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Generac Product FAQs

Home Backup FAQs

  • Why should I buy an automatic backup generator instead of a portable generator?

    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 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. See our "How It Works" video for more information.

  • Who is Generac?

    Since 1959, Generac has been designing and manufacturing backup power generators for residential, commercial and industrial applications. We have grown to be the world’s largest provider of residential backup generators, selling five times as many generators as all of our competitors combined. Generac’s broad product line is available through the industry’s largest network of independent generator dealers, retailers and wholesalers. To learn more, visit our About Us page or connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

  • What is the difference between an automatic air-cooled generator and an automatic liquid-cooled generator?

    The engines! Air-cooled generators come with engines that use fans to force air across the engine for cooling, while liquid-cooled generators use enclosed radiator systems for cooling, similar to an automobile. Generally, liquid-cooled engines are used on larger kW generators due to the larger engines required for the higher power output.

  • 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.

View All Home Backup FAQs

Home Backup Generator Versus Home Battery FAQs

  • How much electricity does an average American home use?

    According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2013 the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,908 kilowatt hours (kWh). This translates to about 30 kilowatt hours per day.

  • We have frequent power outages because of storms and inclement weather as well as the nation’s aging electrical grid. What’s the right backup power solution for me?

    The most reliable source of power for extended or unpredictable power outages is a home backup generator. The generator, which in most cases is connected directly to a home’s natural gas line, has a constant supply of fuel and can operate through extended outages, keeping homes safe, lit and powered.

    For people concerned with a loss of natural gas supply during a storm, generators can be fueled by a dedicated LP tank as well.

    With this continuous fuel source, generators are much better able to face the unpredictability of dangerous, storm-prompted or lengthy outages rather than a home battery, which relies on an external power source to recharge it after only a few hours of use.

  • Can a battery provide the same backup power support to my home as a generator?

    The simple answer is no. Both products do help supply electricity that homeowners can use for any electrical device in their home—from air conditioning to microwaves.

    Home backup generators, when properly installed and wired to the home’s circuitry, can provide adequate wattage to the home to run all selected circuits simultaneously, with the output they require. Home appliances draw different amounts of power when they operate—a microwave may require 1000 watts of power, and a refrigerator may require 500 to 750 watts to operate. Generators steadily produce their power, fully supporting all circuits they are wired to.

    Home batteries cannot supply the full wattage of the power they may hold all at once. For example, a battery that may be charged with up to 10 kWh of energy, in order to protect the longevity of the battery, cannot dispense its power at more than a 2 kilowatts-per-hour rate. This means that only certain appliances would be able to draw power at any given time from the battery. In a power outage, the battery could support only limited items in a home at one time (e.g., just the refrigerator, but not the furnace).

    Visit the home backup generator sizing calculator to learn what it takes to power your home 

  • What are the most common reasons why homeowners invest in home backup generators?

    Heating and air conditioning are top concerns, along with running water and hot water. All of these items are high-load appliances and require a high capacity to start. These actions consume significant power and could quickly drain a battery.

    There a number of ways homeowners can prepare for a power outage.

    Learn more 

  • How would any product help me live “off grid”?

    Homeowners who wish to operate the appliances and features of their home without being connected to their community’s standard power grid explore a number of options to provide constant energy to their home.

    Often these options still require a fuel source. In the case of certain battery backup options, the fuel source is stored solar energy. By going “off grid” a home only powered by a battery power source using solar fuel must rely on the unpredictable coverage and collection of sunlight to recharge it—impractical in most parts of the country.

    Home backup generators’ fuel is often available in the home’s area in the form of natural gas or propane. A more reliable resource—natural gas—is abundant, relatively inexpensive and cleaner burning than many other fuel types. Propane fuel can be delivered and refilled as the owner desires, unlike sunlight.

    For those homeowners who wish to disconnect from the power grid in their area, the power that supplies their home must be sourced to a power-supplying unit and safely designed to transfer to their electrical system, a process that requires a professional electrician or generator/battery installer.

    For anyone who is interested in grid independence, a generator is a valuable component of their off-grid process.

    Generac has engineered the EcoGen home backup generator as the first automatic unit warranted for off-grid use when used in an alternative energy system. 

    Learn more about the EcoGen home backup generator

View All Home Backup Vs. Home Battery FAQs

Portable Generator FAQs

  • Where is the engine made?

    The engines used on the Generac XP and XG Series of portables are manufactured at our Generac Power Systems, Inc. factory in Whitewater, WI. Generac engines are industrial grade engines designed to provide the ultra-quiet, longer-lasting performance required of portable generators. They also run 30-50 degrees cooler, are 5% more fuel-efficient and reduce oil consumption by 25%.

  • What is the difference between rated watts and maximum (surge) watts?

