Home Backup FAQs
What is an automatic backup generator?
An automatic backup generator is a back up electrical system that operates whether you are home or away. Within seconds of an outage, it automatically supplies power directly to your home’s electrical circuit breaker box. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage. It operates on natural gas or liquid propane gas and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit. See a "How It Works" video
for more information.
Who is Generac?
Since 1959, Generac has been designing and manufacturing backup power generators for residential, commercial and industrial applications. We have grown to be the world’s largest provider of residential backup generators, selling five times as many generators as all of our competitors combined. Generac’s broad product line is available through the industry’s largest network of independent generator dealers, retailers and wholesalers. To learn more, visit their About Us
page or connect with them on Facebook
, and Google+
What is the difference between an automatic air-cooled generator and an automatic liquid-cooled generator?
The engines! Air-cooled generators come with engines that use fans to force air across the engine for cooling, while liquid-cooled generators use enclosed radiator systems for cooling, similar to an automobile. Generally, liquid-cooled engines are used on larger kW generators due to the larger engines required for the higher power output.
How does the Generac OHVI® engine compare to air cooled engines used in other brands of backup generators?
Unlike other engines, used in backup power generation, Generac OHVI engines are made specifically for generators. They are engineered to run for the long periods of time required during a severe power outage or on a job site, utilizing the same type of pressurized oil lubrication used to give automobile engines long and trouble-free lives.
What’s the advantage of an aluminum enclosure?
In addition to its sturdy galvanneal steel enclosure, Generac is one of the few companies to offer premium aluminum enclosures for its residential backup generators. Aluminum enclosures are naturally rust and corrosion resistant. For salt air or high humidity conditions, aluminum is highly recommended to ensure decades of worry free service.
Can an automatic backup generator replace utility service?
No...the generator fuel costs would be much more expensive than buying power from the utility company since their cost to produce electricity is divided among thousands of customers. Our automatic generators are produced for use as backup to utility power specifically and should not be used as primary power. Please refer to the warranty policy for additional information. You can find a copy of the warranty on their Product Support page
How do I correctly size a generator for my home?
The most logical way to determine your needs is to envision your home without power. Some outages may be short in duration, while others could last for days or weeks. What would your family miss during an outage? With some basic information you can determine an estimated size by using their Generator Sizing Calculator
The very best way to understand your options and work within your budget is to schedule a free in-home assessment
. During your consultation you will receive the personalized attention and detailed evaluation you need to find a solution that works for your need.
With the broadest product line available, essential circuit coverage starts with the economically priced Generac CorePower™ Series. Other systems are available to cover virtually any application:
Essential Circuit Coverage – Generac takes the guesswork out of sizing by offering prepackaged Guardian Series generator systems. The generator is paired with a transfer switch containing a predetermined number of circuits based on the generator’s kW power rating. Each circuit is directly connected to a matched circuit on the home’s main circuit breaker panel, providing electricity to that specific appliance or area of the home.
Managed Whole House Coverage – You can get more coverage with less generator, up to whole house coverage, by pairing a smaller generator with one of Generac’s Nexus™ load shedding switch options. This creates a managed power solution where non-essential circuits are shed when the generator approaches maximum capacity. They are cycled back on when essential circuits no longer require power, so all circuits receive power at different times.
Complete Whole House Coverage – Easily cover every circuit in your home by pairing one of Generac’s larger kW units and the proper transfer switch to provide full coverage. No circuit is ever left uncovered, so every appliance is available every minute.
Can I install the generator myself?
As an option, Generac offers the Guardian Series systems prepackaged and pre-wired with comprehensive installation instructions. You could perform the simpler site preparation steps and have a professional make the electrical panel and fuel connections, or you could complete the entire installation yourself. However, for safety reasons and to ensure adherence to all local, state and national electrical codes, particularly for non pre-wired or larger systems, Generac recommends you use an authorized Generac dealer
or licensed contractor.
Do the generators have to be maintained?
Yes, simple maintenance is required. All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Preventative maintenance kits are available and many Generac dealers offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules. You can find a digital copy of your owner's manual here.
What type of oil should I use?
An SAE rated high detergent oil that meets API Service Class SF requirements for gasoline engines, similar to your car. Refer to your owner’s manual for details.
What happens if the generator gets overloaded?
Generac generators are equipped with overload protection. In the rare event of an overload, the generator’s circuit breaker will trip, disconnecting the unit from the load. Simply correct the overload and reset the breaker in the generator. For more information, please consult your owner's manual or Generac
I no longer have my Owner’s Manual, how can I get another copy?
If I have a problem with my generator where do I go for help?
Portable Generator FAQs
Where is the engine made?
The engines used on the Generac XP and XG Series of portables are manufactured at our Generac Power Systems, Inc. factory in Whitewater, WI. Generac engines are industrial grade engines designed to provide the ultra-quiet, longer-lasting performance required of portable generators. They also run 30-50 degrees cooler, are 5% more fuel-efficient and reduce oil consumption by 25%.
What is the difference between rated watts and maximum (surge) watts?
Rated watts describe the amount of power the portable generator can produce continuously. Maximum wattage is the power that the generator can produce for short periods of time. Motor starting is a good example of maximum wattage requirements.
Where do I go to have warranty repairs performed?
Any Authorized Generac dealer can perform warranty service. To locate a dealer near you, please refer to our Dealer Locator
section on this Web site or call our Automated Dealer Locator at 1-800-333-1322
, 24/7/365. Our Authorized Service Centers provide parts, service and information on Generac equipment, regardless of where it was purchased. Authorized Service Centers are staffed with trained technicians certified in supporting all aspects of the Generac portable generator line.
Where can I find a GENERAC dealer in the U.S. or Canada?
I can’t locate my original owner’s manual. How can I get another copy?
For our customers’ convenience, we now offer technical information, diagnostic repair, installation and owner’s manuals online. Please refer to the Manuals section on this Web site for this information.
Where can I purchase parts?
Parts can be purchased through any Authorized Generac Dealer. See our Dealer Locator to find a dealer near you. You can buy parts online
or by calling (877) 500-7499
. Part numbers are located in the owner’s manual.
Can the generator be used during inclement weather?
Generators can be used during a wide variety of weather temperatures, but should be protected from the elements when not in use to prevent shorting and rusting. NEVER run a generator indoors.
Can I vent the exhaust out of an enclosed area?
No. Never run the generator in the home or an enclosed area. Portable generators are designed to run outside where there is plenty of ventilation.
Should the fuel be drained when storing the portable generator for more than 30 days?
Yes. It is highly recommended that you drain the fuel from the tank and run the carburetor dry. OHVI engines meet EPA and CARB regulations and are less tolerant of stale fuel.
Does the portable generator need to be grounded?
Yes. For safety, the generator must be properly grounded. If it’s not grounded, you run the risk of electrocution. We strongly recommend that you check and adhere to all applicable federal, state and local regulations relating to grounding.
How often should I perform routine maintenance?
The maintenance schedule for your portable generator is in the owner’s manual and some models are equipped with built-in maintenance reminders on the control panel.
What type of gasoline is recommended?
Use clean, fresh unleaded gasoline with a minimum 85 octane rating.
What type of oil is recommended? How often should it be changed?
Above 40°F, use SAE 30. Below 40°F and down to 10°F, use 10W-30. Below 10°F, use synthetic 5W-30. Oil should be changed after the first 8 hours of operation and every 200 hours of run time thereafter.