Back to Basics

Commercial Standby Generators

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Time to get back to basics… I’ve been selling generators for a long time now and sometimes I have to remind myself that not everyone calling in wants a long technical answer… Many of them just want to know the basics: What size do I need? Which is better – a portable or automatic system? Who can install it? What happens if it doesn’t work?

To start, you the customer must do a little homework:

1. Do you have the fuel available for an automatic system (usually propane or natural gas)? Just answering this question will decide if you should even be considering an automatic system. Automatic systems for residential applications use natural gas or propane.


2. Decide, are backing up just the necessities or the whole house? Answering this question will help narrow the range of sizes. We offer from 3kW to 150kW if you look at both the portables and the standbys, just knowing how much you want the generator to do can help us get an idea if you are below 10kW, or closer to a 20kW or larger.

3. When you decided you wanted a generator, did you check with your local governing entity to find out if they are allowed? Maybe you should answer this one first, go ahead make a phone call. You might as well ask if there is a noise ordinance in place while you have them on the phone, and if permits or inspections are required for the installation.

4. Who installs the generator? Most manufactures allow the installation to be completed by any electrician – Be aware that if there is a problem and you contact a local service center and the problem is due to installation, it is not covered under warranty. Ask the installer questions, lots and lots of questions, find out if the electrician has ever installed a generator previously.

5. What happens if it doesn’t work? Every unit we advertise on our website is sold with a manufactures warranty, we can tell you while you’re shopping if you have product support in your area for that manufacturer before you make a purchase decision.  Now that the basics have been covered and you did some homework, let’s get to the next step… More Homework!

Remember, we’re on the phone, I can’t see you. This means I’m going to ask you to get more information… the amperage of the circuits you want to backup, especially if you decided to only do the essential circuits. Or I’m going to ask you for the amperage of your service and the amperage of your circuits in that service if you decided to do whole house. Let me give you an example. Stand in front of your panel box, and you don’t have to touch anything, in case electricity scares you like snakes scare me… make a list starting with the big breaker that disconnects you. Is it 100, 200, 400 amps? Then each individual circuit…

A/C 40 amps
Oven 50 amps
Outlets 15 amps, there are 10 of these 2 in each bedroom
Hot Water Heater 30 amps
etc….

Just make a list of everything, and then call us or email us the list.  Maybe you want to compare the costs of going portable, as opposed to just doing the basics with an automatic that covers everything…

The total amperage of your service is going to help us select your transfer switch. The individual circuit information is going to help us determine your starting load requirement. All of the information together is going to let us recommend a size generator, type of generator and transfer switch recommendation.

Once you’ve picked out a model, then we can really have fun and talk technical.

Sizing Tools are available by clicking here.

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