Understanding the term Home Standby Generators

Understanding the term Home Standby Generators

Residential use generators supply power to homes when the electric utility supply is lost. Utility power interruptions occur because of weather related events such as high winds, ice buildup on wires, wild animal damage, motor vehicle collisions, and damage caused by a number of other acts of nature or man. Devices and systems that depend upon electric power cannot function in an outage unless a supply of emergency power can be acquired.

Permanent Installation

Standby generators will always be ready to operate, twenty-four hours a day, seven days every week. These are permanently wired to the home’s electrical system using an automatic transfer switch, and connected to the home’s natural or LP gas supply pipes. A Natural or LP gas hookup ensures the generator has a sufficient availability of fuel available and does not require frequent refueling in an extended outage.

Automatic Transfer Switch

Automatic Transfer Switches work with the standby generator’s controller. Following the generator starts and is able to accept the electrical load, the automated transfer switch disconnects the electrical system from your utility supply and connects it to the home standby generator. The transfer of power from one supply source to the other is automatic and controlled by electronic switches within the transfer switch. If the electric utility restores power, the transfer switch reconnects the utility supply and disconnects the generator.

Automatic transfer switches usually are manufactured by the generator’s manufacturer to meet the needs of the particular standby unit, given that they work directly together with the standby generator’s controller. Additionally, they provide different alternatives, such as power management, depending on the needs from the consumer.

Some transfer switches install between the utility meter as well as the main service panel to supply power to the entire panel. Others install as being a subpanel in the main service panel and just supply selected critical circuits, like pumps, refrigerators, furnaces, and medical equipment.


Standby generators are automatic, permanently installed equipment which don’t require frequent refueling with liquid fuels. They operate without operator intervention, with the exception of regular, scheduled maintenance. Unlike portable models which must be connected and started when power is needed, the standby home generator operates in a totally automatic mode, even if the homeowner is not present.

Standby power means the generator is able to operate all the time. When an outage occurs, the generator starts from a short delay, then a transfer switch moves your home onto emergency backup power. It happens quickly and without intervention, but there are still a couple of seconds when the home is without electric power. Some electronics may need an uninterrupted supply that operates off a battery until the standby generator can start and connect towards the home’s electrical system.


Installation requires building permits and the expertise of a professional electrician to setup the transfer switch and make the necessary electrical connections, plus a plumber to connect the generator for the home’s gas supply. Inspections of the prepared gravel bed or concrete slab are generally required before installation, and the finished work after installation. Adherence to National Electrical Codes, Plumbing Codes, National Fire Protection Association Codes, and native ordinances is necessary.

The location chosen for installation must be sure that exhaust gases will not enter the home and the use of carbon monoxide detectors can also be required.

Home standby generators fill in when electric utility power becomes unavailable to ensure the safety of homes, property, and families.

To find out more, go to: www.BackupHomePower.com