5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Standby Generator


There are a million great reasons to get a standby generator for your home or business. They can help you save money on hotel/food costs when the power is out for extended periods of time; they can keep your security cameras on when the power is out for your block; and, a standby generator can lower your homeowner’s insurance premiums by hundreds of dollars. However, even with all of the features and savings that standby generators provide, it is still a bit of a sizable investment.

As with any investment, you should ask yourself a series of questions in order to determine if you are really ready to dive into ownership of a new standby generators. This article is going to lay out some questions that will need answering before you make a purchase or contact your local dealer.

What Should I Budget for a Generator?

This part will require some research into the various types of generators and the different functions they offer. For example, if you are looking for something more affordable that you can pull out of the shed in case of an emergency, or bring with you camping, you’d probably be interested in a portable generator. If you’re looking for something more permanent, and aren’t afraid to shell out a few extra bucks for the benefits of full power during a blizzard, then whole house standby generators are for you.

Portable generators can be anywhere from $218-$5,000 and whole house standby generators will typically put you back between $3,800-$10,000.

What Size Generator Do I Need?

This will depend on how much of your home you want powered during an outage. Do you want to simply back up critical appliances – like, refrigerators/freezers, air-conditioning/heating units, lighting – or do you want to cover your whole house, as if utility power never left? If you want whole house coverage, you’ll likely need to get a 14kW generator or stronger. Check out portable air conditioners at Gear Hungry.

Ask your electrician for help estimating your power output to help you get a better idea of what you should purchase.

What Kind of Maintenance Do Generators Require?

As with all engines, your generator set is going to need routine maintenance to keep performing optimally. Just think of it like you would your car – it needs to have its oil checked frequently and replaced if needed (most generators’ oil must be replaced at or around 100 hours run time- refer to your owner’s manual). You can check “under the hood” for any dirt or debris that may be building up and clear it off. Visually check the unit once or twice a month to make sure that no glaringly obvious issues are beginning to form.

During the installation of your unit, ask your electrician or dealer what you can do in between scheduled maintenance visits to help keep your generator running smoothly.

Where is My Nearest Service Provider?

An important and often forgotten aspect of the purchase process is finding out how far away the the nearest service facility is located. Most warranties will cover a certain amount of mileage for the technician to travel. However, they don’t always cover the full distance. For example, if you live in Florida and the nearest service provider (that will service your model whole house standby generators generator) is in Texas, but your warranty will only cover half of the distance, you are going to have to pay for half of the total cost to ship it to the service provider.

Investing in a standby generator for your home is a big deal and shouldn’t be jumped into without considering the above factors.

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