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How To Select A Standby Generator

If you are considering a backup generator purchase, there are important sizing and safety code requirements that you need to know to insure a safe and adequate standby generator installation. Sizing the generator takes into account the total kilowatt (kW) requirements of the electrical equipment to be served. Undersizing the unit can leave you frustrated, while oversizing is just a waste of money. Pay particular attention to anything with an electric motor. Starting a motor requires three to seven times the current used during normal operation. Allowing for this startup or inrush of current when sizing the generator is crucial.

Electrical connections to the wiring system of the home, farm, or business require a double-throw transfer switch. This is not a do-it-yourself project! Involve an experienced electrical contractor to insure
a safe, reliable installation that meets all local and national codes. Another safety consideration is where the generator is placed. Unless you vent the generator fumes to the outside, never locate it in a building, garage or basement.

Additional information is available in Sizing and Selecting Your Standby Generator.  This 20-page guide assists homeowners, farmers and small business owners with the facts necessary to correctly size and safely install a standby generator system. The names, locations and Web sites of 32 major generator suppliers are included to assist readers with the selection process. (To view this booklet in our shopping cart, click here.

Remember also to keep your standby generator "exercised" by running it at least every three months.  To prevent foul-up of carburetor components, change the fuel every 6 months or use a fuel additive.  This will help ensure that the generator starts the day you need it.
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Rural Electricity Resource Council (formerly National Food and Energy Council)
Wilmington, Ohio