Selecting a Standby Generator for your Needs

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,208
    Frank Assaro with Cummins Onan discusses how to select a standby generator for your needs.

    Frank Assaro: Hi! I am Frank Assaro with Cummins Onan. I will be discussing the key considerations for selecting the right stand by generator for your home.

    In order to best choose a generator, you need to know what appliances and equipment must remain powered in the home. Each house is different, so start by estimating the utilities you want to run during the outage.

    You can easily calculate the correct size of the generator by using an online calculator like the one at cumminsonan.

    com. There are two basic types of automatic stand by generators, air cooled and liquid cooled.

    As a general rule of thumb, air cooled generators power up to about 20 KW and liquid cooled units power homes require more than 20 KW. Air cooled generators are more inexpensive than liquid cooled sets. With low management capabilities, air cooled generators meet close to 80% of the need in North America.

    Load management allows home owners the option to purchase a smaller generator while still powering all their essential electrical loads. Basically load management automatically locks up the home's largest motor load, most often an air conditioner to allow more power availability for the home's essentials. The air conditioner will run when power is available but would be temporarily interrupted when more power is needed to run the essentials.

    Your regional climate is also a consideration. A home standby generator may fail to start during extremely cold winters if not properly prepared for lower temperature operation. The back up generator may fail due to thick oil and resistance to the movement of internal moving parts during extreme winters.

    Be sure to explore the operating temperatures of the generator you select and make sure it's the right fit. Cold weather starting kits are offered by most generator manufacturers.

    There are two basic fuel options, natural gas and liquid propane. Obviously, it is easiest to connect to the existing fuel supply running in your home but you can also have a designated fuel storage tank to power your generator. The size of the tank is determined by the size of the generator, fuel efficiency and the anticipated number of days without power.

    So that's basically the way you select the back up power system for your home.