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Power outages can happen anytime, often when you least expect them.

Severe weather like storms, floods, and wildfires can knock out electricity across entire cities and regions. Even routine issues like equipment failure, accidents, and maintenance can cause neighborhood or building-wide blackouts.

When the lights go out, most homes and businesses are left scrambling in the dark. But with the right generator, you can keep your essential lights, appliances, and devices running.

Standby generator installed outside a home, ready to provide backup power during an outage

In this post, we’ll explore whether a generator can power your entire home or business during an outage.

What Size Generator Do You Need?

The first step is calculating what size generator you need to power your electrical load. Your load is the total wattage draw of all the items you want to run simultaneously. For a whole house backup, you’ll want to factor in:

  • Major appliances like refrigerators, freezers, furnaces, air conditioners, etc. Check the wattage ratings on each.
  • Smaller kitchen appliances like microwaves, coffee makers, etc.
  • Lights, fans, televisions, computers, and other electronics.
  • Sump pumps, security systems, and other 24/7 loads.
  • Allow extra capacity for startup power surges.

For a business, calculate the wattage for office equipment, servers, POS systems, safety lighting, HVAC, and any other essentials. A certified electrician can conduct a load calculation to recommend the right generator size. The typical home standby generator is 10,000 to 22,000 watts.

READ: Exploring Different Types of Generators: Which One Suits Your Needs

Fuel Options for Whole House Generators

The fuel source is another key consideration when choosing a generator. Common options include:

  • Gasoline – Smaller portable generators run on gas, requiring periodic refueling.
  • Propane – An abundant on-site fuel source with long shelf life. Propane generators provide 8-12 hours of runtime.
  • Natural Gas – Hooks up to existing gas lines for continuous fuel supply during extended outages.
  • Diesel – Highly efficient and long-lasting, diesel can be stored onsite. But it’s more expensive.

For whole house coverage, a propane or natural gas standby generator tends to provide the best combination of convenience, runtime, and affordability.

Automatic vs Manual Activation

Whole house standby generators are designed for automatic operation. They monitor utility voltage and within seconds of detecting an outage, they automatically power on and restore electricity to your home’s circuits. This allows critical loads to stay running seamlessly.

Portable generators require manual start up every time. And you must plug appliances directly into the generator. This makes them less ideal for large scale electrical backup.

Installing a Whole House Generator

Proper generator installation is critical. A qualified electrician will:

  • Select an outdoor location away from doors, windows, and vents.
  • Mount the generator on a concrete pad to reduce vibration and noise.
  • Connect fuel lines for natural gas or propane supply.
  • Integrate the transfer switch, which safely delivers generator power to home circuits.
  • Obtain any required permits.

Professional installation ensures your generator runs reliably when you need it most.

Maintaining Your Generator

Like any motorized equipment, generators require periodic maintenance. Follow the manufacturer’s schedule for:

  • Oil and filter changes
  • Battery replacement
  • Fuel line/tank inspections
  • Air filter replacement
  • Testing and inspection
  • Repairs by a certified technician

Proper maintenance reduces operating costs and extends the generator’s service life. Consider enrolling in a service plan with your dealer for turnkey maintenance.

Getting Repairs or Replacement Parts

Even with proper maintenance, generators can break down or degrade over time. Be prepared for potential service needs:

  • Identify and contact authorized service dealers in your area. Keep their information handy.
  • Ask about warranties, repair policies, and average turnaround time.
  • For parts, dealers and third-party suppliers offer repair and replacement components.
  • Stock up on spare maintenance parts like filters and fluids.
  • If your generator requires major repairs, renting a portable model can restore power during any downtime.

Having a plan for expedient repairs will limit disruption. A properly-sized whole house standby generator can provide reliable backup electricity to keep your home or business running smoothly during power outages. With the proper generator system, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can power through any situation. Consider a home standby generator as a smart long-term investment in your comfort, convenience and productivity.

Keep Your Home or Business Powered in Any Outage

Here at McBride Electric, we know how crucial it is to maintain power during electrical outages. We specialize in installing quality whole-house generators to keep your lights on and appliances running. Our experienced electricians can help you determine the perfect generator solution for your home or business needs.

Don’t leave your family vulnerable in the next power outage. Contact us today at 817-858-0255 if you’re in Fort Worth or 972-733-1199 if you’re in Dallas to schedule a free estimate for the whole house or commercial generator installation.

Keep your life uninterrupted with reliable backup power!

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