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Home Backup Generator 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.

  • What’s the advantage of an aluminum enclosure?

    In addition to its sturdy galvanneal steel enclosure, Generac is one of the few companies to offer premium aluminum enclosures for its residential backup generators. Aluminum enclosures are naturally rust and corrosion resistant. For salt air or high humidity conditions, aluminum is highly recommended to ensure decades of worry free service.

  • 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. Please refer to the warranty policy for additional information. You can find a copy of the warranty on the Product Support page.

  • 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 our 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 less 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.

    Explore our automatic home backup solutions

  • Can I install the generator myself?

    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.

  • 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. Preventative maintenance kits are available and many Generac dealers offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules. You can find a digital copy of your owner's manual here.

  • What type of oil should I use?

    An SAE rated high detergent oil that meets API Service Class SF requirements for gasoline engines, similar to your car. Refer to your owner’s manual for details.

  • What happens if the generator gets overloaded?

    Generac generators are equipped with overload protection. In the rare event of an overload, the generator’s circuit breaker will trip, disconnecting the unit from the load. Simply correct the overload and reset the breaker in the generator. For more information, please consult your owner's manual or contact us.

  • I no longer have my Owner’s Manual, how can I get another copy?

    Owner’s manuals and other technical / repair information can be downloaded from our Product Support Page or contact us for further assisance.

  • If I have a problem with my generator where do I go for help?

    To find your local authorized Generac dealer, see our locator or contact us for additional information.

Online Product Support

Looking for more? In Generac's Online Product Support section you can find the specifications, product manuals, frequently asked questions, how-to videos, and more for your product. Enter your model or serial number to go directly to your specific information or find your model through the Product Lookup.

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  • 9/19/2014 4:01 PM EST