Generator FAQ’s

1) What size generator do I need for my home?

Every home owner’s requirement is different. Your generator will be sized based on the electrical load it will be carrying. The size of your house does not matter unless we are sizing for whole house transfer, nor does the size electrical service feeding your home. It all comes down to what you want to run during an outage. The only real answer is to have Home Power Systems provide a complimentary site survey to recommend a proper solution to fit your specific requirements.

2) How much does it cost to install a generator?

See Home Power Systems What It Costs page to answer this question. We are the only company that lists real final costs to properly install your generator. The posted prices represent turn-key installed pricing including a two-year maintenance contract. When you receive competitive pricing, be sure you compare the same scope of work – and always get it in writing!

3) How loud is the generator?

The air-cooled generators are all about 66db’s at 20 feet. What does this mean? It means you can have a regular conversation between two people standing next to a running air cooled generator. Remember, Generac has been manufacturing generators for 60 years; they are designed for residential neighborhoods.

4) Do I need to have my gas meter upgraded?

MAYBE!  As part of your initial site survey, your Project Manager will complete a Gas Inventory Report.  Once the model of your present gas meter is recorded, your Project Manager will take an inventory of all of the gas-fueled appliances. In most cases, if a gas meter upgrade is required by your local gas utility it is a simple process at a minimal cost to the homeowner.

5) Do I need a building permit?

Most likely.  As part of a turn-key install, Home Power Systems will coordinate with your local building department to determine how local building code is interpreted in your jurisdiction.  In many cases, we have already completed a number of installations in your town or city and are already familiar with what your Building Inspector requires. We will also secure all needed permits, HOA approvals and attend variance meetings on your behalf if needed – truly everything is included in your quote from start to finish.  

5) How much service does a generator need once it is installed?

A commitment must be made to properly maintain your generator to ensure reliability and a long service life. This is not an air-conditioning unit or furnace that can go years without service, you are generating electricity! Our recommendation is to have your generator serviced once per year unless you have additional needs such as medical equipment.

6) How long will my new generator last?

The average life expectancy of a standby generator is around 15 years of operation under normal emergency standby conditions. Just like a car, as a machine ages, it may require maintenance towards the end of its lifespan. Keep in mind that the air cooled units are not intended to provide continuous power (24 hours a day, 365 days a year), however, we can design a solution for your off-grid or prime power application in conjunction with your existing solar PV array and battery bank – call for details.

7) How much does it cost a month to run the generator when it runs for 10 minutes a week?

Depending on the price of natural gas, it shouldn’t cost more than $4 or $5 per month to run the unit in exercise mode. During a power outage, under 50% load expect to pay around $20-$30/day for gas usage. A lot cheaper than a hotel room or spoiled food!

9) Why am I getting so many diverse answers on what is needed to install a generator?

It’s called a “spectrum of competence”. Most “generator guys” are deficient in experience, training, and commitment to the industry. They are looking for the sale and install only. As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. This is true for the generator industry as well. If you are looking for the cheapest price, please do not call Home Power Systems. If you are looking for the best value for the money, long-term commitment certified trained technicians and the peace of mind that your generator will start during the most important time for you and your family, HPS is the only authorized dealer for you.

10) Do you have generators and parts in stock?

Yes, Home Power Systems is one of the largest stocking dealers in the Northeast. We do keep stock of most generators and transfer switches. As for part availability, there is no waiting if your generator needs to be repaired – we stock parts at both our Rochester and Syracuse facilities and on each service vehicle. This means if there is an issue with your generator, we can make the repair and there is no lead time for ordering the part you need because we already have it in stock.

12) What fuel supply do I need to run one of your generators?

Generac and Kohler and home standby generators can be fueled by either Natural Gas or Propane vapor. Portable generators are designed to be fueled by gasoline only.

15) Can you install the generator for me?

Yes, if you are in the Upstate and Central New York area we can perform turn-key installation services. Click here for our installation territory.  If you are outside this area, please go to http://www.generac.com/dealer-locator.

16) Who will be completing the work?

At Home Power Systems, you are dealing with ONE company.  You are working with a team that strictly focuses on only standby power generation. From the initial site survey and design of your standby solution to the review process by our experienced staff, to the work completed the day of the installation, Home Power Systems has the unique ability to provide all aspects of your generator installation from start to finish. In the event that you are a propane customer, because code regulations state that only licensed LP vendors can install propane regulators and set tanks, we will coordinate with your local provider and manage their scope of work on-site.

16) How big and how heavy are these generators?

Most air-cooled residential generators are around 350-400lbs.

17) Does my generator come with a battery?

No automatic home standby generators ship with a battery. Home Power Systems recommends a Group 26 battery for both Generac and Kohler air-cooled standby generators. This is just one of the items included with a turn-key installation.

20) Do I have to pay Sales Tax on my installation?

Because a standby generator is a capital improvement, there is no sales tax charged to the customer.  In the State of New York, a property owner who hires a contractor to perform work that qualifies as a capital improvement will be furnished with a Form ST-124Certificate of Capital Improvement.