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Whole House Generators – Are they Truly Worth the Investment?

Internet, well pumps, sump pumps, fridges, air conditioners, heaters – I don’t need to keep adding to the list to explain the importance of electricity. Our lives are almost completely powered by electricity, and without it, we are very likely to come to a halt. With impending drastic weather conditions (hello, climate change) and extreme power outages (we’re looking at you, Texas), it’s almost become a necessity to invest in a home standby generator.

Many a times, we are asked a common question: Is a whole house generator a good investment? Well, the short answer to this is an obvious yes! If you keep reading, you’ll find a detailed answer on how whole house generators are actually worth the money.

First, let’s start off with the basics.

What is a Whole House Generator?

Home standby generators, also known as standby backup generators, are permanently installed and ready to power up in times of power outages. Situated outside, house generators run on natural gas, diesel or liquid propane.

Why Go for a House Generator When You Can Get a Portable One?

House generators are different from portable generators. Portable generators are smaller and seemingly cheaper. However, their advantages stop right there. When choosing between the two, it’s always better to go for the house generators, and we can back this statement with the following perks:

  1. Convenience: Imagine this: It’s the middle of the night and you’re fast asleep. Suddenly, the power goes out.

    With a portable generator, you’re going to get out of bed, drag it to a power supply, check for fuel, and then turn it on. A house generator, on the other hand, automatically turns on when you need it. Which one do you think is more convenient?
  2. Cost-efficient fueling: If your house has a natural gas supply, you can sit back and relax since your generator essentially has an unlimited supply of fuel. Not only does that make it convenient, but also cost-efficient. Portable generators usually operate on petrol or diesel, making them unsafe and costly.
  3. Greater power supply: A backup generator has the capability to cater to the electricity supply for the whole house; a portable generator cannot, especially for a longer period of time. As the name suggests, a whole house generator has the power to have the whole house up and running during a power outage.
  4. Safety: Portable generators require plugging in and out, making them more prone to causing electrical fires and shocks. Standby backup generators are hard wired and have an automatic transfer switch, requiring minimal interference.

    Tip: Regardless of whether your generator is portable or standby, always ensure it is used only in outdoor spaces that are well-ventilated.
  5. Increased re-sale value: Long-term planning is always a wise choice. Investing in a home generator will increase your home’s value, as buyers are interested in homes that offer a pre-installed backup power system.

Simply put, whole house generators are cost-efficient, better value for money and a lot safer.

Types of House Generators

So now that we’ve established why whole house generators are a worthy investment, we can go into more detail about the type of house generators you can find.

Frankly, generators produce a huge deal of heat when they operate. A generator needs to be continuously cooled to avoid overheating. There are two ways to do that: air cooling systems and liquid cooling systems (the names are quite self-explanatory, you’ll understand in a second).

Air cooled generators are powered by engines that use fans to induce air to cool the engine. Liquid cooled generators use a radiator system to generate cooling. Air-cooling systems are usually installed in portable generators or smaller standby generators – in technical terms, generators with a rating of less than 24kW. Liquid cooling systems, on the other hand, are used for generators that are over 24kW. This is a generator rule of thumb but there are exceptions, especially with diesel generators.

Now that you know the nitty-gritties of whole house generators and are ready to make the move, there are two questions that might pop up – what size to opt for and how much would it actually cost you? (You know we’d never leave you hanging.)

How Big of a Generator is Needed to Power Up a Whole House?

Deciding on the generator’s size that is suitable for your house will require a little research. Round up a list of all electronic appliances you want to use on your generator, add up their wattage or amperage (usually on a data plate at the back of the appliance) to determine your generator’s size. This method gets you in the ballpark, but a true determination should be determined by an electrician, or generator certified sales professional. There are sizing tools, load calculations, and amp meters that can be used to determine a more exact estimate of electrical usage. Generally, when determining a size people assume everything running at once, but we know that rarely happens.

On an average, you will need at least a 15kW generator to power a whole house.

What is the Average Cost Required for a Whole House Generator?

Air-cooled generators usually start pricing at $2,500, and liquid-cooled generators at $9,000, depending on their size. As explained above, you’d need a generator of at least 15kW to power an entire house, and the average cost to have one of those installed is around $7,000 – $9,000 depending on the ease or difficulty of the job.

If you live in Delaware and find these aspects to be a bit too complicated, you can sit back and leave everything to us. Whether it’s deciding on the right size and type of generator, proper installation or maintenance, All American Electric is skilled and well-equipped to cater to all your generator needs. Don’t just take our word for it – check out what our happy customers are saying!

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