Home Generators | Efficient AC, Electric & Plumbing

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Whole Home Generators

Most property owners with a flair for independence, or at least convenience, have considered buying a generator as backup to their primary power, the electric utility provider. In general, our local electric providers in the Austin area are reliable; however, the unforeseen does happen, and with it can come power interruptions. There are many options for generators, each with its own profile. The process of selecting an electric generator can be broken down into a simple math problem with two parts.

Part 1 – The Goal (Kilowatts – KW)
What do you want to power? Generally, the farther down the list means more KW and a greater investment.

  • Do you want to power only lights, small devices and appliances?
  • Do you want to add some HVAC into the mix, maybe one unit?
  • Do you want to power the backup heat in your heat pump, if so equipped?
  • Do you want to power everything for maximum convenience?

Part 2 – The Cost
What are your options for powering  your electric generator? Again, the farther down the list, the greater the investment.

  • Freestanding/portable generator, where you pour the fuel?
  • Natural gas, hard piped?
  • Propane, hard piped?
  • Supplement with solar panels?

There are other considerations, such as space, noise and maintenance. A few thoughts on brands and capacities: Generac, Kohler, Champion and Honda are some of the most commonly used whole home generator brands, and each have its sweet spot. For example:

  • Generac has a model in the 20/22KW range that is still air cooled, thus it has potential to cover the whole home at an attractive price.
  • Honda models are typically expensive but quiet.
  • For higher loads, water-cooled models are more durable; however, they are much more expensive and require more maintenance.

Finally, a fully integrated whole home system is not a typical do-it-yourself job. In addition to safety concerns, keep in mind that many expensive devices are connected to your home’s electrical system. Some thought should be given to added surge protection in the appropriate places as part of the installation.

With an educated choice and a great installer, a whole home generator can be a worthwhile addition to your property and your peace of mind.

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