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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 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.

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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 on my portable generator?

    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. 

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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.

  • Why Generac pressure 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 pressure 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 pressure washer require maintenance?

    All pressure washers 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. 

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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.

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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

  • How often do I need to maintain my generator?

    If you refer to your owner’s manual, there will be a generator maintenance schedule in it to tell you how often you need to perform maintenance. Most generators require maintenance once per year.  

  • What maintenance do I need to do and how often?

    Some generator units require a screwdriver to remove the front panel. Others have a grip and you can simply lift it off.

    Maintenance should be done on your portable or standby generator once per year, just as you would with a lawn mower or ATV. The first and probably most important maintenance task is changing the oil. You should use SAE 30 oil (most maintenance kits come with two quarts). First, remove the oil tank cap. Using a funnel, drain out the old oil. Next, use a funnel to pour in new oil to fill the oil tank until it reaches the "FULL" mark on the oil dipstick. You should also change the oil filter every time you change the oil.

    Next, the air filter should be changed as well. You will know when the air filter needs to be replaced because it will be dirty enough that you cannot see through it when you hold it up to a light source.

    Another thing you should do as needed is change the spark plugs (also included in all maintenance kits). You should check for corrosion on them every time you perform maintenance on your generator. You’ll know they need to be replaced if the engine is idling rough, your engine misfires, or the unit is using more fuel than normal. To change the spark plugs, simply use a socket wrench to remove the old ones and put the new ones on, tightening them, but not overtightening them.

    Other maintenance you should do on your generator is touch up chipped paint, remove scratches, and protect your unit with fascia. You should also check for cracks or instability in the concrete base your unit stands on. Periodic tests can be done to detect problems with other parts as well. If you need to replace any part in your generator, Generac sells replacement parts. You can install them yourself, or contact a licensed technician to complete the repairs for you.

    If you don’t keep up with maintenance, you are shortening the life of your unit and could potentially void your warranty.

    If you refer to your owner’s manual, there will be a generator maintenance schedule in it to tell you how often you need to perform maintenance. 

  • What tools do I need to perform maintenance?

    The first thing you’ll need is a screwdriver or 10mm Allen wrench to remove the screws that hold the main panel on. Next, you’ll need a 3/8 socket wrench to remove the old spark plugs. You’ll also need a ratchet, pliers, and a spark plug gap gauge. For changing the oil, the kit comes with a cloth and funnel. You may want to use a drip pan or plastic container for draining out the old oil.

  • What other maintenance parts are available, and what else should I do to maintain my generator?

    Changing the oil, oil filter, air filter, and spark plugs are most important for maintenance. However, there are other things you can do to keep your generator in the best possible condition. Generac also offers base fascia, which snaps around the bottom to protect the trim and edges of your unit. Generator paint can chip over time due to temperature and weather elements. We have a touch up paint kit that includes medium gray or gray spray paint, scratch removal solution, and a cloth. While touching up paint and adding fascia may seem like cosmetic tasks, they can extend the life of your generator by preventing rust and corrosion.

  • What does my warranty cover?

    Generac offers standard 5-year warranties as well as extended 7-10 year warranties. They cover repairs that result from product defects and parts that require premature replacement. Warranties do NOT cover:

    • Rust on enclosures after 1 year
    • Costs of normal maintenance
    • Damage caused by accidents, shipping, handling, or improper storage
    • Damage caused by use of improper fuel
    • Damage due to using non-Generac parts
    • Failure due to abuse, neglect, improper installation, or rodent infestation
    • Rental equipment used while warranty generator repairs are being performed.
    • Damage caused by any mode of transport deemed not standard by Generac
    • Products that are modified without Generac authorization
    • Starting batteries, fuses, light bulbs, or engine fluid
    • Additional costs for overtime, holiday, or outside of business hours repairs
    • Acts of God, theft, fire, or other matters beyond the manufacturer's control

    While your warranty cannot cover these things, some of these can be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Be sure to inform your insurance provider when you purchase a home standby generator so that it can be included in the policy.

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