Written by Walt Meyer

The Ultimate Guide to Automatic Standby Generators: Answering Your FAQs

As more people realize the value of uninterrupted power in their homes, the demand for automatic standby generators is rising. Whether it’s to keep the lights on during a storm or ensure that your home’s critical systems continue functioning, standby generators offer peace of mind. If you’re considering installing one, you probably have questions. We’ve created this comprehensive FAQ guide to help you understand the essentials.

What is an Automatic Standby Generator?

An automatic standby generator is a backup electrical system designed to kick in when a power outage occurs. Whether you’re home or away, the generator will automatically supply power to your home’s electrical circuit breaker box. The system will also turn itself off after the power is restored, awaiting the next outage.

Can I Install the Generator Myself?

Kohler, a leading manufacturer of standby generators, offers Guardian Series systems that come prepackaged and pre-wired with comprehensive installation instructions. While it is possible to undertake more straightforward site preparation tasks, the electrical panel and fuel connections are best left to professionals. Using an authorized Kohler dealer or a licensed contractor is recommended for safety and compliance with local, state, and national electrical codes, particularly for non-prewired or larger systems.

What Happens if the Generator Overloads?

All Kohler generators are equipped with overload protection. Should an overload occur, the generator’s circuit breakers will trip, automatically disconnecting the unit from the load. All you have to do is correct the overload condition and reset the circuit breaker on the generator.

Is Maintenance Required?

Like any other machine, your generator requires periodic maintenance to operate at peak performance. This typically includes oil and filter changes. Our company offers preventative maintenance services, and you can call us at (866) 403-4752 for additional details.

How Do I Choose the Right Size?

Choosing the right generator size is crucial for efficient performance. Instead of sizing your generator based on your home’s square footage, we focus on your needs to ensure you neither overspend nor suffer from inadequate coverage. Here are some options:

  • Essential Circuit Coverage: Ranging between 8-16kW, these are the most affordable and most accessible to install. They cover just the basics, such as lighting and essential appliances.
  • Managed Whole-House Coverage: With a capacity of 16-22kW, these generators are perfect if you don’t plan on running every appliance simultaneously. Paired with a Kohler load management switch, they offer whole-house coverage by managing power allocation efficiently. Non-essential circuits are shed when the generator nears maximum capacity and restores when essential circuits are satisfied.

Considering the complexities of power management and safety regulations, investing in an automatic standby generator is a decision that demands careful thought. We hope this guide has answered your primary questions, but if you have more queries, feel free to email us at walt@meyerelectrical.com.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991 and serving Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services you can trust, including:

  • Standby Generator Installation
  • Panel Upgrades (Heavy-Ups)
  • Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations
  • Structured Cabling
  • Circuit Breaker Replacement

Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.