Top 10 automatic standby generator buying tips

1.   Size it right.
There are many online calculators that can help sizing a automatic standby generator.  There are some math and calculations involved in this, and if you are not comfortable you should definitely consult a qualified electrician.  As important as the calculations may be understanding the way the generator will interact with your homes electrical system can either require a larger or smaller generator.  If you plan on having the generator professionally installed for you contact your installer for free advice on what to buy.

2.       Generator install location.
Different manufacturers have various install requirements. For example Kohler generators must be installed 5 feet from a combustible structure, while Generac requires 18” and others are different.  Get information from your manufacturer with all the details

3.       Noise.
While generators are very quiet they do put out 66 decibels at full load which falls between factory-noise and a classroom-setting.  If you are a very light sleeper this should be taken into consideration.

4.       Municipality Setbacks?
Does your city or county require generators to be set back from property lines?  Contact your city or county to find out more information.  One complaint from a neighbor and the generator may have to be moved and re-installed at significant expense.

5.       Understand the NEC.
The national electrical code can be a friend or your enemy.  Use this information to get the right generator size, automatic transfer switch, and options that will allow you to pass inspections the first time.

6.       Permits. The main purpose of permitting is to ensure a correct and safe installation. A contractor should be able a willing to handle the permits for you.  There will be two permits: 1.) Electrical An electrical inspector can confirm that the installation was done correctly.  2.) Gas An inspector will make sure there are no leaks in the gas line and that proper materials were used.

7.       Generator maintenance.
A generator is a sophisticated piece of power generation equipment that will need maintenance periodically. Can you perform the work yourself? Are parts readily available? Is there a local provider that can perform this service for you and at what cost?

8.       Fuel source.
For natural gas, is my current gas meter size adequate? For propane, is my current tank large enough or what size tank should I purchase 120, 250, or even 500 gallon?

9.       Spending more will guarantee better performance? Luxury car brands do not always have better gas mileage and repair records than other less expensive quality brands.   There is more than one quality generator option on the market today.  Look at reviews to discover which generator will represent the best value.

10.   Payment terms. Are zero or interest payment options available from the manufacturer or dealer?  This can make purchasing a generator that much more affordable.