Common Mistakes Homeowners Make Before Buying A Generator

Before Buying A GeneratorWhen you call a serviceman to come out to your home for a repair, what does he look like? Does he dress appropriately with a uniform that has his company name and logo on it? Does he smell? Is he prepared to answer your questions? Does he speak clearly?

As a homeowner, you should expect all these things.

If a generator service technician comes out to your home to sell you a generator, he should ask you some questions. What appliances in your home would you like to run during a utility power outage? How will you power this standby generator, with propane or natural gas?

What is the biggest appliance in your home? Many homeowners will reply, ‘refrigerator.’ A refrigerator may be your biggest appliance physically but not electrically. Remember, you called that service technician to come out to your house to sell you a standby generator. Be prepared. Do some homework. Who referred you to this technician? A neighbor? A friend? Did you go to your neighbor’s or friend’s house to see the work this technician performed? Word of mouth is the best reference a generator service technician can get. But if you don’t know what a generator is or what it does, how can you ask the right questions?

Before Buying A Generator

The technician should be professional and be willing to answer your questions.

Be prepared to know what you want from a generator installation. Are you anticipating doing a partial of your house or are you anticipating supplying your whole house? Are you anticipating supplying partial because of money or are you anticipating supplying your whole house because money is not a problem?

Sometimes, the technician will have to dig questions from a customer so that he can get the proper answers. Most technicians already have an idea of what the homeowner needs. But the comments the homeowner makes will reveal a lot about their needs. The conversation might go something like this:  Well, I want all lights and all receptacles, and the refrigerator. And I want everything to work and the air conditioner too.

In other words, this homeowner wants 100% of his values.  He wants 100% of everything to work. If you have a limited amount of money that you can spend, we have to see where your expenditures are equal to the value of what you want to do. In other words, if you are capable of running 100% of the value for the monies, that’s fine. But if not, then we have to allow a management system to occur. And if the management system is too expensive to install then we have to understand what’s the steps in which we can accommodate your needs.

The technician can’t accommodate people’s needs unless they tell him what they want. During a power outage, do you want to use your refrigerator? Yes. You want to use your water well? Yes. You want to run the central air conditioner? Yea. Do you want to use all the lights in every room of your house? Yea, I want all the lights. Do you want to use your oven? Yea. Do you want to use your cooktop? Yea. You need to know what you want. And you need to tell the technician what is important to you during an outage.

Think Before Buying A Generator

Here are some questions to think about before buying a generator. During a power outage, is it really necessary that you have an electric dryer? Yes or no. Some people say yes! Absolutely! Some people say no, I can’t do without a dryer. Is it really necessary that your swimming pool be operating during an outage? Some people say yes! I must have my pool operating. Some people say no, I don’t really need the pool. Is it really necessary that you have your Jacuzzi tub working during a power outage? Some people say yes! I must have my Jacuzzi tub during an outage. Some people say, no, I don’t need my Jacuzzi tub during an outage. I don’t need to run it. Is it necessary to have your oven during a power outage? Some people say yes! I need my oven. I bake all the time and I need access to an oven during a power outage. Some people say I don’t need anything but a cooktop to run. Knowing the answers to these questions shows the technician that you are prioritizing what you are going to use. It makes sense of what you have and what you use.

Your hot water heater can be considered within the load like that of the air condition system. You want the essentials, like lights, central air conditioning, and water heater. Do you want electric heat? During the summer in the south, electric heat is not necessary. But some homeowners in the winter time may freak out saying, I want electric heat. If not, I’m going to die.

There are common mistakes homeowners make before buying a generator. Whether you call a technician for a generator or an electrician for electric work within your home, be prepared to provide information so he can accommodate your needs.



Common Mistakes Homeowners Make Before Buying A Generator — 5 Comments

  1. My wife and I have been considering buying a generator for our home. We like the idea of having backup power in case something goes wrong. I didn’t realize you could power a generator through both propane and natural gas, I thought propane was the only option. I will have to look into natural gas generators a little more.

    • Robert on said:

      Natural gas is more available when an outage occurs. You wouldn’t need to call your local propane company to come out when you’re in the middle of an outage. And depending upon ‘why’ you’re out (maybe a hurricane or ice storm), they can’t come out.

      With regular maintenance – which all generators need – your generator will last a lot longer.

  2. A friend of mine has been thinking about getting a generator for his house, and they wanted to make sure that they were getting the right one. I really like that you say to make sure that you know what you want to use in the event of a power outage. It would be nice to know that your generator will have those capabilities, and that you won’t be without power.

    • Robert on said:

      Sizing a generator is very important for the load. You need someone to do a correct evaluation for your sizing.

  3. My wife is constantly worried about us having power outages and I’m trying to make her feel more comfortable with everything going on. I liked that you had mentioned in your article that it can be important to understand what is necessary during a power outage and what could cause problems. We’ll have to start seeing if there is anything that could be affected by an outage and if we can find something big, we’ll have to look into getting a generator.

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