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Generator FAQ

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 backup 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 standby generator. For New Englanders, the return on investment for a standby 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 standby 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 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.

As an option, Generac offers the Guardian Series systems prepackaged and pre-wired with comprehensive installation instructions. You could perform the simpler site preparation steps and have a professional make the electrical panel and fuel connections, or you could complete the entire installation yourself. However, for safety reasons and to ensure adherence to all local, state and national electrical codes, particularly for non pre-wired or larger systems, Generac recommends you use an authorized Generac dealer or licensed contractor. When selecting a site, always follow the guidelines in the Site Selection and Preparation section of your unit’s installation manual.

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 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 standby units 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.

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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.