Are Home Standby Generators the Next Must-Have Appliance?
There was a time in the mid-1970s when the first video cassette recorders (VCRs) started showing up in people's homes. By 1989, it was unusual not to find a VCR in living rooms across the world.
In 1971, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 1 percent of U.S. households owned a microwave oven. By 1986, that figure had risen to 25 percent, and today microwaves are ubiquitous in kitchens the world over.
Until the mid-1980s, personal computers were a rarity in homes. By 2016, according to the American Community Survey, 89 percent of U.S. households had a PC.
Now, a new appliance is poised to become just as common as video recording devices, microwaves, and PCs, and it's the home standby generator.
A recent series of disasters
In February 2021, a ferocious cold front rolled across the state of Texas, causing power outages that affected more than 4.5 million homes and businesses. At least 210 people died as a result of the outage, and some experts believe that number could be as high as 700.
Without electricity, sump and septic pumps didn't run, homes were without heat, causing water pipes to freeze, and food spoiled in refrigerators and freezers.
In August 2021, Hurricane Ida laid waste to a large swath of the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Over a million people were left without electricity for air conditioning and food storage amid stifling temperatures.
Also in August 2021, the state of Michigan suffered heavy rains and flooding which left almost 1 million homes and businesses without power for up to several days.
The summer of 2021 also brought heat waves to the West Coast, and California's electricity and gas provider, Pacific Gas and Electric, warned its customers that rolling blackouts were a possibility.
Add to that the near-constant threat that wildfires pose to the electricity grid, and it's easy to see why residents were more than a little nervous. There is, however, an appliance that can supply electricity to an entire house for weeks at a time if need be, it's called a home standby generator.
Differences between portable and standby generators
Portable generators have been used for decades by construction contractors, campers, and football game tailgaters. These small units can be noisy, producing up to 90 decibels, and they must be set up a safe distance away to avoid carbon monoxide fumes. Portable generators must be filled with gasoline, and you must then run heavy-duty extension cords from the generator to whatever you want to power.
Standby generators are large devices that sit outside a home and are permanently connected to both a natural gas or propane line, and a house's electrical system. They have an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), which detects when there is a disruption to power and the generator automatically starts. Once power is restored, the ATS automatically shuts off the generator.
Home standby generators are not cheap, typically costing between $2,000 and $6,000, or more. And, their installation must be done by a professional since they hook both into a home's natural gas or propane line and its electrical system.
To power an entire house, you’ll need a generator that provides at least 8,000 watts. This will power all the lights, heating/cooling systems, and household appliances in a typical mid-sized home. Home standby generators come in various wattages, with the most powerful offering up to 20,000 watts of power.
Standby generators are large, weighing up to 600 pounds (272 kg), and they must be placed on a flat surface, such as gravel or concrete, near a home's gas or propane line. In areas that are prone to flooding, standby generators are not recommended since they, along with your home, will be swamped by floodwaters.
We're going to take a look at the five top-selling home backup generators in the U.S.
Today, one company dominates the U.S. domestic home generator market — Generac. Its generators account for more than 70 percent of all standby generators sold in America.
Based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Generac has been around for a long time, 62 years to be exact, but since the start of 2019, the company's stock has risen an astounding 800 percent.
Since June 2020 alone, Generac's profits have doubled, and according to an article by Bloomberg, sales of Generac's home backup generators nearly doubled during the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.
Much of this increase can be traced to more people working from home during the COVID pandemic, and thus, the need for reliable electricity.
Generac offers some of the most powerful air-cooled generators on the market, with its 22-Kilowatt 70432 Guardian and the Generac 24kW being the most popular. Generac's generators supply what's called "utility grade power," meaning that the electricity created by the generator is the same quality as that provided by electric utilities. This is vitally important for sensitive electronics such as laptops, and modern appliances.
Generac generators range in power from 7.5 kilowatts to 24 kilowatts, and they feature a built-in monitoring system that allows owners to view their generator's operation from a smartphone, tablet, or a laptop from anywhere in the world.
