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Best Whole House Generator

In our modern world, a consistent electricity supply is vital for daily life. Unforeseen events like natural disasters, extreme weather, or grid failures can disrupt power, leaving us in the dark.

Whole house generators, also known as standby generators, have become essential for homeowners seeking continuous electricity during such unforeseen power outages.

In this article, we will delve into the realm of whole house generators and introduce you to some of the standout models available, ensuring your home remains powered during those critical moments.

The Significance of Whole House Generators

Whole house generators are automatic units designed to provide backup electricity during power outages. They are connected to your home’s electrical system and activate within seconds of a power failure. Several compelling reasons underscore the importance of whole house generators:

  1. Seamless Operation: Whole house generators are fully automatic. In the event of a power outage, they activate automatically, ensuring a continuous power supply without the need for manual intervention.
  2. Comprehensive Coverage: As their name suggests, whole house generators can power your entire home. This includes essential appliances, climate control systems, and electronic devices, ensuring the comfort and safety of your family during extended power interruptions.
  3. Protection Against Losses: Power disruptions can lead to various losses, including food spoilage, damage to electronic devices, and a loss of heating or cooling during extreme weather. Whole house generators shield against such losses by providing an uninterrupted power source.
  4. Enhanced Property Value: The installation of a whole house generator can increase the resale value of your home, making it an attractive feature for potential buyers.
  5. Peace of Mind: The knowledge that your home will remain powered during outages brings peace of mind. This is especially important for households with medical equipment or in situations where you need to remain sheltered during emergencies.

Leading Whole House Generator Models and Brands

Several well-regarded brands offer reliable and highly-rated whole house generator models. Here are some of the prominent names in the industry and their noteworthy models:

  1. Generac:
    • Generac is a leading name in standby generators. They offer the Guardian Series, featuring a diverse range of whole house generators with various power capacities to accommodate homes of different sizes. These generators are known for their reliability and quiet operation.
  2. Kohler:
    • Kohler manufactures premium whole house generators, with the Kohler 20RESCL being a popular model. It is lauded for its advanced control panel and clean power output.
  3. Briggs & Stratton:
    • Briggs & Stratton is known for producing efficient and durable whole house generators. The 40396 model, in particular, is appreciated for its user-friendly design.
  4. Cummins:
    • Cummins, a trusted name in power generation, offers whole house generators known for their reliability. The Cummins RS22 delivers efficient power backup for homes of various sizes.
  5. Honeywell:
    • Honeywell’s generators are recognized for their cost-effectiveness and reliability. The Honeywell 7063 is a notable model with a compact design and dependable performance.

What is the power capacity I need for my home’s specific requirements?

Determining the power capacity you need for your home’s specific requirements is a critical step when selecting a whole house generator. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how to calculate your power capacity needs:

  1. Create a List of Essential Appliances:
    • Start by listing all the essential appliances and systems in your home that you want to power during an outage. These typically include:
      • Refrigerator and freezer
      • HVAC (heating and cooling systems)
      • Lights
      • Sump pump
      • Water heater
      • Well pump (if you have a well)
      • Home security systems
      • Medical equipment (if applicable)
      • Kitchen appliances (stove, microwave, etc.)
      • Electronics and chargers
  2. Determine the Starting and Running Watts:
    • For each of these appliances and systems, find out their starting (surge) watts and running (continuous) watts. This information can often be found on the appliance’s label or in the user manual. If not, you can use a wattage calculator to estimate these values.
  3. Calculate the Total Wattage:
    • Add up the starting watts for all the appliances you plan to run simultaneously. This accounts for the initial power surge when these appliances start. Then, add up the running watts for those appliances that run continuously. This will give you the total wattage you need to power your essential items.
  4. Consider Optional Loads:
    • If you want to power non-essential items during an outage, such as a television or additional lighting, add their starting and running watts to the total. Keep in mind that adding more loads will require a larger generator.
  5. Account for Sizing Tolerance:
    • It’s a good practice to choose a generator with a capacity slightly larger than your calculated total wattage. This provides a safety margin and ensures that the generator can handle occasional power surges or new appliances you may add in the future.
  6. Consult an Electrician or Generator Professional:
    • If you are unsure about the wattage requirements or the generator sizing, consider consulting an electrician or a generator professional. They can provide expert advice and help you choose the right generator for your specific needs.

Remember that the total wattage you calculate will be the power capacity you need for your whole house generator. It’s crucial to have an accurate assessment of your requirements to ensure that your generator can reliably supply power to your essential appliances and systems during an outage.

Which fuel source is most suitable for my generator: natural gas, propane, or diesel?

