Generator Videos & FAQs

Our Top video picks for you on Generators. Chosen by our service manager just for you.

Top 20 Automatic standby Generator Questions for WA Electric. Please contact us if you need additional information.

Q: How much does is cost?
A: This is the first question that is often asked, “how much will it cost”?   But it is difficult to give an accurate answer over the phone or without viewing the installation location. In many cases a price over the phone is just plain innacurrate.  While the cost of the generator is consistent, the time and materials needed to install the generator at each customer’s home is unique. This is why there is tremendous value in performing a careful evaluation of customers home and electrical system.

Q: How big of a generator do I need?
A: This varies significantly and will depend on your individual needs, type of home heating, and existing electrical service. The automatic generators that we sell and install can be as small as 7,000 watts up to 20,000 watts in most cases. Please contact us for a free in-home evaluation. Please click here to use our online generator size calculator.

Many of the generators we sell and install are essential circuit coverage. This helps to take the guesswork out of the generator size. 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. For example, ten circuits are supplied for the 8 kW generator. With this system, you could connect (1) lights and TV in the family room, (2) microwave and lights in the kitchen, (3) refrigerator, (4) power to the bathroom, (5) computer and home office, (6) garage door opener, (7) air conditioner, and (8) furnace.

Q: How loud is it?
A: Most of us are familiar with the noise from a portable generator. By design standby generators are much much quieter. They are fully enclosed with a sound attenuated enclosure to contain noise levels to 66 dbl at full load. We often tell people that these sound levels are louder than an AC unit, but quieter than a lawnmower. Because of their relatively low noise levels these generators can be installed anywhere around a home with little concern for the noise.

Q: How much maintenance?
A: Yes, simple maintenance is required. All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. We sell preventative maintenance kits and offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules.

Q: How much gas is needed?
A: Don’t let your contractor skip steps…….often the gas meter needs a modest upgrade for your generator to function properly.

Please be aware that generator manufactured prior to June of 2004 all require between 11-14” of water column even for natural gas!  See the picture below of a 2lb gas meter and a second regulator lowering the pressure back to usable levels for the rest of the house (5-7” water column). If you do not have the second regulator for your pre June 2004 generator it is wrong. Don’t let your generator give you a false sense of security call us for a free generator compliance inspection.

Picture on the right:   Notice that there are two regulators installed.  This allows proper gas pressure to be delivered inside the house and also proper pressure to be sent to the generator.

Picture on the left:  This is a standard gas meter with only one regulator that can only supply 5-7″ of water column

For propane installations the required water column is still 11-14”.

Q: How long will it last?
A: A properly cared for generator will last for 20 years. The engines are developed specifically for generators and designed to provide approximately 3,000 hours of use, with typical usage and proper maintenance an automatic standby generator can provide in excess of 30 years of service. Example: Weekly exercise time (11 hours per year) plus four 20 hr. outages (80 hrs/year) equals 91 hours of operation per year OR over 30 years.

Q: Why am I getting some many different opinions of how to install my generator?
A: We call this the Generator Jungle. Because of the various experience levels of Generator installers, the quality and ability of your particular contractor varies widely. Many contractors rarely install automatic standby power and lack the knowledge to give good advice, and in the process may also make recommendations that are not in your best interest. Many are looking for a quick sale with no long term commitment. This is definitely a case where you get what you pay for. We have factory certified technicians that will deliver a quality installation and the peace of mind that your generator will start for you and your family when you really need it. Click here to see some really bad installations.

Q: Does my generator come with a battery?
A: None of the air cooled generators ship with a battery. For anybody in our service area you can purchase a battery directly from us or make this purchase with the generator. We use the Generac Recommend Group 26 Interstate batteries.

Q: How long does it take for my generator to be delivered after online order?
A: Call and ask what we have in stock, 2-4 day delivery time once order is placed. We always have popular generators available right at our shop so give us a call. Even if your generator is being installed by someone else we can commission (start-up) your generator at no charge. Ask about our free local delivery for generators sold in the Seattle area.  For orders requiring shipping from the factory allow 2-3 weeks shipping time.

Q: What size Generator do I need?
A: A very popular model is the 8 kw #5870. This is great when most large appliances are powered by gas. This generator provides power for up to 10 circuits with an economical cost.  For customers with well pumps, electric hot water tanks, and some electric heat the 20 kw Model #5875 works great; and we offer no interest financing as well.

Q: How much gas does the Generator use in quiet test?
A: Each week the generator will automatically self-test for 12 minutes. You can expect this to cost around $4 per month. When outages occur, Expect to pay $32/day for gas usage at 50% load (depends on current energy rates) A small price compared to a motel, frozen water pipes, and a bunch of spoiled food.

Q: What Fuel do I need?
A: Generac generators are designed to run on both natural gas and propane (Liquid propane). If you have existing LP gas the size of existing tank should be looked at to assure it is large enough to supply the added load of a generator. Portable generators run on gasoline.

Q: Can you install the generator for me?
A: Yes, if you are in the Puget Sound region. Our coverage area for generator installations is from Everett to Olympia.

Q: How big is the generator?
A: Air cooled weigh close to 500 lbs. Dimensions are 48” long by 24” deep x 28” tall

With the Gen pad base (used on most installations) 52” x 28”

Q: Does your price include delivery?
A: Yes, all our prices included lift gate delivery to your home. In Washington state delivery will be made via your generator hoist equipped vehicles. There are no hidden charges to our online pricing. The amount shown will be the final amount billed to your credit card.

Q: Do I need to pay sales tax?
A: No sales tax unless you are in Washington or California