Getting a generator installed soon? Here is everything you need to know to prepare prior to your appointment.
Where will the generator be located?
Each City/Township/Municipality has its own requirements for where a generator may be placed. Many do not allow generators to be placed on the side of the house. Many have minimum distances to the property line or to the neighbor’s house. All of them allow for backyard locations, so that should be your first choice. You could also call your local building department and ask them the requirements.
What if I have an HOA?
Many HOAs have tighter restrictions on generators than the local building department. We don’t work with HOAs. If you have an HOA, it will be up to you to make sure that you fulfill their requirements for a standby generator. If, after installation, the HOA does not want the generator where the city approved it, we will not accept any responsibility for moving the generator. The safest choice is to contact your HOA before a salesperson even arrives at your home. That way, he can help find a suitable location.
Is my gas meter big enough?
Even small generators use a lot of gas and our experience is that your gas meter will need to be changed. The utility generally charges a few hundred dollars for this depending on the size you need. Our salespeople have a form that will help you work with the utility. About twice a year one of our customers discovers that the gas line from the house to the street is too small and will need to be replaced along with the meter in order to accommodate a generator. These are always DTE gas customers. The cost for this starts at about $2,000, and we have seen it as high as $9,000. We understand that this could be beyond what you budgeted, and we will refund your deposit 100% if you need us to.
Will I lose power during installation?
Yes. Plan to be without power for six hours, until the installation team gives you a different time frame. They try to be quick since they don’t like working in the dark either, but each situation is different.
What about inspections?
We pull permits on all our jobs, which means that your local electrical and mechanical inspector will come behind us to make sure
everything is up to code. Keep in mind that these inspectors don’t work for us. They work for you. They will not tell us what time they will be at your home. If you call the building department, they may or may not give you some kind of window to help you plan your day. Its best to plan to be home from 8am until the last inspector shows up.
Do you keep generators in stock?
Yes. We are fortunate to be able to stock dozens of generators and transfer switches in our warehouse, and each month we reorder everything we used last month. However, demand has been very high, and Generac struggled to keep up during 2020 and 2021. Things normalized early 2022 and we hope that will continue.
What circuits should I put on my generator?
If you won’t be putting your entire home on the generator, we recommend at least the following. Refrigerator, Freezer, Garage door opener, Sump Pump, Well Pump, Furnace, Microwave. If you have a power vented or tankless water heater that would be a good choice also. Take some time to walk through the house and think about the most common things you use (TV, Internet Router, Hair Dryer, Etc.). Write them down and discuss it with your salesperson and install crew.
My air conditioner is on interruptible service. Will it work?
If you have two electric meters, you may have an interruptible air conditioner. It will not work while the generator is powering the house unless we do one of the following. 1) Remove the interruptible service and wire the air conditioner into the electric panel which will cause you to lose the discount on your electric bill or, 2) install a second transfer switch for the air conditioner and you will keep your discount.
How long does the installation take?
There are a number of factors that determine the time an installation takes. Some of these factors are out of your control, like if we need to run all the gas and electric through a crawl space or an attic. However, some factors are within your control. Before the team arrives, consider the following questions: Does the team have room to work? Are the stairs cleared? How much time will you spend talking to them? Most jobs get done in one day. Big, complicated jobs often take a second day.
What kind of maintenance does the generator require?
Six months after installation the “Break–in” oil that ships with the generator needs to be changed along with the oil filter. After that, each year or 100 hours of run time,
maintenance should be done where the oil, oil filter, air filter and spark plugs get replaced and the battery tested. Nearly two thousand of our customers hire us to do that for them each year, or you can do it yourself. Be advised, Generac may ask for maintenance records when a warranty claim is submitted.
My electric panel is recessed into the wall. Does that matter?
The cable going from your electric meter to your electric panel will need to be removed and replaced. That cannot be accomplished without cutting back the drywall. We try to do it as neatly as possible, but we don’t repair any of the drywall we have to cut out.
Do I need to be home during the installation?
We need someone over eighteen in the home. Especially near the end of the installation when we offer instruction on how the system operates. You will also want to make sure everything in your home has power while the generator is powering the house.
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