Briggs and Stratton
Another standby home generator manufacturer is engine maker Briggs and Stratton, which is also based in Wisconsin. They offer generators in five power capacities, ranging from 8 kilowatts all the way up to 20 kilowatts. Like Generac, Briggs and Stratton also promises "quality, clean power [to] safely power electronics and appliances," and they also offer different automatic transfer switch configurations, which determine how the home backup generator comes online once the electrical power goes out.
Briggs and Stratton offers an industry-leading warranty that covers parts, labor, and travel for a full five years, while some other makers only warranty their parts for that time period.
Famed engine maker Cummins offers standby generators that are designed specifically to operate in colder temperatures. Out of the box, their standard generators operate at down to 0 degrees F (-18 C), and with additional accessories, they can operate far below that.
Cummins offers three power capacities, 13 kilowatts, 17 kilowatts, and 20 kilowatts. The 20-kilowatt unit includes an automatic transfer switch (ATS). Cummins claims their standby generators operate at just 65 dB(A) so they aren't likely to disturb neighbors.
Champion Power Equipment provides home standby generators primarily for the U.S. and Canadian markets. Champion generators feature an intelligent load management system that divides a home into prioritized zones, and a two-battery, 24-volt starting system that allows starts in temperatures as low as -22 degrees F (-30 C).
Champion generators feature sturdy steel enclosures and mounting pads which the company claims will stand up to hurricanes. Champion also offers a 10-year limited warranty.
Kohler Power Systems has been providing standby power generators to rural farms and homes since 1920. Its most popular model, the 20-kilowatt 20RESCL, includes a 200-amp automatic transfer switch.
Like their competitors, Kohler promises "high-quality power with advanced voltage and frequency regulation plus low harmonic distortion." The company also touts its "excellent starting capability for heavy-duty motors in air conditioners, well pumps, and other high-voltage appliances."
Kohler corrosion-proof enclosures are designed for harsh environments and coastal installations, and temperatures down to -30 degrees F (-34 C).
Lower wattage options
If the price of home standby generators is a little rich for your blood, you can choose a generator that produces less wattage. Mid-sized inverters provide up to 3,500 watts, but they can only power 110-volt items, and they won't provide enough power for things like well pumps, or heating and cooling units.
Mid-sized inverters weigh around 150 pounds (68 kg) and cost between $1,000 and $1,700. Fueled with gasoline, a mid-sized inverter can keep your lights and refrigerator running.
The next step up is a portable generator, but that name is misleading, since most units weigh around 300 pounds (136 kg). They provide up to 7,500 watts of power and typically cost between $700 and $2,800. A portable generator will provide enough electricity to run a well pump and most of the electricity needs of a typical household. They can even be wired directly into your home's electrical breaker panel, but this must be done by a professional and may not be cheap.
Portable generators should be protected if they are placed where snow or rain can get to them.
Large inverters provide up to 7,500 watts of power and weigh between 250 and 350 pounds. They cost between $1,400 and $4,000 and they will provide enough electricity to power lights, a refrigerator, and a small air conditioner. Large inverters run on gasoline and not natural gas or propane.
Return on investment
According to Remodeling Magazine’s recent Cost Vs. Value Report, a $12,860 standby generator increases a home's resale value by $6,940. That means a standby generator provides a 54 percent return on investment.
But, a standby generator may provide other value. It makes a property more attractive to buyers, and in some cases, a standby generator can lower insurance costs for a home.
The bottom line is that standby generators offer peace of mind in a world with increasing natural disasters and electricity disruptions, and that makes them the next must-have appliance.
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Consider Generac 22kW for your whole house generator. The 22kW will be enough to run what you need so you won’t have to pick and choose appliances.
Having a whole house generator will provide peace of mind. It’s especially important if you live in an area prone to power outages and extended blackouts or rely on medical devices. You’ll be able to run your HVAC, electronics, and keep the food in your refrigerator and freezer from perishing.
Generac has a line of 22kW home backup generators that can link to your mobile device.
