It’s not surprising that knowing the pros and cons of standby generators can help you decide which one is best for your needs. There are lots of things to consider too. For example, how much power do you need? How often will you use it? What are the tradeoffs of different types of generators and what factors are important to you? Armed with these questions, we hope that you can choose between the various models. In areas that tend to go through periods of extreme weather conditions, it is recommended to have some type of backup generator that can at least power major appliances.
Whether it’s for your home, small business or construction site generator installation, see if a standby generator is right for your needs.
What is a standby generator and how do they differ from a portable gas-powered model? Read on to learn more.
Backup power is a term that refers to the power supply from an electric generator, which is used as a secondary source of electricity for big, medium or smaller sized businesses. If you have a business that relies on the use of various electrical appliances and equipment for its daily work, then you can also buy standby generators.
What are a standby generators?
Power output and power consumption are the main things you will be looking to consider when it comes to purchasing a standby generator. It is also important that you check on the fuel usage of these devices because they do consume some amount of energy while in operation. Therefore, it is a good thing that they have ways of making use of the fuel efficiently.
In comparison with portable gas-powered generators, standby generators require less maintenance and spare parts over time and they are not as loud during operation either. They have more power conversion cycles and have the ability to run for long hours at a stretch.
Regardless of your need, standby generators function the same as portable gas-powered ones – providing you with electrical backup, and onsite power when you most need it. Whether it’s to light up the house in a pinch or run a server room for a few days during a storm, this guide will help you choose between these options.
Standby generators vs portable generators
Without going into too much technical detail, standby generators are the same as portable gas models without some of the parts. Specifically, standby models are referred to as “inverter-based” models that have been designed to produce a cleaner power output than what portable gas-powered generators can provide.
The main difference between portable gas-powered generators and standby generators is their power conversion. Portable gas-powered generators have a motor, a reduction gear, a torque converter and an inverter. The inverter in the gas model’s motor converts the direct current (DC) generated by the gasoline fuel into alternating current (AC).
The AC is then converted by the transformer to direct current (DC). This DC is then fed to your appliances through a transformer in SERO box that comes with this unit. It also has an integral circuit breaker panel and a battery.
Standby generators, on the other hand, have only the inverter and a motor. Since this inverter doesn’t involve a transformer, it is able to produce cleaner power than that provided by portable gas-powered generators. The other difference with standby generators is that they do not have any battery backup or load transfer switch (LTS) like portable gas-powered generators have.
Another difference is that when you run a portable gas-powered generator, you will see a glow in your vehicle’s instrument panel indicator. This shows that the unit is running. But with standby generators, since it doesn’t have any battery backup or load transfer switch, it doesn’t usually make a noise to show its status. This means that you have to make sure that the inverter is running before checking the status of your electric appliances.
They are also silent when running. And that means that they have to be hooked up to your utility grid in such a way that the power lines on your site are connected into a line circuit. Otherwise, the output power from your generator will be sent directly to earth ground without being converted into alternating current first.
The main advantage of standby generators is their ability to provide continuous power supply for extended periods of time during a storm or other types of emergencies. They differ from portable gas-powered generators because, as stated earlier, they just don’t have battery backup. In comparison to inverter-based standby generators, portable gas-powered models produce more pollution and require more maintenance.
How much does a standby generator cost?
The price range for standby generators usually ranges from $1,000 to $8,000. They always have a nominal capacity of 1,200 to 4,500 watts (W). A running cost will depend on how much you use your generator. The standby generators that have higher power capacities cost more than those with lower power ratios.
Although the prices vary widely, they tend to be in the same range. The best part is that you can get a standby generator at a reasonable price. There are many options available, so you just need to choose the one that fits your needs. However, before making your purchase, make sure to compare prices and features of each unit and make an informed decision.
How long do I need my standby generator?
If you want a standby generator for occasional use, then it can last for up to 10 years or more depending on how frequently you use your device. However, if you need a standby generator for continuous use, then the life expectancy will only be around 5 years.
You should also note that automatic standby generators can’t stand up to working more than 20-25 hours every day. If you are planning to use your standby generator daily and regularly, then you should consider buying one with the capability to adjust the voltage output. This way it’s able to deliver power safely and without damaging your appliances.
How much power do I need?
The number of appliances you can run is the main factor to consider when determining the generator size that you need. In general, a standby generator should be able to provide enough power for all of your electric appliances simultaneously. You also need to consider the type of equipment that you have. If they are sensitive electrical devices such as microwave ovens or air conditioners, then a standby generator will not be able to provide them with enough power.
Do I need a generator for the entire house?
