Our reliance on electricity has never been greater in an increasingly interconnected world. From powering our homes and keeping our appliances running to charging our devices, electricity is the lifeblood of modern living. However, power outages can strike anytime, disrupting our daily routines and leaving us in the dark—sometimes literally. This blog delves into whole-home standby generators, exploring their benefits and how they provide a reliable solution for uninterrupted power supply during outages.

Understanding Whole Home Standby Generators

Whole home standby generators are robust and permanent fixtures that automatically provide backup power to an entire house during an electrical outage. Unlike portable generators that need to be manually started and connected to individual appliances, standby generators seamlessly integrate into a home’s electrical system. They are typically installed outside the house, like a central air conditioning unit, and are connected directly to the home’s electrical panel.

Essential Components and Working Mechanism

A typical whole home standby generator consists of several vital components that work together to ensure a seamless transition to backup power:

  • Generator Unit: The heart of the system, the generator unit is responsible for producing electricity. It is often powered by natural gas, propane, or diesel fuel.
  • Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS): The ATS constantly monitors the utility power supply. When it detects an interruption, it signals the generator to start automatically and transfers the electrical load from the utility to the generator.
  • Fuel System: Whole home generators can be fueled by natural gas, propane, or diesel. The fuel choice often depends on local availability, cost, and the homeowner’s preference.
  • Control Panel: The control panel manages the generator’s functions, ensuring it starts and stops as needed. It also provides information about the generator’s status and performance.

Benefits of Whole Home Standby Generators

  • Seamless Power Supply: The most significant advantage of whole-home standby generators is their seamless transition during power outages. Since they start automatically, homeowners won’t experience any disruption, and critical systems such as refrigeration, medical equipment, and security systems can continue functioning without interruption.

  • Protection Against Data Loss: In today’s digital age, the loss of power can lead to data loss and damage to electronic devices. Whole home standby generators safeguard against this by maintaining a constant power supply, protecting sensitive electronics, and preventing data corruption.

  • Comfort and Convenience: Standby generators ensure that daily life remains comfortable and convenient, even when the power goes out. Heating and cooling systems, lighting, and kitchen appliances can continue to operate, providing a sense of normalcy during an outage.

  • Increased Home Value: Installing a whole home standby generator can enhance the resale value of a property. Potential homebuyers often see these generators as valuable additions, knowing they provide an extra layer of security and convenience.

  • Peace of Mind: One of the most significant intangible benefits of a whole home standby generator is the peace of mind it offers. Homeowners can rest easy, knowing they are protected against the uncertainties of power outages, whether caused by storms, accidents, or other unforeseen events.

Installation Considerations

While the benefits of whole-home standby generators are clear, proper installation is crucial to ensure optimal performance. Here are some key considerations:

  • Professional Installation: It is highly recommended to have a licensed and experienced professional handle installing a whole home standby generator. They can assess the home’s specific needs, determine the appropriate generator size, and ensure that the installation meets local building codes.

  • Location: The generator should be installed in a location that complies with local regulations and provides sufficient ventilation. Adequate clearance from windows, doors, and other structures is essential to ensure safe operation.

  • Fuel Source: The fuel choice (natural gas, propane, or diesel) should be based on availability, cost, and local regulations. Homeowners should consult with professionals to determine the most suitable fuel source for their circumstances.

  • Regular Maintenance: Like any mechanical system, standby generators require regular maintenance to ensure reliable operation. Homeowners should adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and address any issues promptly.

Generac: It’s like a Ford. It’s a solid product, but you better be on top of all your scheduled maintenance.  They spend a lot on marketing and are the most well-known and easiest on your budget.

Kohler: It’s like a Chevrolet.  Reliable.  Expect to pay a little more than a Generac.  Mid-grade.

Cummins:  Bulletproof, just like their motors.  Best overall product and the most expensive of the 3.  

Sizing Calculators




Extra Design Considerations

Typically, when I sell these jobs, I recommend a service-rated ATS.  This allows me to swap out the existing exterior panel for the ATS and still have extra breaker spaces in the ATS.  The non-service-rated ATS does not have spots for additional breakers.

I HIGHLY recommend installing a whole home surge suppressor before you install a generator.  They are expensive.  A $300 surge suppressor is not.

And finally….cost

These numbers are for ballpark budgeting purposes only and do not reflect the exact dollar amount of your installation.

Generator $7500

ATS $1000

Electrical installation: starts at $2500.  The main determining factor is the distance between the generator and the main panel or ATS

Liquid Propane installation:  I do not do this or provide prices for this.  Even though plumbers were deregulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, I recommend using a licensed plumber.

Plumber Recommendations

Ross Plumbing  https://www.facebook.com/leroy.ross.plumbing/

Rhea Plumbing https://www.yelp.com/biz/rhea-plumbing-llano

Clearwater Plumbing  https://drippingspringstxplumber.com/

Whole home standby generators are not just a luxury; they are a practical and valuable investment in the face of increasing uncertainties related to power outages. These generators offer various benefits beyond mere convenience, from providing a seamless power supply to protecting against data loss and increasing property value. As we continue to rely on electricity for nearly every aspect of our lives, the importance of a reliable and automatic backup power solution cannot be overstated. For homeowners seeking peace of mind and uninterrupted power during outages, a whole-home standby generator is a reliable and robust solution.