    Rated watts describe the amount of power the portable generator can produce continuously. Maximum wattage is the power that the generator can produce for short periods of time. Motor starting is a good example of maximum wattage requirements.

  • Where do I go to have warranty repairs performed?

    Any Authorized Generac dealer can perform warranty service. To locate a dealer near you, please refer to our Dealer Locator section on this Web site or call our Automated Dealer Locator at 1-800-333-1322, 24/7/365. Our Authorized Service Centers provide parts, service and information on Generac equipment, regardless of where it was purchased. Authorized Service Centers are staffed with trained technicians certified in supporting all aspects of the Generac portable generator line.

  • Where can I find a GENERAC dealer in the U.S. or Canada?

    To locate a dealer near you, please refer to our Dealer Locator section on this Web site or call our Automated Dealer Locator (for U.S. locations only) at 1-800-333-1322.

  • I can’t locate my original owner’s manual. How can I get another copy?

    For our customers’ convenience, we now offer technical information, diagnostic repair, installation and owner’s manuals online. Please refer to the Manuals section on this Web site for this information.

View All Portable Generator FAQs

Pressure Washer FAQs

  • What is a power washer?

    A power washer is an outdoor power tool that makes cleaning easier by using a high-pressure spray of water to clean a surface. A gasoline engine or electric motor drives a pump, which is supplied by your home’s water supply. The water enters the pump at about 50 PSI, is compressed (and thus pressurized) inside the pump, and exits the pump at as much as several thousand PSI, depending upon the unit. This high-pressure water travels through a hose to a spray gun. The nozzle at the end of the spray gun directs the high-pressure spray as you clean.

    The force of the high-pressure spray loosens dirt and flushes it away. On more professional-grade models, the spray is even powerful enough to strip paint, which is useful in paint preparation. You can use many detergents with a power washer, too, for even more effective cleaning. And there are accessories you can buy that make cleaning even easier.

  • What is “PSI” and “GPM,” and why are they important?

    PSI is short for “pounds per square inch.” It is a measure of the water pressure coming out of the power washer. A typical garden hose dispenses water at about 50 PSI, and a coin-operated car wash provides about 700 PSI. A power washer, by contrast, typically dispenses water at several thousand PSI, depending upon the model.

    GPM stands for “gallons per minute,” and describes how much water is flowing through the power washer.

    You’ll find both of these ratings on a power washer, because they’re both important. Together, they provide your power washer’s cleaning power. PSI provides the “oomph” you need to lift dirt and grime, and GPM provides the necessary quantity of water to wash it away.

    The real measure of a power washer’s cleaning power can be found by multiplying PSI by GPM. The higher the number, the greater the cleaning power. For example, a garden hose delivering water at 50 PSI and 5 GPM has a cleaning power of only 250. A power washer, however, delivering water at 2500 PSI and 2.3 GPM has a cleaning power of 5750.

  • How do I select the right power washer?

    The first question you should ask yourself is where you intend to use the power washer—at home or at work. A power washer used primarily at home probably doesn’t need to be as powerful as one that is used on a job site. Around the house, for example, you shouldn’t need more than 3000 PSI. To be fully productive on the job site, though, you probably need at least 3000 PSI.

    Next, ask what you want to clean. If you’re looking to simply take the dirt and grime off the driveway or patio furniture, you can use a unit with a relatively low pressure—perhaps 2500 PSI. If, however, you plan on scrubbing mold and mildew off concrete, or prepping a house for painting, you should consider a unit with a higher pressure.

    Finally, think about how much cleaning you will be doing. If you’re cleaning a number of items, or if you need to clean a large area, you might want to consider a unit with a higher GPM. More water means more cleaning power, and a higher GPM will make the job go faster.

  • Why Generac power washers? Isn’t Generac a generator company?

    You’re right—Generac’s primary focus has been designing and manufacturing generators for residential, commercial and industrial applications.

    Nonetheless, back in the early 1990s, we applied our knowledge of air-cooled engines and portable product design to power washers—it was a natural evolution. And for the first time power washers were readily available to consumers at a price they could afford. Along the way, we were granted several patents that have since changed the industry. We also managed to capture about half the US market for power washers.

    About ten years ago, we sold our portable products business—which included power washers—so we could focus our resources on developing Generac home standby generators. It was a strategic decision that yielded fantastic results; we’ve grown to be the world’s largest provider of home standby generators. It’s an achievement we earned in no small measure by addressing the needs of our customers. Now we’ve applied those same listening skills to an entirely redesigned family of power washers—products specifically designed to meet your needs.

    Generac conducted research with consumers. They told us they needed cleaning power, reliability and—above all—ease of use. It’s why the pump we use is up high and easy for anyone to access. Why we use only Generac horizontal-shaft engines with low-oil shutdown. And why both the engine and pump are properly balanced over the axle, for almost effortless maneuverability. We think you will be impressed.

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