Select a question below to learn more about a topic.

You know you want a generator. But you don’t know what to do next. No worries. We’ll walk you through the entire process — starting with some basic information. Here are answers to the questions we hear most from our customers.

General FAQs

The cost of your generator installation will vary based on your needs. Some of the variables that come into play when it comes to pricing your system include:

  • The manufacturer of generator
  • The size of the generator
  • The location of the generator
  • If natural gas is available or if a propane tank will need to be installed

To help you understand your options, one of our experienced representatives will walk your property with you and answer your questions. Then they’ll recommend a realistic solution based on your budget.

Contrary to popular belief, the size of your generator is determined by your power needs — not by the amount of space you have. Our representative will take all the guesswork out of the decision by recommending the generator that’s right for you. Expect us to:

  • Complete a thorough inspection of the existing electrical service, existing gas load and the gas meter size on the outside of the home.
  • Discuss your needs in the event of a power outage
  • Provide you with a detailed estimate for a turn-key installation

Automatic standby generators are permanently wired into your home or business and many specific details will need to be followed. Here’s how the typical installation process works:

  1. Working with our representative, we’ll determine the brand, size, location and budget for your power needs.
  2. When the estimate is accepted, we’ll schedule an installation appointment that works for you, RCA Generators, and the gas fitter.
  3. We’ll then file all the municipality permits.
  4. The installation process takes 1-3 full days to complete and consists of installing the generator and completing all the necessary electrical and gas/propane work.
  5. The gas installation is inspected by the town inspector.
  6. The licensed technician returns to activate the warranty setup of the generator and performs a detailed orientation and answers all your questions.
  7. The electrical work is inspected by the town inspector after the generator is activated and running as designed.
  8. Our office staff will complete the registration and warranty for your new automatic standby generator and give you all the documentation.
Just like we don’t believe in losing power to the weather, we don’t believe in losing time. No matter what the weather throws at us — or on us — expect our crew to be on the job as scheduled.

Generator FAQs

A permanently installed Generac home backup generator protects your home automatically. It runs on natural gas or liquid propane (LP) fuel, and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit. A home backup generator delivers power directly to your home’s electrical system, backing up your entire home or just the most essential items.

When a Generac home backup generator senses a power outage, it turns on automatically, and delivers backup power to your home. It will run until utility power returns — whether that’s two hours or two weeks.

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

  • The American Red Cross recommends permanently installed backup 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 is a much greater risk with portable generators.
  • Running on the 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 outage, and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout your home.
  • They provide protection 24/7, whether you’re home or away, and they turn themselves off when utility power returns, so there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost Versus Value Report, homeowners across the country can expect to see an increase in the resale value of their homes after installing a generator. For New Englanders, the return on investment for a generator in their home can range from 67.5% to 76.9%. Add that to the value of being comfortable and having the ability to stay in your home (and continue working from your home office, if that applies) during an extended power outage, and the actual cost of the generator becomes negligible.

How much space you need will depend on the size of the generator you choose. But to help you determine if a generator will fit on the lot size you have, plan on having your generator be at least 18 inches from the side of your home. You’ll also want to find a location that is 5 feet from any windows, doorways and soffit vents to keep exhaust gasses from getting into your home.

Then, you’ll want to make sure your have at least 5 feet between your generator and the lot line.

Although we’ll be able to make recommendations when we walk your property together during your complimentary consultation, Generac offers a quick and easy way to calculate the size of your automatic home standby generator .

Once you’re confident you have enough room, other placement considerations include placing your generator where winds are more likely to blow the exhaust away from your home. You might also think about keeping the generator away living areas as it makes noise when operating.

Because Generac engines were developed specifically for generators and designed to provide approximately 3,000 hours of use, with typical usage and proper maintenance an automatic standby home generator can provide in excess of 30 years of service.

The instant the electricity stops flowing to your home, your Generac Generator will sense the problem. Within seconds, your generator prepares to restore your home’s power. The generator kicks on automatically, whether you are home or away. Within a few seconds, it is up to speed and generating electricity. The automatic transfer switch sends generator power to your home. And it will continue until utility power returns.
Expect your generator to run for several minutes after power is restored to ensure that the utility power is stable. This extra running time has the added benefit of enabling the engine to cool down before shutting off completely. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage.
This is a maintenance reminder light. You can reset the light by pressing the Enter key on the control panel. Service reminders include inspect battery, change oil and filter, change air filter, inspect spark plugs, and change spark plugs.

Most portable generators do come with a rechargeable battery. However, our  automatic home standby generators do not. But don’t worry about where to find a battery — a standard car battery you can get at your auto parts store will be compatible.

Press down on the lid above the side lock and turn the key. You’ll notice that the latch releases. You will need to repeat this step for the other side. If you do not apply pressure from the top of the lid, it will appear to be stuck. (NOTE: Always verify that the side locks are unlocked before lifting the lid) Once you get the lid open you will need to remove the front panel by lifting straight up which allows access to the engine and battery compartment.

Storm & Power Outage FAQs

Worried about an extended power outage? A little planning is all it takes to keep your family safe and comfortable.

