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Shopping for a Standby Generator? What to Look For

Published on: January 21, 2014

Owning a standby generator can be very useful when you live in the southeastern United States. In times of severe weather, standby generators can help you continue to have access to electricity.

Here are some things to look for when shopping for standby generators.

  • Standby vs. portable – Determine which type of generator best fits your needs and budget. Standby generators work by being installed directly on your home electrical circuit. Depending on the type of transfer switch you choose, it will turn itself on when it senses a disruption in your utilities, or you may have to turn it on yourself. A portable generator can be hooked up only when needed, and you can plug appliances directly into it, or on some models you can install a transfer switch to connect it to your home’s electrical system.
  • Know your needs – Determine the wattage necessary to run the appliances that you care about. For instance, if it’s most important to you to be able to run the refrigerator and water heater in severe weather, know how much wattage they need combined and purchase a unit capable of providing that much energy at once.
  • Get to know the terminology – You’ll be seeing a lot of information about amps, watts and other common electrical terms. Review the meaning of these terms so that you can be an educated shopper and better ensure you purchase a unit that will meet your needs.
  • Comparison shop – Don’t just compare prices of each generator. Compare accessories, warranties, run times, power outputs and installation as well.
  • Know your additional costs – Determine how much installation by a qualified contractor will cost if it’s not included. Know if any accessories are needed for the generator such as transfer switches or unit covers to protect it from the elements.
  • Check for any issues at home – Look for any existing problems at home that may lead to issues when installing your generator.

Contact us to find a qualified contractor in your area who can help you choose the right standby generator for your family’s needs.