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Selecting a Generator for Your Michigan Home

There are several options when it comes to protecting your home and family with a standby home generator system. Residential generators typically come in capacities of 7kW to 45kW and can protect from 12-16 individual circuits in your home all the way up to the whole house. Following are the 3 most common options we see people select and the considerations for each of these options.

Standby Home Generator System Options for Residential Use

There are several options when it comes to protecting your home and family with a standby home generator system. Residential generators typically come in capacities of 7kW to 45kW and can protect from 12-16 individual circuits in your home all the way up to the whole house. Following are the 3 most common options we see people select and the considerations for each of these options.

Selected Circuits Backup Generator Option

In a selected circuit option, a smaller 12kW-14kW generator is selected and is matched up with a 12-16 circuit, automatic transfer switch panel. During a power outage, the generator will power only the circuits that are selected and installed in the transfer switch panel.

The advantages of this solution are:

  • Lower initial cost
  • Lower fuel consumption
  • Existing gas meter is usually adequate (no upgrade to the meter is required)
  • The load on the generator is managed by having a limited number of circuits that are powered during the power outage
  • Sometimes a smaller footprint

Some of the disadvantages of this solution are:

  • Only selected circuits can be used during the power outage
  • Air-conditioning is typically not supported by these smaller systems
  • lighting and wall receptacle power is not available throughout the whole house

Whole House Excluding Air-Conditioning Backup Generator Option

In the whole house excluding the air-conditioning option, a larger 14kW-18kW generator is selected and is matched up with a whole house automatic transfer switch that is sized to the electrical service of the home (100amp – 200amp).

The advantages to this solution are:

  • All circuits in the home are powered during the power outage
  • The homeowner does not have to pick and choose which circuits to connect to the generator
  • All lighting and wall receptacles throughout the house is available during a power outage

Some of the disadvantages to this solution are:

  • Higher initial cost
  • Air-conditioning is not available during an outage
  • An upgrade to the gas meter is sometimes required
  • Higher fuel consumption
  • Sometimes a Larger footprint

Whole House Including Air-Conditioning Backup Generator Option

In the whole house including air-conditioning option, a larger 14kW-45kW generator is selected and is matched up with a whole house transfer switch that is sized to the electrical service of the home (100amp – 400amp).

The advantages of this solution are:

  • The home is “business as usual” during the power outage. All circuits in the home are powered
  • Air-conditioning is available during the power outage
  • All lighting and wall receptacles are available during the power outage

Some of the disadvantages to this solution are:

  • Highest initial cost
  • An upgrade to the gas meter will usually be required
  • Highest fuel consumption
  • Larger footprint
  • Concrete slab is required for units over 26Kw