Frequently Asked Questions for Automatic Home Standby Generators
Why should I buy an automatic backup generator instead of a portable generator? During a utility power outage, an automatic backup generator provides many 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 does 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.
What is an automatic backup generator?
An automatic backup generator is a back-up electrical system that operates whether you are home or away. Within seconds of an outage, it automatically supplies power directly to your home's electrical circuit breaker box. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage. It operates on natural gas or liquid propane gas and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit.
Who is Generac?
Since 1959, Generac has been designing and manufacturing backup power generators for residential, commercial and industrial applications. Generac has grown to be the world's largest provider of residential backup generators, selling five times as many generators as all of our competitors combined.
How does the Generac OHVI® engine compare to air-cooled engines used in other brands of backup generators?
Unlike other engines, used in backup power generation, Generac OHVI engines are made specifically for generators. They are engineered to run for the long periods of time required during a severe power outage or on a job site, utilizing the same type of pressurized oil lubrication used to give automobile engines long and trouble-free lives.
Can an automatic backup generator replace utility service?
No. The generator fuel costs would be much more expensive than buying power from the utility company since their cost to produce electricity is divided among thousands of customers. Our automatic generators are produced for use as backup to utility power specifically and should not be used as primary power.
How do I correctly size a generator for my home?
The most logical way to determine your needs is to envision your home without power. Some outages may be short in duration, while others could last for days or weeks. What would your family miss during an outage? With some basic information you can determine an estimated size by using the Generator Sizing Calculator.
The very best way to understand your options and work within your budget is to schedule a free in-home assessment. During your consultation you will receive the personalized attention and detailed evaluation you need to find a solution that works for your need.
With the broadest product line available, essential circuit coverage starts with the economically priced Generac CorePower™ Series. Other systems are available to cover virtually any application:
Essential Circuit Coverage – Generac takes the guesswork out of sizing by offering prepackaged Guardian Series generator systems. The generator is paired with a transfer switch containing a predetermined number of circuits based on the generator's kW power rating. Each circuit is directly connected to a matched circuit on the home's main circuit breaker panel, providing electricity to that specific appliance or area of the home.
Managed Whole House Coverage – You can get more coverage with a smaller generator, up to whole house coverage, by pairing a smaller generator with one of Generac's Nexus™ load shedding switch options. This creates a managed power solution where non-essential circuits are shed when the generator approaches maximum capacity. They are cycled back on when essential circuits no longer require power, so all circuits receive power at different times.
Complete Whole House Coverage – Easily cover every circuit in your home by pairing one of Generac's larger kW units and the proper transfer switch to provide full coverage. No circuit is ever left uncovered, so every appliance is available every minute.
You could perform the simpler site preparation steps and have Blue Ridge make the electrical panel and fuel connections. However, for safety reasons and to ensure adherence to all local, state and national electrical codes, particularly for non pre-wired or larger systems, we recommend you allow Blue Ridge to perform the entire installation.
Do the generators have to be maintained?
Yes, simple maintenance is required. All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. As part of the complete package, Blue Ridge offers a preventative maintenance and extended warranty programs.
What is the typically size Generac generator that Blue Ridge installs?
The most common whole house automatic standby generator that we install is the air-cooled 22KW
What is the average cost for Blue Ridge to install a whole home automatic standby generator?
The average cost can vary depending on the size of the generator and complexity of the installation. However, in most cases Blue Ridge can install the generator for less than $10,000. In most cases the cost is between $6,500 and $9,500 but totally depends on the amount of coverage for the home and the size of the generator.
What type of fuel is needed to run the Generac generator?
The generator can run off of either natural gas or propane. If you are using propane, Blue Ridge recommends at least a 500-gallon propane tank for a 22KW generator.
How long does the installation take?
Most installations can be completed in 2-days. The site evaluation with the Blue Ridge professional can be normally scheduled within 3-5 business days after scheduling the appointment.
How to make the referral to Blue Ridge if the customer is interested in a professional on site evaluation by Blue Ridge representative?
This professional evaluation is free and the Blue Ridge rep will review the size of the home, the coverage requested, existing electrical load and provide the customer with a personal estimate suited for their residence.