Why You Need A Standby Generator
Updated: Oct 26
Electrical power outages are more common than ever. Approximately 60 percent of all blackouts are storm-related, but 34 percent of them are caused by equipment failure. This is largely due to the nation’s aging and overloaded electrical grid. Now, as an informed homeowner, what should you do?
Well, it’s 2019 and many of your neighbors already know the answer. They have purchased a standby generator, also known as a whole-house generator. These power-producing machines are your own personal electrical power source. Within seconds of a blackout, a standby generator will automatically kick on to power your home’s electrical circuits.
However, standby generators can be a significant financial investment. Making a decision to have one installed is not always easy. Here, are some things to consider when making your decision.
A Personal Decision
Getting a generator is a personal decision. Some areas are more prone to blackouts than others. It really depends on what you want to put up with. As time goes on, the nation’s grid is only going to get older. So outages are likely to become more common.
So once you’ve decided to get a standby generator, the next step is picking the right size generator.
Sizing Standby Generators
Generators come in different sizes, and can be powered by either natural gas or liquid propane (LP).
Karalis Generators takes into account what you need and want. We help you decide how large of a generator you need. We take a sensible approach. We listen to what you want to power during an outage. Generally, we recommend a generator sized to power your home’s most essential electrical circuits, such as those connected to the furnace, kitchen appliances, well pump, water heater, security system, garage-door opener, and a few lights and outlets. These installations are often referred to as “partial-house generators.”
House size is just one factor in selecting a standby generator. The complexity of the home’s electrical system also plays a key role, especially if it has central air conditioning. Karalis Generators is a division of Karalis Mechanical Services, so we understand the big picture. Sizing generators isn’t as simple as saying, “If your home has this many sq. ft., then you must get this size generator.” As an experienced generator installer, we will calculate your home’s anticipated electrical loads and recommend the right size generator.
Generators are sized by kilowatts (kW), which is a unit of power. One kilowatt equals 1,000 watts. Therefore, a 22kW generator produces 22 kilowatts—or 22,000 watts—of electrical power. Each generator must also be matched to an automatic transfer switch (ATS), which serves as the brains of the standby-power system and tells the generator when to kick on and turn off. Again, the electrician will provide guidance here, but typically if the generator is connected to a 200-amp breaker panel, then a 200-amp ATS is required.
Ultimately the generator size will be based on the total running watts and starting KVA of all the circuits, appliances and mechanical systems connected to the generator. KVA is simply 1,000 volt-amps; a volt is electrical pressure, an amp is electrical current. Both of these numbers must be calculated: running watts represent the power consumed by an electrical motor while running normally, and starting KVA is required because each time an electrical motor starts up, there’s an extra electrical surge that the generator must be able to handle.
Sound and Service
Once a decision on the size is made, Karalis Generators determines the specific location outside the house that the generator will be placed. We take into account all local ordinances as far as safety and sound. We make sure your neighbors will not be negatively impacted when the generator is running.
Also, generators require yearly maintenance. They are like car engines. They need routine service like oil changes. As I said before, it is a significant investment and we want to make sure it is appropriately maintanined.
Karalis Generators recommends that if it is used for 24 to 48 hours, it should be serviced. Keeping it clean and changing the oil is very important. We know exactly how to keep it healthy throughout the years.
Generally speaking, a 22-kW standby generator is suitable for a home that’s 2,500 sq. ft. or smaller, especially if the home is equipped with gas-powered heat and hot water and a gas range, all of which use very little electricity. Many of our customers go with a 22-kW generator.
Many of our customers tell us it is one of the best investments they have made for their home.
Call Karalis Generators at 610-886-5000 to schedule your free estimate.