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  • Writer's pictureAdam H. Cooke

Home Standby Generators are the Next Must-Have Appliance? I

There are many good reasons why standby generators are becoming more popular in households.

In the middle of the 1970s, the first video cassette recorders were introduced to homes. It was not common to see a VCR in a living room anywhere in the world by 1989.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1971, only 1% of U.S. households had a microwave oven. This figure was 25 percent by 1986. Today, microwaves are common in all kitchens around the globe.

Personal computers were rare until the mid-1980s. According to the American Community Survey in 2016, 89 percent of U.S. households owned a computer.

A new appliance, the home standby generator, is on track to be as popular as microwaves and video recorders.

Recent disasters

A ferocious cold storm swept across Texas in February 2021. It caused power outages that affected over 4.5 million homes, businesses, and other facilities. experts estimate that at least 210 people were killed in the outage.

Without electricity, sump pumps and septic pump didn't work, heat was not available in homes, which caused water pipes to freeze and food to spoil in fridges and freezers.

In August 2021 Hurricane Ida decimated large areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. In the midst of oppressive temperatures, more than a million people were without power for cooling and food storage.

In August 2021, heavy rains and flooding left nearly 1 million Michigan homes and businesses without power.

In addition to heat waves hitting the West Coast in summer 2021, Pacific Gas and Electric warned customers about rolling blackouts.

It's easy for residents to be nervous when you consider the constant threat wildfires pose on the electricity grid. A home standby generator is an appliance that supplies electricity to entire houses for several weeks at a stretch.

There are differences between portable and standing generators

Construction contractors, campers, as well as football game tailgaters have used portable generators for decades. These tiny generators can produce noises up to 90 decibels and must be placed at a safe distance to avoid breathing carbon monoxide fumes. You must fill portable generators with gasoline and then connect the extension cords to any power source you choose.

Standing generators are large, permanent devices that are placed outside of a home. They are connected to both the natural gas or propane lines and to the house's electric system. The generators have an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), that detects when power is interrupted and automatically turns on the generator. The ATS shuts down the generator automatically once power is restored.

The average home standby generator costs between $2,000 to $6,000 and can be quite expensive. Because they are wired into the home's natural gas line or propane line, and then hooked up to its electrical system, they must be installed by professionals.

A generator with at least 8,000 watts is required to power an entire home. A generator that provides at least 8,000 watts of power will be sufficient to run all lights, heating/cooling systems, as well as household appliances, in a typical home. There are many wattages available for home standby generators, with the most powerful offering as high as 20,000 watts.

The standby generators can be large and weigh up to 600 pounds (272kg). They must be placed on a level surface such as concrete or gravel near the gas or propane lines. Standby generators should not be used in areas where there is a high chance of flooding. They will flood your home and cause damage to your home.

We will be taking a look at five of the most popular home backup generators in America.


Generac is the dominant company in the U.S. home generator market. Generac generators account to more than 70% of all American standby generators.

Generac, located in Waukesha (Wisconsin), has been around since 62 years. However, Generac's stock price has increased by an astonishing 800 percent since 2019.

Generac's profits are up by more than 50% since June 2020. According to a Bloomberg article , Generac's home-backup generator sales nearly doubled in the second quarter of 2019 compared to last year.

This increase can be attributed to the increased number of people working at home during the COVID pandemic and the consequent need for reliable electricity.

Generac has some of the strongest air-cooled generators available on the market. The Generac 24-kW and 22-Kilowatt 70432 Guard are the most sought-after. Generac generators produce what is known as "utility-grade power," which means that they provide electricity of the same quality that electric utilities. This is crucial for modern appliances and sensitive electronics like laptops.

Generac generators come in a range of power, from 7.5 kilowatts up to 24 kilowatts. They also have a built in monitoring system that allows owners from any part of the world to view the generator's operation using a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Briggs & Stratton

Briggs and Stratton standby generator

Briggs and Stratton is another reliable home generator manufacturer, also based in Wisconsin. Generators are available in five power capacities, from 8 kilowatts to 20 kilowatts.

Briggs and Stratton, like Generac, also offers "quality, clean power [to] safely charge electronics and appliances." They also offer different configurations of automatic transfer switches, which control how the generator's power is restored after an outage.

Briggs and Stratton's industry-leading warranty covers parts, labor and travel for a full 5 years. Other manufacturers only offer a limited warranty for parts.


Cummins standby generator

Cummins, the world-famous engine manufacturer, offers standby generators specifically designed to work in colder conditions. Their standard generators can be used at temperatures as low as 0°F (-18 C) and, with accessories, can be operated much lower.

Cummins has three power capacities: 13 kilowatts (17 kilowatts) and 20 kilowatts (20 kilowatts). An automatic transfer switch (ATS) is included in the 20-kilowatt unit. Cummins claims that their standby generators run at 65 dB(A), so they won't disturb neighbors.


Champion standby generator

Champion Power Equipment sells home standby generators, mainly for the U.S. market and Canada. The intelligent load management system of Champion generators divides a home into priority zones. There is also a 24-volt, two-battery starting system that can be used in cold temperatures.

Champion generators are made of sturdy steel and have mounting pads that can withstand hurricanes. Champion generators come with a 10-year limited warranty.


Kohler standby generator

Since 1920, Kohler Power Systems has provided standby generators for rural homes and farms. The 20-kilowatt 20RESCL is its most popular model. It includes a 200-amp transfer switch.

Kohler, like its competitors, promises "high-quality power with advanced frequency and voltage regulation plus low harmonic distortion." Kohler also boasts an "excellent starting ability for heavy-duty motors in high-voltage appliances such as air conditioners and well pumps."

Kohler corrosion-proof enclosures can withstand harsh environments and coastal installations. They can withstand temperatures as low as -30°F (-34 C).

You can choose lower wattage options

You can opt for a generator with a lower wattage if the cost of home-standby generators is too high. Although they provide 3,500 watts for 110-volt items, mid-sized inverters can't power heating or cooling units.

Mid-sized inverters are approximately 150 pounds (68kg) and cost between 1,000 and 1,700. A mid-sized inverter, which can be powered by gasoline, will keep your refrigerator and lights on.

A portable generator is the next level up, although that name is misleading as most units weigh in at around 300 pounds (136kg). These generators can produce up to 7,500 watts and cost anywhere from $700 to $2,800. A portable generator can provide enough power to power a well pump or most household electrical needs. You can wire them directly to your home's electrical panel. However, this will require a professional.

Protect portable generators from rain and snow.

Large inverters can produce up to 7,500 watts and are between 250 and 350 lbs. They are priced between $1,400 to $4,000 and provide enough electricity for lights, refrigerators, small air conditioners, and other appliances. The large inverters are powered by gasoline, not natural gas or propane.

Return on investment

Remodeling Magazine's most recent Cost Vs. Valuation Report shows that a standby generator costing $12,860 can increase a home's value by $6,940. A standby generator offers a 54 percent return.

A standby generator can also be of value. A standby generator makes a property more appealing to buyers and can sometimes lower the insurance cost of a home.

Standby generators are the best option for ensuring safety in an era of increasing electricity disruptions and natural disasters.

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