Home > Service & Support > FAQs

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 sources such as natural gas do 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 G-Force® engine compare to air cooled engines used in other brands of backup generators?

    Unlike other engines used in backup power generation, Generac G-Force 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 2016 the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,766 kilowatt hours (kWh). This translates to about 29.5 kilowatt hours per day. The area with the lowest consumption used 6,061kWh and the area with the highest used 14,881kWh.

  • 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 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?

    Generac G-FORCE®  and OHVI engines are designed and manufactured by Generac Power Systems Inc. at our facilities in Wisconsin. 

    The Generac OHV engines are not engineered or manufactured in the U.S.

  • How does the Generac G-FORCE® engine compare to air cooled engines used in other brands of generators?

    Unlike other engines used in backup power generation, Generac G-FORCE® engines are designed 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. They utilize the same type of pressurized oil lubrication used to give automobile engines long and trouble-free lives. 

  • Where do I go to have warranty repairs performed?

    Any Authorized Generac dealer can perform warranty service. To find your local authorized Generac Dealer, see our locator or contact us for additional information. 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 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 website.

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

    Owner's manuals and other documentation can be downloaded from our Product Support Page using the unit's serial number, or contact us for further assistance. 

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.

  • How often does a power washer require maintenance?

    All power wasers require periodic maintenance, such as oil and air filter changes, to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Refer to the owner's manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules. 

View All Pressure Washer FAQs

Transfer Switch FAQs

  • How does an automatic transfer switch work?

    The transfer switch is an essential part of the home backup system. Its primary function is to prevent your home from being powered by utility and generator power at the same time. If utility power is lost, the generator control panel senses the loss and tells the transfer switch to close off the connection with utility and complete the connection with the generator so it can begin providing power to the home.

  • How is the automatic transfer switch connected to the house/generator?

    This can vary by the type of transfer switch and depends on the number of circuits you would like covered.
    In a partial home application, the transfer switch is installed similarly to a subpanel, and the circuits that are covered by the generator are moved either into a circuited transfer switch, or are installed in a subpanel that is protected by a non-circuited transfer switch.
    In a whole home application, the transfer switch is installed between the incoming utility power source and the home’s distribution panel.

  • Why doesn't every home standby generator comes with a transfer switch if they are required?

    Each application is different, as homes and businesses have varying power needs. Providing the correct size generator and transfer switch is important to ensuring proper coverage, and offering the generators and transfer switches separately allows you to get exactly the size you need, helping to keep cost down. A Generac Authorized Dealer can help you size the right generator and transfer switch for your needs.

    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.

  • How do I know which one I need?

    If you’re interested in an Automatic Home Standby Generator, you should work with a licensed electrician/installer to determine the proper transfer switch. If you don’t have someone you’re working with, Generac offers a Free In-Home Assessment with a local professional. They will evaluate your specific needs and make a recommendation that fits your budget. Click here 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.

    If you’re interested in a manual transfer switch for your portable generator, we offer several options. We recommend working with a licensed electrician to properly choose and install a manual transfer switch. There are several factors to consider including what size portable generator you’ll be using, what kind of receptacle  

  • Where do I order one?

    Transfer switches are available through our Generac Authorized Dealers or through a local retail store. An in-home assessment can also be a great place to start if you’re not sure what size you need. Click here to schedule a free in-home assessment for an automatic home standby generator.

View All Transfer Switch FAQs

Water Pump FAQs

  • What is a portable water pump?

    A portable water pump is an outdoor power tool that utilizes a centrifugal pump to move a large amount of water rapidly.  A gasoline-driven engine will drive an impeller inside a pump to create a flow of water between a source and the intended location. The source of water can vary from ponds to lakes, swimming pools, ditches, standing containers, and more.  The intended location can be just as varied.

  • What is GPM, Vertical Suction Lift, Max Total Head, and why are they important?

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

    Vertical Suction Lift is how far up the pump can be from the top of the water. This is the distance that the water from the source is lifted to the pump itself. 

    Maximum Total Head Lift is how far up (away) the pump can push the water. This is the total distance from the top of the water source to the discharge location.  

    For best use, have the pump as close as possible to the water source. 

  • How do I select the right water pump?

    It all depends on how much water you need to pump, how quickly you need to pump it, and how dirty the water is. A pump’s performance is determined by many factors such as atmospheric pressure (how high the pump is above sea level) resistance from hoses, etc. A pump’s performance is measured in flow and expressed in gallons per minute or gallons per hour. The higher the flow, the better the performance. If the water is sandy, muddy (abrasive), or has small particulates, you should purchase a semi-trash or trash pump. If the water you intend to pump is always clean, such as in a swimming pool, hot tub, or water garden, a clean water pump will be fine.

  • Do the water pumps have to be maintained?

    All water pumps require periodic maintenance, such as oil changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules.

  • 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. To find your owner's manual online, visit our Product Support page and enter your serial number or model number. 

View All Water Pump FAQs

Have Questions?

We're Here to Help.

Call Us 24 Hours a Day, 365 Days a Year at 888-436-3722
to Speak With a Customer Service Representative
Chat Now

Chat With a Customer Service Representative

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.