Electrical Generator install Repair
Written by Walt Meyer

How to Select a Home Standby Generator

Parts of the country regularly experience power outages caused by natural disasters like floods, blizzards, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Increasingly, people are seriously considering the installation of a home standby generator because losing electricity can be dangerous and costly. Standby generators, also known as permanent generators, are installed by licensed electricians, and they can provide all needed electrical power automatically during outages.


Installed outside, a standby generator interfaces with a home’s electrical system via the transfer switch. During power outages, the transfer switch disconnects the home from the grid and turns on the generator, which is usually powered by natural gas or propane from the home supply. Within seconds, the home’s electrical system begins running again. After utility power is restored, the standby generator turns off, and the home reconnects to the grid. The transfer switch is critical because it prevents electricity generated by the generator from back feeding to utility lines and harming anyone working on them.

Correct Size

The number of watts it can produce determines the rating of a generator. Small portables can produce about 1,000 watts. In contrast, standby generators are rated from 6,000 watts to 22,000+ watts. Since 1,000 watts equals one kilowatt (kW), manufacturers will call a 20,000-watt generator a 20kW unit. Their websites often provide calculators to help consumers determine the proper generator size needed by their homes. A licensed electrician can also provide assistance in this task.

Professional Installation

Installation will be significant in cost and effort. A 20-22kW standby generator will cost $8,000 to $12,000. A building permit will be required before it can be installed on an approved gravel surface or concrete 5 feet away from any house opening. A transfer switch installation will be needed, and setbacks from the property line must be followed. A direct hookup to a natural gas line will add expense, but it ensures a dependable power source. Cables buried underground will run from the generator to the home’s electrical panel.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Meyer Electrical Services is a Certified Generac Generator Dealer serving Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. We provide custom Generac installations and are trained and licensed to perform the regularly required important factory service and maintenance for your generator.

If you already have a Generac Standby Generator, ask Walt Meyer about adding a Mobile Link. This application will let you view important details about your generator from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Receive a free consultation regarding Generac Standby Generators today by calling (301) 941-1400.