CRACKING THE CODE ON THE MYSTERY OF AUTOMATIC HOME STANDBY GENERATORS
Only 2% of American homes are equipped with standby generators. As such, there are lots of misconceptions about these generators. And what a lot of folks don't know is that the transfer switch is equally important when you're looking to power your entire home. Don't get bogged down by the terms, it's a lot simpler than it sounds. Basically, it all comes down to what you need to power.
Whole House Generators
This is the biggest point of confusion while shopping for standby generators. Depending on the size of your residence, "whole house" is rather subjective.
For example, if you have a small house with no central A/C, a small, air-cooled 8kW standby could power your whole house.
Conversely, if you reside in a 6,000 square foot home with multiple A/C units, you'd probably need a much larger liquid cooled generator to be able to power the entire home.
We refer to large, liquid-cooled units (22kW+) as "whole house" generators. This is because, for the vast majority of homes, these generators will power the entire home. However, proper sizing of the generator needs to be calculated to make sure you don't trip the main breaker on the generator and end up with no power at all.
Circuit management is a crucial factor in powering your whole house. If you aren't concerned about powering every room in your home, you can opt for a load center, which will transfer the generator's power to specific circuits that you want are able to pick out and send power to.
If you truly want to power your whole home, and you have a generator large enough to do so, you'll have to go with a whole house switch (or a service disconnect switch). These will manage the distribution of the generator's power to all of the circuits in your home.
Load Center Switch
Generally, these generator switches are designed to send power to just the critical circuits in your home. They only have 8-16 circuits, meaning you can only restore power to 8-16 circuits in your breaker box.
If you have a larger home, you probably won't get all the lights back on. You pick the rooms that are most important. For example, the kitchen, the basement so your sump pump runs, and the garage so you can get your cars in and out, and the furnace so you will be able to still have heat.
However, many older, smaller homes only have 10 circuits, in which case, a properly-sized generator and a transfer switch with 10 or more circuits would be a whole house generator.
Whole House / Service Disconnect Switch
Whole house switches, also called "service disconnect switches" offer more versatility than load center switches. Instead of choosing circuits, you can power your entire electrical panel.
The other main difference lies in the ability to manage high-demand appliances/circuits, such as central air conditioners. Although the generator may lack the strength to start two high wattage appliances simultaneously, with proper accessories, you will be able to manage the loads as power becomes available.
Call TAG Mechanical Systems Inc. today to receive a free in home consultation on what size generator is best to suit your needs. 315-463-4455