Written by Walt Meyer

Key Considerations for Installing a Standby Generator – Part 1

Did you know that Maryland was ranked 11th in the number of customers per capita affected by power outages in the U.S. for 2022? Texas was number one, but Lone Star State is not proud of being on top in this category. 

Accidents, severe weather, and utility technical issues can lead to extended power outages. Your house can be cold and dark for up to several weeks. Fortunately, you can install a permanent standby generator that will provide the electricity your family needs to stay safe and comfortable whenever utility power is lost. The following will discuss the critical considerations for a standby generator installation.

Capacity of Generator

When selecting your home’s standby generator, the prime consideration is its capacity. Units are given a rating for how many watts they can generate. A kilowatt (kW) equals a thousand watts. Thus, a 5kW generator can generate 5,000 watts of electricity. 

The number of appliances and devices in your home that require power will determine the capacity needed from the generator. Typically, portable generators generate from 2kW to 4kW. In contrast, a permanent standby generator with a total of 20kW is standard because it can power an entire home and its major appliances.

For situations where a homeowner wants to power the basics, including lighting and a refrigerator, a 5kW to 10kW generator should be adequate. Households that want also to power an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system and furnaces may require a 20kW to 22kW unit.

Types of Fuel

The four fuel types typically utilized by a permanent backup generator are diesel, gasoline, natural gas, and propane. Fuel supplies may be limited or unavailable after a natural disaster. Choosing a generator based on its fuel is an important decision.


Diesel has less volatility and excellent stability than gasoline and is an efficient fuel source. Homeowners who want more than a day’s fuel for their standby generator must install an external tank to store diesel. If you cannot access natural gas or propane, diesel is the best choice.

Part 2 will cover the other types of fuel, Electrical & Plumbing Connections,  Permits & Regulations, and Installation Location.

 Electrical Services You Can Trust

Meyer Electrical Services is an authorized Generac and KOHLER Sales & Service Dealer serving Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. We provide custom standby generator installations. We are trained and licensed to perform important factory service and maintenance regularly. Receive a free consultation today by calling (301) 941-1400.