All Generac 22kW generators have their patented True Power Technology that provides high-quality power with minimal harmonic distortion so that they operate smoothly and quietly.
The two models we will cover today are 70422 and 70432. These are also called Generac 7042 and Generac 7043. Which is right for you? We explain their benefits and pros and cons below.
Generac 22kW Generator
With their G-Force Engines, they can handle extensive usage. They are pressure-lubricated and built with a purpose, so the generator will deliver reliable power with lower maintenance needs.
The Evolution Controller has an LCD to check the battery life and see if your generator requires maintenance. It also has simple button controls.
The generator’s enclosure is fully aluminum with a RhinoCoat finish for corrosion resistance and durability in harsh weather.
The most modern feature of a Generac 22kW generator is the Mobile Link that connects it to your mobile device via WiFi.
You can monitor your generator on the go on any WiFi-accessing device. The Mobile Link app readily assists with all of your generator troubles.
Generac 22kW generators have the lowest cost out of all air-cooled household standby generators. While they work best for backup usage, they can power your whole house.
These generators run quietly and are more fuel-efficient than many of their contemporaries. They produce 67 decibels of noise and run a Quiet-Test to self-test for several minutes with a reduced RPM.
The company offers a 5-year limited warranty on their automatic standby generators. Generac assembles them in the United States as well, though they do use some foreign parts. You can contact the customer support team at any time of day for any issues you encounter.
The great news is Generac generators are reliable. How Long Will a Generac Generator Last?
Both Model 70422 and 70432 have these features, but they do differ from each other in several ways. We will compare the two options below and inform you of the best one for your needs.
Generac 70422 22kW Guardian Generator
The Generac 70422 22kW Guardian Generator can deliver excellent-quality power smoothly and quietly. The 70422 is also called 7042.
Specs and Features
- 48 x 25 x 29 inches
- 476 pounds
- 120 Volts
- A maximum supply of 22,000 LP Watts and 19,500 NG Watts
- 67 decibels
- <5% power harmonic distortion
- A flexible fuel line connector
The G-Force engine is one of the best available through Generac as it is durable, stable, and pressure-lubricated. The 7042 does not need frequent maintenance, and it has a substantial maximum wattage.
Generac designs their generators with quietness in mind, and the 7042 has True Power Technology for minimal harmonic distortion. It has a Quiet-Test Self-Test Mode to monitor the performance silently, and it never reaches above 67 decibels, making it ideal for quiet neighborhoods.
The display on the Generac Evolution Controller works in multiple languages. You can connect the generator to your mobile phone to monitor it remotely.
The aluminum surface with a powder-coat finish makes it weatherproof so that you can store it outside. This air-cooled generator has a 5-year limited warranty, and you can access 24/7/365 customer support.
The generator underwent multiple tests. It was prototype tested, system torsional tested, had a NEMA MG1-22 evaluation, and had its motor starting ability tested.
The generator has domestic and foreign parts, but it is constructed in the United States.
The Generac 70422 can supply 22,000 Watts for liquefied petroleum (LP) gas and 19,500 Watts for natural gas (NG). You can select how often you test it: once a week, biweekly, or monthly.
If you maintain it correctly, it can power your home for days on end. Keep in mind that you will need to change the oil and filters regularly for peak performance.
Pros and Cons
The Generac 7042 has its advantages and disadvantages, which we summarized below.
Pros of Generac 22kW 7042:
- Its self-maintenance includes circulating the oil, dispersing condensation, and recharging the starter battery
- One of the quietest generators available due to its sound-attenuated enclosure, minimized harmonic distortion, and Quiet-Test Self-Test Mode
- The WiFi capability adds convenience
- It has a high maximum wattage
- The LCD accommodates multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese
- Runs at a high capacity on both liquefied petroleum and natural gas
- The 5-year warranty is a maximum: some buyers only got a 3-year one.
- While always available, the customer service team often provides “robotic” answers
- Does not come with an automatic transfer switch
- You may need to purchase WiFi capabilities separately, depending on the vendor
Generac 70432 22kW Guardian Generator
The updated model 70432 (also called 7043) improves upon some of the 7042’s shortcomings, but it is fairly similar to the previous design.