  • Stock up on batteries for battery-powered electronics, such as flashlights and NOAA weather radios.
  • Create extra ice by filling one-gallon freezer bags with water. This will keep food cool and provides extra water when thawed.
  • Fill your bathtub with water. Power outages sometimes mean the water supply may soon follow. Use this water for personal hygiene and flushing the toilet.
  • Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. CO is colorless and odorless. Avoid sickness or worse by making sure your CO detector is fully operational.
  • Fill your grill’s propane tank. A full tank of fuel allows you to cook frozen and refrigerated food that might otherwise go to waste.
  • Unplug electronics. When power comes back on, there is a risk of a power surge. Protect your electronics by unplugging them when the power goes out.
  • Purchase nonperishables. Shelf stable food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated is best during a lights-out situation.
  • Board games and a deck of cards can provide entertainment for you and your family when power is not available.
  • Get an automatic home standby generator.
  • If you already have one, contact RCA if you feel you need maintenance on your generator

Severe storms call for extra preparation. Luckily, hurricanes are forecast well in advance of landfall so there is time to make sure you’re ready. Start by looking over our checklist on preparing for a power outage. But then be sure to take these extra precautions.

  • Review emergency plans if the power goes out for an hour up to multiple days
  • Review emergency plans for evacuation
  • Identify safest location in the home to wait out the storm
  • Identify local shelters
  • Check insurance policy/coverage
  • Check the yard and landscaping for any trees that should be trimmed
  • Clear gutters of debris
  • Fill up gas cans in the event of an evacuation or to run a portable generator
  • Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8-inch plywood
  • Reinforce garage doors
  • Bring in outside items if they can be picked up by high winds
  • Get an automatic home standby generator
  • If you already have one, contact RCA if you feel you need maintenance on your generator

The FDA recommends you stock up on nonperishable food items — that means they are shelf-stable and don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked. Many of the food items listed below can be eaten without the use of an electric stove, oven or other appliances.


  • Water: A gallon per person is enough for seven days. If bottles are an option, purchase eight 16-oz. bottles per person — or 56 bottles per person for seven days
  • Juice: Canned, boxed or plastic filled
  • Milk: Powdered or shelf-stable, in single-serving boxes
  • Caffeine: Canned coffee or energy drinks


  • Crackers for snacking with cheese and meats right after the power goes out
  • Fruit: canned fruits, applesauce
  • Healthy Snacks: granola bars, trail mix, rice cakes, dried fruit
  • Comfort food: Pop-tarts, doughnuts, sweets


  • Canned soups, chili, veggies, stew
  • Cereal: can be eaten dry or mixed with milk
  • Preserved meats: beef jerky that is high-protein, low-carb; canned tuna, chicken, Spam


  • Small jar of mayonnaise, to make chicken or tuna salad
  • Ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper – in individual packets

For the pets

  • Food and water
  • Vitamins and medication

An unopened refrigerator and freezer can usually keep food safe to consume for up to four hours. The foods in the freezer are typically safe for 48 hours if it is full or 24 hours if the freezer is half-full. As the storm approaches, inventory your pantry and eat what you have in the fridge first so it doesn’t go to waste.

  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio – NOAA Weather Radio, if possible
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medications — seven-day supply and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Telephones — fully-charged cell phone with extra battery and non-cordless telephone set
  • Cash and credit cards — banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
  • Important documents — keep important documents like insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security cards, and birth certificates in a watertight container
  • Vehicle fuel tanks filled
  • Clothing — Seasonal, rain gear, sturdy shoes
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Pet care items and records
  • Fire extinguisher

Additional Winter Emergency Supplies

  • Rock salt — to melt ice on driveways and walkways
  • Sand — to improve traction
  • Snow shovels

If you own an automatic home standby generator, relax. Your system should start automatically when the power fails. If you have a portable generator, there are some basic steps to follow.

We recommend you regularly maintain your unit to make sure it’s ready to go when you need it most. Once a year, or every 100 hours of run time you should clean your unit, change the oil, clean the air filter, run the unit monthly, charge the battery, and properly store the unit.

For a series of step-by-step video tips, visit Generac’s website.

Yes! Your generator pulls air into the system to help it operate efficiently and keep the engine cool. If the air intake areas are obstructed due to wet leaves or snow, the engine will not operate properly. We recommend shoveling a two-foot perimeter around your generator and keeping the lid clear of snow.

If you have flooding in your home, you can minimize the damage by using an automatic home standby generator to power your sump pump after the power goes out.

But if the generator itself is flooded, it can be damaged. If you suspect that your yard could be flooded during the storm, don’t run your generator. If your generator is submerged, you won’t be able to disconnect it safely.

A flooded generator will need to be replaced. It’s a good idea to let your insurance company know you have an automatic home standby generator

If you live in an area that’s at high risk for floods, consider elevating your automatic home standby generator on a concrete pedestal or raised platforms.

Let’s brainstorm ways to help you
before the next storm.

Keep your home running like usual — even in extraordinary weather.
Contact us for a free consultation.

Contact Us

During these unsettling times, we’re here for you.

As an essential business, we are practicing recommended social distancing guidelines to protect your family and ours. As always, we’ll be here to provide 24/7 emergency generator coverage for our customers. Our technicians are also performing routine maintenance and repairs to ensure that your generator is ready to run if there’s a power outage.

Additionally, RCA will continue to provide FREE estimates for the installation of new Generac Automatic Generators. We can set up a virtual meeting or a no contact site visit, whichever you are most comfortable with.

Together, we’ll get through this. Please stay safe and healthy.

Randy Agnew

– Randy Agnew
Owner, RCA Electrical Contractors Inc.