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Backup Generator Buying Tips

July 15, 2022 | Blog

Picture the scene: It’s a beautiful midwestern summer night. You’re enjoying the sound of light rain hitting the roof as thunder rolls gently in the distance… When all of a sudden the thunder stops rolling and starts ROCKING.

Before you know it, you’re in the middle of a surprise storm and after a giant clap of thunder… you’re sitting in the dark.

So what do you do? Tough it out in the dark? Break out the flashlights? Create some ambiance with candles?

Or head to the garage and start up the backup generator?

Wait… you don’t have a backup generator?

Well as Chicago’s old home electrical experts, we know a thing or two about picking the right whole-home generator. The most important thing to know is that it’s less stressful to purchase a standby generator before you need it than to try and buy one when you do.

How To Pick A Backup Generator

A backup or standby generator is a large appliance purchase that’s often made in haste after the power has already gone out and panic mode has already set in.

A hastily made generator purchase can lead to damaging the standby generator, your home electrical circuits, and could cost you more money than you wanted to spend.

There are a few things to think about while you take your time to decide which is the correct backup generator for your home.

What You Need From A Generator

Before making a decision, you need to determine if and why you need a backup power source. More questions to ask include – Do I only need backup generator power when I’m at home, or do I need power while away during an outage? Can I operate a few lights and keep a freezer going, or make sure everything in the house comes on? Does “everything” include heating and air conditioning?

Which Standby Generator Should You Buy?

When it comes to standby generators, there are essentially three kinds to choose from, each with their own pros and cons:

Portable Backup Generators

  • Cost effective and mobile
  • 2500-8000 watts of power
  • Gasoline-powered
  • Does NOT turn on automatically
  • Requires reconnection with each power loss
  • Can’t be operated within 15 feet of the home
  • Require protection elements while it’s running

Small Size Standby Generators

  • Permanently installed unit that sits outside of your home
  • Roughly the size of an air conditioner condenser.
  • 8000-10000 watts of power
  • Does not require reconnection
  • Automatically starts 10-15 seconds

Whole Home Standby Generators

  • Permanently installed outside your home
  • Roughly the size of two air conditioner condensers put together
  • Provides backup power to an entire typical home including heat and central air
  • Wifi power outage notification

Arnold Electrical Generator Installation

Whichever whole-home standby generator you choose, it’s important to leave any hardware or transfer switch installation to a licensed electrical professional. We can’t stress this enough. We’ve seen DIY generator installation set a garage on fire after the electric company reconnected power!

So again, leave it to the professionals, like us. We’re here to help so contact us today!

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