outage with one cord that runs to your main power source.

  • Plumbing Connections 

If you want to run your generator on propane or natural gas, you must connect a propane tank or gas line to it. You will also need to ensure that you have the correct valves in place for the type of gas you are using. If you are not a professional, this kind of work should be handled by one.

  • Permits/HOA Restrictions

It may be necessary to get a permit and undergo an inspection to install a permanent generator where you live. You should also follow any HOA restrictions or regulations if any exist as a generator can be quite loud we in use and may not be allowed in your HOA.

  • Site Selection 

It is recommended that you follow manufacturer guidelines regarding your standby generator and how close the exhaust is to your windows or doors.

What Are The Benefits of Using Standby Generators?

Standby generators have numerous benefits other than just providing backup power during blackouts which is why it’s becoming the preferred choice of many people. Some of the most important benefits include;


The main reason why homeowners are opting to buy backup generators is that they provide security. This means that your tools, appliances, and other household items will remain safe behind your security system that will still be live and operational during blackouts which can last for several hours or even days depending on where you live.


It’s also great for safety especially if there are kids in your home or you have elderly family members living with you. This way you don’t need to worry about them not having enough food as it spoils soon after the fridge doesn’t have power as your generators will kick in as soon as the power goes out. We do recommend hiring an electrician who can install all necessary wiring for both standalone units so that you won’t have to worry about anything.


Lastly, it’s pretty convenient to own a standby generator because they usually offer remote access which can be controlled by your smartphone. This way you can monitor all of your appliances and devices even if you’re not at home so we’d recommend this for people with busy work schedules or who always travel a lot but need the power to stay on at their home. There are even services available that will come and fill up your generator for you with fuel or gas while you are away from the property.

You can also use it as an electricity backup during natural disasters like hurricanes where the power supply is severely limited for several days.

What Are Some Of The Downsides Of Standby Generators?

While standby generators have numerous benefits, there are still some disadvantages that you should look into before making a purchase decision. For instance, most units require professional installation which can be quite expensive depending on the size of your home. In addition, you might find them too bulky and need to make some extra space in your garage or on your property before getting one.

Another drawback is that standby generators are usually quite loud, especially during start-up which could disrupt any activities inside your house. While most modern generators have noise reduction technology built into them, it’s still something that needs to be considered before buying one. But, a little bit of noise is likely not going to be an issue in a blackout. And if you live in an area where everyone has generators, then the people around you are used to the noise.

Lastly, some standby generator systems require diesel fuel while others run on gas so it’s important to decide exactly what type would work best for you if you decide to get one.

Tips On How To Maintain Your Standby Generators

It’s still important to maintain your generator even if it’s rarely used if you want it to last for several years. For example, you can clean the exterior of your units regularly while making sure that the fuel cap is tightly closed after each use so that moisture doesn’t get inside and damage its components. You might also need to replace the oil every other month which could increase operating costs over time but at least it’ll keep your generators running smoothly all year round.


As you can see, having standby generators installed in your home has numerous benefits aside from just providing backup power during blackouts or other emergencies. It might cost quite a bit upfront but they’re worth checking out before making a purchase decision because of their convenience and peace of mind benefits. You should also consider adding a standby generator to your home if you’re someone who travels frequently and doesn’t want to worry about whether or not there will be power in your rented place while you’re away.

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