Specs and Features
- 48 x 25 x 29 inches
- 515 pounds
- 120 Volts
- A maximum supply of 22,000 LP Watts and 19,500 NG Watts
- 67 decibels
- <5% power harmonic distortion
- A flexible fuel line connector
The Generac 70432 22kW Guardian Generator can reliably supply you electricity in an outage. It is on the larger end with one of the lowest costs per kilowatt MSRP ratings. The G-Force engine is durable and requires minimal upkeep, and it provides up to 22,000 LP Watts or 19,5000 NG Watts. Both Generac 22kW models run on natural and liquefied petroleum gas.
The self-test becomes quiet by reducing the RPM of the generator, which keeps it fuel-efficient. Other quiet components include the True Power Technology that reduces harmonic distortion and allows sensitive devices to handle the high power output.
This air-cooled standby generator has a Mobile Link Remote Monitor so that you can keep tabs on your generator’s performance on the go. It also has a display to simplify operation. All of this technology is wrapped in a powder-coated aluminum finishing.
Like with the 70422, the 70432 provides the Mobile Link as an upgrade that not all units have.
One benefit that stands out compared to its predecessor is the presence of a 200-Amp, NEMA 3R Automatic Transfer Switch. You can upgrade to a different transfer switch if you need, but you do not need one initially to operate the generator.
Generac has their 5-year limited warranty and 24/7/365 customer support for this generator as well. It is American-made, though some parts are imported.
The Generac 70423 22kW Generator delivers 22,000 Watts for LP gas and 19,500 Watts for NG, as the name would suggest. It tests itself on a schedule that you can control.
You can select how often you test it: once a week, biweekly, or monthly.
Unfortunately, most users found that it works best in short-term outages. Those who found success long-term noted that the installation process was challenging and that some professionals struggle to wire the unit correctly. You may need to hire multiple generator installers to get the job done.
Pros and Cons
The Generac 70432 22kW Guardian Generator has its benefits and shortcomings.
Pros of Generac 22kW 7043:
- It performs self-maintenance tasks during its scheduled Quiet-Test Self-Tests
- It suits quiet neighborhoods well as it produces minimal noise due
- Some units come with convenient WiFi capabilities so that you can monitor your generator anywhere
- It has a high maximum wattage to power larger homes
- The Evolution Controller features multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese
- Runs with both liquefied petroleum and natural gas
- Since it was released more recently, you are more likely to find this model and its replacement parts available
- May cost more than the 7042
- Slightly heavier and more difficult to install
- Not all units come with the Mobile Link WiFi connectivity
Generac 70422 vs 70432
With this much capacity, you won’t need to decide which devices to power and what to do without.
If this size seems too large for your needs, consider what size generator do I need.
Which Generac 22kW Should You Buy?
Both of these Generac 22kW generators have much of the same features and functionality. They are both air-cooled generators that can power a mid-to-large-sized home.
However, they do have a few differences.
The 70422 model does not come with an automatic transfer switch, so you will need to purchase one separately. If you are not careful, you could purchase an incompatible option.
The transfer switch provided with the 70432 has a similar aluminum enclosure to the external casing to retain the same durability. Buying one from a different brand does not ensure compatibility.
On the other hand, many buyers of the 70432 model had installation issues. Its complex design requires a professional installer, or else it will not run longer than a few hours. Once you wire everything correctly, it should run smoothly. This model is also heavier than the previous one, which can further convolute the installation.
Overall, there are not many differences between these models.
The newer one is likely to have better support from the manufacturer, but the older model often costs less. Make sure to check if the particular option you choose has WiFi capabilities. Sometimes Generac revokes the Mobile Link option only to reinstate it a few months later. Also, check the sizing of the generator to determine if it can fit your property and fulfill your needs.
The Generac 22kW is a solid generator option if you are looking for some backup power. It can effectively supply electricity to your home in an outage as long as you hire a professional to install it.
