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Standby Generator Buying Guide

January 8, 2021

Every year, a tornado rolls through Arkansas and knocks the power out of your home. You gather up candles and fall over your furniture for days, asking yourself why you haven’t bought a standby generator yet. We know that buying a standby generator is no small purchase. You want to be certain that you are buying a product that you can get your money’s worth from. Northside Power is here to help you get the most bang for your buck.

Standby generators are a simple solution to protect your home when power outages strike. Standby generators can run for long periods of time with the use of natural gas or propane fueling it. When the power goes out, you can still keep going. But how do you choose the right one for your home?

What Size is Right For You?

Standby generators come in all shapes and sizes based on what they are being used for. Their power ratings are based on their strength, meaning how many circuits can it withstand. So if your breaker box has 8 different areas that it needs to power up, your generator will need to be at least 8-kilowatts with a 10-circuit transfer switch. The circuits on the generator will sync up to the circuits on your breaker box. Some things your generator may need to be able to power are

  1. Your refrigerator
  2. Your heating system
  3. The entire electrical system in the bathroom
  4. Your laptop or computer system in your office
  5. Lights, tv, and cable system in your living room

It is important to know what you need your standby generator to power. A few things to keep in mind whenever choosing the size of your generator are

Complete Whole-House Coverage

This is for those who need the entire house to be powered on in case of an emergency, not just a few appliances.

Managed Whole-House Coverage

This is a good option for just a few appliances. An 11-kilowatt generator will power on the necessities throughout your home.

Essential Circuit Coverage

This is for the homeowner who is only concerned about very specific areas of their home being powered on. For example, if you only need the air conditioning to be turned on in case of a power outage in the middle of Arkansas summer, this is a good option for you.

If you are unsure of what size generator is a right fit for your home, let the experts at Northside Power walk you through your options. You can also utilize this generator sizing calculator.

Air Cooled Vs. Liquid Cooled Generators

What’s the difference in air cooled generators and liquid cooled generators? The simple answer is that air cooled generators are mostly used in situations where you don’t need a ton of power. Think, a backup generator during storms for your family home. 

Liquid cooled generators are used for large buildings, such as hospitals and nursing homes. If you are the owner of an industrial building or business, you want to go with a liquid cooled generator. If your home is larger than the average, you would want this type of generator as well to make sure that it has the power to cool or heat your home in case of an emergency.

Read more about air cooled and liquid cooled generators in our blog here.

Take into Consideration Your Transfer Switch

What is just as important as the size of your generator? Your transfer switch.

Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS)

A generator with an automatic transfer switch is going to power on as soon as a power outage happens. The same goes for when the power comes back on. Your ATS will sense whenever the power is on and will shut off the generator.  That means you have nothing you have to keep up with to make sure your house continues to run smoothly.

Make sure that your electric panel amperage matches how many amps your switch has. For example, if your home breaker runs on 200-amps, your switch needs to do the same. You can check this on your breaker box, or save yourself the guesswork and let a Northside technician do it for you. 

Now that you’ve walked through your buying guide for your standby generator, you can make your purchase without second guessing your choice. Make sure to get in front of the next tornado that is rolling through your neighborhood so you aren’t stumbling around the dark, wishing you had already purchased one. Northside Power is here to give you peace of mind. Contact us today at (501) 315-7213 or fill out our form here to purchase your standby generator.