Frequently Asked Questions
What is an automatic standby generator?
An automatic standby generator is a back-up electrical system that operates whether you are at home or away. It automatically supplies power to essential circuits of your home within seconds of a utility outage. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and awaits the next outage. It operates on natural gas or liquid propane and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit.
What will it power?
Generators supply electricity to the electrical panel circuits of your home through a built-in load center. You select the number of circuits you want to protect and match it to the appropriate generator system. Everything on that circuit will be protected. A generator also powers furnaces, air conditioners, well pumps, water heaters and other appliances that are hard wired into your electrical panel.
Why should I buy an automatic standby generator instead of a portable generator?
While portable generators do supply power, an automatic standby generator produces a higher quality of electricity. It operates automatically and runs a weekly self-test to ensure proper response to your needs. There are no extension cords to plug in and no gas tanks to fill. It operates automatically so it protects your home even when you're away. When utility power returns, the standby generator shuts itself off.
Why circuits and not watts?
Establishing wattage requirements of the appliances you want to power during an outage is difficult because those appliances can be plugged into various outlets in your home. That's why we have simplified the process. By allowing you to protect everything on chosen circuits, you no longer have to worry about individual items.
What's the difference between air-cooled and liquid-cooled?
Air-cooled units use engines we design and manufacture specifically for our smaller generators. Volume production helps us to keep cost down, making our air-cooled generators the most affordable for our customers. They cover essential circuits and back-up power needs in most residential applications. Liquid-cooled units use automotive engines for increased horsepower. This makes them ideal for larger requirements such as whole-house power coverage, larger homes and commercial applications.
Do they have to be maintained?
Just like your car's engine, generators need periodic tune-ups, oil and filter changes. Many customers rely on preventative maintenance kits to satisfy routine maintenance requirements. Refer to your owner's manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules. Kits can be purchased here at A.P. Electric & Generators.
What is the advantage of an aluminum enclosure?
Aluminum is corrosion resistant, so it prolongs the life and look of the generator, particularly in salt air communities.
What is Whisper-Test? (GUARDIAN QuietSouce models only)
Whisper-Test is a feature that reduces noise by up to 50% during the generator's weekly self-test cycle. That makes it as quiet as a car idling in your driveway. The generator starts up and operates at a reduced speed, lowering sound output by as much as 12 decibels for units that normally run at higher speeds under load. This allows for near-silent operation in test mode and satisfies all known sound ordinances.
How do I select a generator that's right for me?
The most accurate way is to have an electrician apply an amp meter to the circuits or appliances that will operate with emergency backup power. Measurements should be taken as the appliance starts up. That's because start up requires the greatest amount of power.
To eliminate the hassle of this process, Generac allows you to simply match your system to the existing circuits in your electrical panel. With our 8, 10, 12 or 16 circuit, pre-wired systems, we take the guesswork out of sizing. For customers concerned with air conditioning, make sure the transfer switch has an appropriate 240V circuit breaker and that the generator's maximum surge Amps exceed the required starting Amps (LRA) shown on the A/C data plate.
For liquid-cooled generator models, a licensed electrician must perform a site survey to determine the size and voltage of the unit to meet your backup power needs.
How long does it take to install an automatic standby generator?
Generac air-cooled generator models, which come equipped with a comprehensive installation manual, can take as little as four hours to install. They come pre-mounted on a composite pad to further simplify installation. Liquid-cooled generators normally require up to 14 hours to install. Because of their additional weight, liquid-cooled units must be installed on a stronger mounting surface such as a concrete slab.
Who should install the generator?
For safety reasons and to be sure of adherence to local, state and national codes Generac recommends the generator be installed by an Authorized Dealer or licensed contractor. However, the air-cooled systems are prepackaged, pre-wired and come with comprehensive installation instructions to enable a competent Do It Yourself-er to participate in the installation process.
If I choose to install the air-cooled generator system what do I need to buy?
- Starting battery - Automotive type Group 26 negative ground. Refer to the Owner's Manual for additional details
- Double pole circuit breaker (Refer to the Owner's Manual for the required breaker size.)
- Grounding rod with grounding strap
- Padlock (To lock external connection box)
- Crushed stone or pea gravel (approximately 10-12 cubic feet)
- Black poly-film or other vegetation blocking fabric (5-1/2' x 5')
- Silicone caulk
- Pipe sealant (suitable for gaseous fuel connections)
- Fasteners (to mount external connection box and automatic transfer switch with built-in emergency load center)
What tools should I have available for installation?
Drill, drill bits, hole saw (type and length will be determined by the materials you will be drilling and cutting), open-end wrenches or adjustable wrenches, socket wrenches or nut drivers, standard and Phillips screwdrivers, level, sledgehammer, channel-lock pliers, spade shovel, pencil and safety goggles.
How much fuel does an automatic standby generator use?
|Natural Gas (cu ft/hr)
|LP (cu ft/hr)
Please refer to the individual model's specification sheet for exact figures.
The generator that I've chosen has a 100-amp automatic transfer switch. What if I have 200-amp service?
Emergency circuits should always be isolated by the emergency load center. An isolated sub-panel helps to prevent overload situations.
Where can I purchase parts?
Parts can be purchased through A.P. Electric at www.apelectric.com or by calling (847) 516-8882. Part numbers are located in the owner's manual.
What is the cost of a service/maintenance contract?
Costs are determined by the installing dealer and are based upon service levels. Cost will also vary based on hourly labor rates in your local area.
What type of oil is recommended?
15W-40 to 5W-40 Synthetic is recommended for all liquid-cooled units. The oil should be a SAE rated high detergent oil that meets API Service Class SF requirements for gasoline engines.
Propane tanks are usually rated by pounds. Is there a conversion that can be applied to the fuel consumption numbers?
Yes. For general conversion, propane weighs 4.24 pounds per gallon. 1 lb. = 8.58 cu. ft. 1 gallon = 36.39 cu. ft.
Where do I go to have warranty repairs performed?
Any Authorized GUARDIAN Service Center can perform warranty service. To locate a dealer near you, please refer to our Dealer Locator section of the Web site or call our Automated Dealer Locator at 1-800-333-1322. The automated dealer locator is available 24/7/365. Our Authorized Service Centers provide parts, service and information on Generac generator equipment, regardless of where it was purchased.
Where is my generator made?
Generac generators and Kohler generators are made in the United States. Both manufactured in Wisconsin.