Questions for whole-house generators

Do I have to push a button to turn on the generator?

Most whole-house generators come equipped with an automatic transfer switch. It monitors the electricity coming into your house from the grid, and when wires stop sending power to your house, the generator turns on automatically.

What do I have to do to make the generator work?

Once the whole-house generator is installed, often there is nothing for the homeowner to do except schedule maintenance appointments. Many whole-house generators require yearly maintenance or maintenance after 100 hours of operation. This involves changing the oil and that may be done by a technician.

Does the whole-house generator automatically turn itself off?

Yes. The transfer switch senses the power returning from the grid and shuts itself down to await the next power outage.

How do I know if a whole-house generator is working?

Many whole-house generators run for several minutes once a week, and while doing so also run a self-diagnostic test that lets the customer know it’s ready for use when needed.

How long will a whole-house generator run?

In this area most whole-house generator run on propane. How long it runs will depend on the size of the system and the supply of fuel. With a full 500-gallon supply of propane, most whole-house generators should run for more than a week.

How long will a whole-house generator last?

If the generator is properly maintained it should last for more than 20 years if operated only during emergency hours. Whole-house generators are not meant to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Can I install a whole-house generator myself?

While it’s legal in some local municipalities for a homeowner to install a whole-house generator, most manufacturers recommend that it be done by a professional installer.


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