Not necessarily. You can use a standby generator to power a portion of your home or business. However, if you have many electrical appliances that you want to run at once, then you will need a big generator. If your house uses power-hungry equipment such as air conditioning systems, then it’s not recommended to install a portable standby generator that has only 1,200 W capacity. It’s always recommended that you purchase a unit with 2,000 or more watts.
Portable Standby Generators vs. Standposted Generators
The portable standby generators are smaller in size compared to the standard stationary generators. The portable standby generators can be transported easily and stored in your shed or garage outside of your home. However, there are advantages and disadvantages when comparing these two types of generators. The main advantage is that they are easy to install and move around from one spot to another without any hassle.
The standby generator of portable type is not very noisy, which makes it a great option for indoor use. They also have a small footprint, which reduces the need for a big storage space. This is great if you have limited space in your garage or shed. The portable generators are perfect if you need power for your home and don’t intend to live in one place for a long time.
Portable generators are ideal for camping, tailgating or emergency situations. The one you buy will depend on how long you want it to run to supply electricity in your home or business. Portable generators are less expensive compared to their big brother, so they are excellent if you’re on a budget. However, if you need a long-term solution then it’s better to invest in the standard standby generators since they have a higher capacity and can run for longer periods of time without stopping.
Is a portable generator a cheaper alternative?
The smaller units are cheaper compared to the standard household backup generators. These units are also fairly light which makes them portable. They are perfect if you only need them for a short time, such as for camping or outdoor events. If you’re storing it in your garage or shed, a smaller unit will be ideal since they won’t take up too much space.
If you’re looking for a backup generator to run all your home appliances, you should consider investing in a larger standard one since it will have more capacities and better features. These are usually more expensive though. They can cost thousands of dollars. Do you really need that though? You should consider the features of the backup generator and how much energy it will use when running at maximum capacity. Spare yourself the extra costs that come with larger units with advanced features if you don’t really need them.
How noisy are they?
Standby generators are not very loud, but the noise level will depend on the model you choose. Here’s how to gauge the decibel output of your generator:
You should measure the sound level right above where you plan on running your generator. The sound is measured in decibels, and since this number is logarithmic, it’s important that you have a calibrated meter to measure the decibel output in order to get an accurate reading.
The best way to measure is to test it with the generator running in your garage or outside. You can also check the sound level reading through websites that will guide you on how to measure decibels with your smart phone.
Standby Generator Features
The features of a standby generator determine its price and quality. Some of the most common standby generator features are satellite ready, fuel-efficient, transfer switch ready, remote start, automatic transfer switch (ATS) and more.
- Satellite ready: With satellite technology, you can get an accurate reading of the weather up to one-hour before the actual need for power. This enables you to have electricity even during severe weather that can disrupt your gas supply.
- Infrared remote start: The infrared remote starts are remote controls that allow you to start your standby generator with just a push of a button.
- Fuel-efficient: The engines used in standby generators save more fuel than those found in gasoline generators, which makes them more efficient.
- Load transfer switch: It’s the power switch that allows a standby generator to transfer your home’s electrical load to it when the power goes out. The load transfer switch also makes it easy to transfer your home’s electrical load from the utility grid back to your main power supply.
- Remote monitor: This function allows you or any operator to monitor and control the status of your standby generator from any location. In case you need more features, then check out surge/surge protector as well as remote start.
- Lights: Most generators have a red light that flashes when the generator is turned on. This lets you know that there’s power being generated on your site without the need to turn on a lamp or use a flashlight.
- Selectable voltage: The standby generators come with adjustable voltage that allows you to fine-tune it for your needs.
Is there an automatic transfer switch?
An automatic transfer switch (ATS) is an essential function that enables your generator to automatically connect to your main power supply as well as disconnect from it when the generator is turned off. It’s basically a switch that provides an uninterrupted power supply in case of a power outage. The ATS functionality allows you to use the backup generator as if it were a line of power from your local utility company.
If you don’t have an automatic transfer switch, you will need to boos a separate circuit-breaker transfer switch. This means that your standby generator will turn itself on in cases of electrical surges or power outages.
How do I install my standby generator?
Installation of your standby generator is relatively simple. But you should always seek professional help from a licensed and experienced electrician. This way, you can be sure that everything’s up to code and that you have a reliable source of backup power. Finding an electrician is not hard since you have several options available to choose from.
You should also make sure that you have all the permit and electrical wiring permits before installing your generator.
To conclude, standby generators are an excellent solution for power outages and emergency situations. They can keep your electricity going at any given time since they are reliable power sources that also have a lot of other functions. Some standby generators have remote access, so you’ll be able to check the status of your generator even when you’re away from home.
If you live in a place that has frequent power outages or storm warnings, then standby generators are an essential part of your household needs.