You want to install a standby generator at your home, but you still have several questions about the process or the operation of a generator. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about generators, along with some helpful answers.
The cost of a standby generator depends on the size of the unit. A smaller unit, such as an 8-kilowatt hour model, will usually cost much less than an 80-kilowatt hour or 125-kilowatt hour model. Often, the price of the generator does not include the cost of installation. Another thing to consider when evaluating the cost of a generator is the cost to operate it. Larger, higher-powered generators will typically use more fuel than smaller units. To see how much a standby generator system will cost for your home, please complete our quick contact form to request your free consultation and quote.
A standby generator should not be too far away from your home, nor should it be too close to the house. Usually, generators should be at least 5 feet from any entrance or opening to the house. A generator also needs to be at least 5 feet away from flammable materials. In most cases, there are also code requirements that determine how far a generator can be from a propane tank. If you’re completing a standby generator replacement or installation with SMO Energy, we will consult with you about the perfect placement of your generator to ensure optimal performance and compliance will all local regulations.
Getting the placement of a generator right can be challenging. Ideally, the generator will be located in an area where any winds will blow exhaust away from your home’s windows and doors. The noise produced by the generator can be an issue in some cases. For that reason, you probably do not want to put your generator directly under a bedroom window or under a living room window. You might also want to place your generator as far away from your neighbors’ homes as possible. SMO Energy’s generator installation team will help you find the perfect spot to place your standby generator.
A well-maintained standby generator should not cause a power surge. If you do notice signs of power surges, such as lights that flicker or appliances that run unevenly, those signs can indicate that there is something wrong with the generator itself. An older generator is more likely to surge compared to a newer model. Surges are also more likely if the older model was not properly maintained. Other issues that can contribute to power surges include using the wrong type of fuel in the generator or worn out parts and components in the generator.
Water and electricity should not mix, so it is essential not to expose the inner workings of your generator to moisture or rain. However, standby generators are housed in waterproof, weather-resistant enclosures and are meant to be installed outdoors. You can usually use your standby generator when it is raining. Portable generators are a different story. They should not be used during wet or rainy conditions as they do not have the exterior protection that standby units have.
Since generators are meant to provide back-up or temporary power, they usually are not designed to run for long periods, such as weeks. That is particularly true of air-cooled generators, which use air pulled from the atmosphere to keep the engine and internal components from overheating. Many portable generators are air-cooled. Smaller standby generators, such as those under 22-kilowatt hours, can also be air-cooled.
A general recommendation is to check on your generator every eight to 24 hours while it is operating. If you are not sure how long your generator should run, it is a good idea to consult the owner’s manual or to speak to an energy consultant from SMO Energy.
A standby generator that is designed to keep your entire home operational during a power outage can usually run continuously for days or in extreme cases, even weeks. You might need to inspect your generator from time to time while it is running to confirm that its oil levels are adequate and that the filter does not need replacement.
One factor that determines how long your generator will run is the amount of fuel available. If your generator is connected to a natural gas line, fuel should be readily and continually available, unless there is an issue with the line itself. How long a generator connected to a propane gas tank can operate depends on how much propane is in the tank or the size of the tank itself.
Both a standby and a portable generator will provide power when none is otherwise available. The two types of generator vary considerably in terms of price, size and operation. A standby generator is usually designed to power on when the electrical supply to your home is cut. Once your usual power supply returns, the generator automatically powers down. A portable generator requires manual operation. You will need to turn it on yourself if your home loses power.
While standby generators become a part of your home after installation, you can move a portable generator around. Many models are on wheels and can be used to provide electrical power when outdoors, such as during a camping trip or at a job site.
Portable generators typically use gasoline for fuel, while a standby generator is likely to run on either natural gas or propane. Portable generators usually have a much lower price compared to a standby generator, but they do not provide power for as long as a standby generator can.
Choosing the oil for your generator is a bit like choosing the oil for your car. You want to use the type of oil recommended by the generator’s manual. It is not a good idea to swap out the oil recommended with another type. Kohler generators use 5W-30 full-synthetic oil. The manufacturer notes that a synthetic blend can be used in its generators, but it strongly recommends using full-synthetic oil for the best results.
On days when you need to use the generator, it is important to check the oil. If you have to use your generator for several days in a row, you will want to have a technician come out and change the oil and the filter after about a week of use.
Although SMO Energy does not offer service agreements for generators, we do install Kohler generators. Every Kohler generator we install comes with a five-year/2,000-hours warranty, allowing you to enjoy years of service from your generator. If your generator is powered by propane gas, SMO Energy offers dependable propane delivery in Southern Maryland, Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County. We will deliver propane to your home on a schedule that works for you. Our free monthly payment plan option helps you fit the cost of fueling your home into your budget.
Kohler has recognized SMO Energy as a Gold Sales & Service Dealership. Our team of technicians are highly-trained and certified to install and service Kohler standby generators in Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland.
Kohler standby generators offer ultimate dependability, durability, and performance. Each Kohler generator comes with an unmatched five-year/2,000-hour warranty, giving you years of reliable service.
We provide FREE in-home energy consultations to evaluate your current system and help you choose the best standby generator system for your home.
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