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22kW/200A Generac® Guardian Series Home Standby Generator
Mobile Link™ Remote Monitoring FREE with every Guardian Series Home standby generator Allows you to monitor the status of your generator from anywhere in the world using a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Easily access information, such as the current operating status and maintenance alerts. Connect your account to your authorized service dealer for fast, friendly and proactive service. With Mobile Link, you are taken care of before the next power outage.
Up to whole house protection with the 200-amp, NEMA 3R (aluminum outdoor enclosure) smart switch.
5 Year Limited Warranty for automatic standby generators.
True Power™ Technology delivers best-in-class power quality with less than 5 percent total harmonic distortion for the clean, smooth operation of sensitive electronics and appliances.
Generac generators and engines are engineered and built in the USA.
Generac’s G-Force Engine is a purpose-built, pressure-lubricated engine capable of handling the rigors of generator use, resulting in power that’s more reliable and requires less routine maintenance than any competitive engine.
24/7/365 Customer Support Team standing by all day, every day from Generac’s headquarters in Wisconsin to answer any questions you might have.
The RhinoCoat™ powder-coated finish helps make corrosion-resistant aluminum perfect for all weather conditions.
Generac’s Evolution™ Controller features a multilingual LCD display that allows users to monitor battery status and track maintenance intervals to ensure your generator is always in top operating condition.
|Dimensions||48 × 25 × 29 in|
- Mobile Link Wi-Fi Remote Monitoring. It allows you to monitor the status of your generator from anywhere in the world using a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Easily access information, such as the current operating status and maintenance alerts. Connect your account to your authorized service dealer for fast, friendly and proactive service. With Mobile Link™, you are taken care of before the next power outage.
- Included with the Generac model 70432 22kW is the 200A Service Rated Transfer Switch. The NEMA 3R rated switch allows it to be mounted indoors or outdoors for ultimate flexibility during the installation!
- Generac’s brand new lineup of automatic home standby generators feature the latest in technology and ease-of-install features!
- Aluminum all-weather enclosure
- Direct-To-Dirt composite pad. Complex lattice design prevents settling or sinking of the generator system.
- Integral sediment trap prevents particles and moisture from entering the fuel regulator and engine, prolonging engine life.
- True Power technology delivers best-in-class power quality with less than 5% total harmonic distortion for the clean, smooth operation of your sensitive electronics and appliances.
- Generac’s G-Force Engine is a purpose-built, pressure-lubricated engine capable of handling the rigors of generator use, resulting in power that’s more reliable and requires less routine maintenance than any competitive engine.
- The Evolution controller features a multilingual, two-line LCD text display with color-coded, backlit buttons.
- Tool-less fuel conversion allows you to switch between natural gas and LP fuel in the field in a few seconds, without the need for any tools.
Standby generator 70432 home generac
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Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with Wi-Fi and Transfer Switch, Aluminum
As the #1 selling home standby generator Brand, Generac Guardian series generators provide the automatic backup power you need to protect your home & family during a power outage. Now coming with free mobile link, allowing you to Monitor the status of your generator on a phone, tablet or computer from anywhere in the world. Connected to your existing LP or natural gas fuel supply, it starts within S of sensing power loss - automatically - & runs for as long as necessary until utility power returns. Choose from just enough power to cover essential circuits or whole house coverage. Generac Guardian series offers benefits that few competitors can match. Engineered & built in the U.S.A., the new lineup of home standby generators are engineered to save you money on installation while offering the same reliability & peace of mind you get from all Generac home standby generators. Features that simplify the process for our installers include removable door panels, a base pad that requires minimal ground preparation & more efficient wiring techniques that save time on installation. Innovative engine design & rigorous testing are at the heart of generic's success in providing the most reliable generators possible. Generacâs g-force engine is purpose-build, capable of handling the rigors of generator use, resulting in power that is more reliable & requires less maintenance than any competitive engine. All backed by 24/7/365 customer support & a nationwide dealer network of more than 5, 000 strong, the best in the market.
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