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Generac Product FAQs

Home Backup FAQs

  • 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 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 PowerPact™ 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 load shedding 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

  • Do generators have to be maintained?

    All generators require periodic maintenance, such as oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Scheduled maintenance kits are available and many Generac authorized dealers offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience. We recommend you have your unit serviced every 6 months by an authorized independent service dealer. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules. 

    You can find a digital copy of your owner’s manual here

    Important maintenance tips for your automatic home backup generator

    Information about our fuel system inspection program​

View All Home Backup FAQs

Home Backup Error Codes

  • Overcrank, Code 1100

    If your home standby is displaying this error code, resetting the controller and restarting your unit may do the trick.  If your unit does not start after two automatic attempts, there is an issue.  Make sure the gas to your generator is turned on.  If the handle is lined up with the pipe, your gas is on.  If your handle is lined across the pipe, this indicates that the gas is turned off.  If the gas is on and your unit is still not working or is running rough, contact an authorized service dealer.

  • Overspeed, Code 1200/1205

    This code usually displays when the controller detects high RPM.  This can be caused by defective ignition coils, and for this, you need to contact an authorized service dealer.

  • Low Oil Pressure, Code 1300

    When your home standby is displaying this error, the first thing to check is your oil level.  If oil is needed, add oil per recommendations in your owner’s manual.  Be careful not to overfill the engine.  If the oil level is good and your unit is still not working, a service call is needed.

  • RPM Sense Loss, Code 1501/1505/1511/1515

    If the unit was running and shuts down, attempting to restart, clear the alarm by pressing the ENTER button twice, then press AUTO.  Next, remove some of the loads.  Try putting it back in AUTO and then restart.  If it does not start after doing this, you will need to place a service call.

    If the unit will not start in AUTO when there is utility loss, clear the alarm by pressing the ENTER button twice, then press AUTO.  Then, using the control panel, check the battery.  To do this, navigate to the BATTERY MENU option from the MAIN MENU.  If it states ‘check battery’, try replacing the battery.  If it states that your battery is ‘good’ when being checked, contact an authorized service dealer.

  • Underspeed, Code 1600

    This code can be set off when your controller does not detect the correct RPM.  If your unit is displaying this code, you will need to contact an authorized service dealer.

View All Home Backup Error Codes

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. 

  • What type of oil is recommended? How often should it be changed?

    Above 32°F, use SAE 30. Below 40°F and down to -10°F, use 10W-30. Synthetic 5W-30 can be used in all temperatures. Oil should be changed after the first 20-30 hours of operation and every 100 hours of run time thereafter.

  • What type of gasoline is recommended for my portable generator?

    Use clean, fresh unleaded gasoline with a minimum 87 octane rating.

  • How often should I perform routine maintenance on my portable generator?

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

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Pressure Washer FAQs

  • What is a pressure washer?

    A pressure 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 pressure washer. A typical garden hose dispenses water at about 50 PSI, and a coin-operated car wash provides about 700 PSI. A pressure 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 pressure washer.

    You’ll find both of these ratings on a pressure washer, because they’re both important. Together, they provide your pressure 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 pressure 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 pressure washer, however, delivering water at 2500 PSI and 2.3 GPM has a cleaning power of 5750.

  • How do I select the right pressure washer?

    The first question you should ask yourself is where you intend to use the pressure washer—at home or at work. A pressure 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.

  • How can I get assembly instructions for my pressure washer?

    For assembly instructions, please refer to your owner's manual.  If you no longer have your owner's manual, please visit our support page and enter your serial number.

  • Why isn't my pressure washer starting?

    There are a variety of reasons as to why your pressure washer may not start.  Some of these include, a dirty air filter, lack of or old fuel, problems with the spark plug wire's connection or a bad spark plug, water in the fuel or an excessively rich fuel mixture, or the choke is in the ON position.  Please refer to your owner's manual to determine the solution for each problem.  If you no longer have your owner's manual, visit our support page and enter your product's serial number.

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 come 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 transfer switch 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 a transfer switch?

    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 water pump.

    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 in my water pump?

    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. 

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Maintenance Kit FAQs

  • Why do I need a maintenance kit for my generator?

    All standby and portable generator owners need a Generac maintenance kit because it’s important to keep up with a regular maintenance schedule. Just like with a car or lawn mower, failure to complete regular maintenance can void your warranty. Doing what you can to ensure your unit works properly will give you peace of mind knowing it will work when it’s supposed to. You’ll be protecting your investment with genuine Generac parts. Lack of maintenance shortens the lifespan of your generator, and no one wants that.

  • Which maintenance kit is right for me?

    The maintenance kit that will work best for you depends on the model number of your unit. The product description for each maintenance kit we sell specifies which units the kit is compatible with. You can search by model number to get online product support and find out which maintenance kit you need. On under Service and Support, then Generac Owners, click on the Online Owner Support link. Type in your model or serial number and click search. You can also go to that page of our site here.

  • What parts are included in the maintenance kit?

    Every maintenance kit includes an air filter, oil filter, funnel and chamois for changing the oil, 2 quarts of synthetic oil, and spark plugs.

  • What specific parts do I need?

    For standby generators, you’ll need either a 75mm or 90mm Generac oil filter. For the air filter, you’ll need an OC8127. You’ll need our 059503 spark plugs. For portable generators, you’ll need the 0L13630202 oil filter, and the 0L13630113 air filter. For portable unit spark plugs, the 0J00620106 is compatible. If you have any questions about what parts you need, you can look them up with your serial number or give us a call.

  • How much does a maintenance kit cost?

    The cost of a maintenance kit ranges from $55-66. Depending on the type of generator you have—size and kilowatt power--the maintenance kit you need will fall on the low, mid, or high end of this price range. The amount of money a maintenance kit will save you in the long run is more important than the upfront cost of the kit. By properly maintaining your generator, you can avoid costly and unexpected repairs while improving the overall efficiency of your unit.

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