The choice of fuel source for your generator depends on several factors, and each fuel type has its advantages and disadvantages. To determine which fuel source is most suitable for your generator, consider the following factors:

  1. Availability:
    • Consider the availability of the fuel source in your area. Natural gas is often supplied through pipelines and is readily available in urban areas. Propane can be stored in tanks, making it a versatile choice. Diesel fuel is widely available but may require on-site storage.
  2. Cost:
    • Compare the cost of the different fuel sources. Natural gas is typically the most cost-effective option, followed by propane. Diesel fuel can be more expensive and may fluctuate in price.
  3. Convenience:
    • Assess the convenience of the fuel source. Natural gas generators have the advantage of a continuous supply without the need for refueling. Propane generators offer both on-site storage and the convenience of delivery. Diesel generators require refueling and on-site storage.
  4. Emissions and Environmental Impact:
    • Consider the environmental impact of each fuel source. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning option, producing fewer emissions. Propane is also relatively clean. Diesel generators tend to emit more pollutants and should comply with emission regulations.
  5. Generator Type:
    • Some generators are designed to run on a specific fuel type. Ensure that the generator you choose is compatible with your preferred fuel source.
  6. Local Regulations and Codes:
    • Check local regulations and building codes regarding the use of specific fuel sources. Some areas may have restrictions on the use of diesel fuel or propane tanks.
  7. Maintenance Requirements:
    • Different fuel sources may require varying levels of maintenance. For instance, diesel generators may need more frequent maintenance due to fuel filter changes. Natural gas generators generally require less maintenance.
  8. Fuel Storage:
    • Consider where and how you will store the fuel. Propane and diesel may require on-site storage, while natural gas is supplied through pipelines.
  9. Emergency Use:
    • Think about the availability of the fuel source during emergencies. Natural gas pipelines can be vulnerable in certain disaster scenarios. Propane and diesel may be more reliable for off-grid use during emergencies.
  10. Budget:
    • Your budget may play a significant role in the fuel source selection. Consider not only the upfront costs but also ongoing fuel expenses.

What additional features and capabilities should I consider for my generator?

When selecting a whole house generator, it’s important to consider additional features and capabilities to ensure it meets your specific needs. Here are key features and capabilities to take into account:

  1. Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS): An ATS is essential for seamless power transition. It automatically detects a power outage and switches the generator on, ensuring uninterrupted power without manual intervention.
  2. Remote Monitoring and Control: Many modern generators offer remote monitoring and control capabilities, allowing you to check the generator’s status, fuel levels, and start or stop it remotely through a smartphone app or web interface.
  3. Quiet Operation: If noise is a concern, look for generators designed for quiet operation. Quiet generators produce less noise and are suitable for residential areas.
  4. Load Shedding or Load Management: Load shedding technology allows you to prioritize essential loads during an outage. This ensures that critical appliances and circuits receive power while less important ones are temporarily disconnected.
  5. Weather-Resistant Enclosure: If your generator is installed outdoors, a weather-resistant enclosure is crucial to protect it from the elements and ensure its long-term durability.
  6. Digital Control Panel: A digital control panel provides easy access to information about the generator’s status, maintenance requirements, and alerts. It allows you to monitor the system’s performance.
  7. Automatic Self-Testing: Generators with automatic self-testing conduct routine tests to ensure they are ready for action. They can automatically run diagnostic tests and alert you to any issues.
  8. Fuel Efficiency: Look for generators that offer fuel-efficient operation. Fuel-efficient generators consume less fuel during extended outages, helping you save on fuel costs.
  9. Low Oil Shutdown: A low oil shutdown feature automatically turns off the generator if the oil level drops below a safe operating threshold, preventing engine damage.
  10. Transfer Switch Options: There are two types of transfer switches: whole house and essential circuits. Consider your needs and whether you want to power your entire home or specific essential circuits during an outage.
  11. Warranty and Service Support: Check the manufacturer’s warranty and the availability of service and support. A strong warranty provides peace of mind, and reliable customer support is valuable in case of issues.
  12. Fuel Type: Some generators offer the flexibility to run on multiple fuel types, allowing you to choose the most convenient and cost-effective option for your location.
  13. Overload Protection: Overload protection features prevent damage to the generator by shutting it down if it’s asked to power too many appliances or devices simultaneously.
  14. Cold Weather Kits: If you live in a cold climate, consider a generator with a cold weather kit that ensures reliable starts in freezing temperatures.
  15. Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR): AVR technology stabilizes the generator’s output voltage, providing clean and consistent power to sensitive electronics and appliances.
  16. Exercise Mode: Exercise mode allows you to run the generator at regular intervals to keep it in optimal condition. This is particularly useful for generators that have extended periods of inactivity.

By carefully considering these features and capabilities, you can select a whole house generator that aligns with your specific requirements, local conditions, and preferences, ensuring that your home has a reliable backup power solution when needed.

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