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What are the Top Features in Whole-House Generators?

Top Features in Whole-House GeneratorsAllied Electric Logo Top Features in Whole-House Generators

Power outages can be very disruptive to our daily lives, especially when they last for extended periods. This is where a whole-house generator comes in handy. It can provide backup power to your entire home during a blackout, ensuring that you still have access to essential appliances and devices.

However, not all whole-house generators are created equal. To get the best one for your home, there are certain features that you should look for. Let’s take a look at the top features to consider when purchasing a whole-house generator.

Fuel Type

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a whole-house generator is the type of fuel it uses. Different types of fuels have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand them before making a decision.


Propane is a clean-burning fuel that is widely available and easy to store. It burns efficiently and produces less emissions compared to other fuels, making it a popular choice for whole-house generators. However, propane can be more expensive than other options and may require a larger storage tank.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is another clean-burning fuel that is commonly used for whole-house generators. It is typically less expensive than propane and has the added advantage of being directly connected to your home’s gas line. This eliminates the need for storing fuel, but it also means that you may be without power during a natural gas outage.


Diesel generators are known for their reliability and durability, making them a popular choice for whole-house backup power. However, diesel fuel can be expensive and may not be as readily available as propane or natural gas. This type of generator also requires regular maintenance and can be noisy when in use.


Bi-fuel generators combine two types of fuel, typically natural gas and diesel, to provide a more versatile power source. The advantage of this type of generator is that it can switch between fuels based on availability or cost. However, bi-fuel generators are often more expensive and may require additional maintenance.

Choosing the right fuel type for your whole-house generator is an important decision that can impact its performance, cost, and convenience. Consider the availability and cost of different fuels in your area, as well as the specific needs of your home when making a decision.

Power Output

One of the most crucial aspects to consider when choosing a whole-house generator is its power output. This refers to the amount of electricity that a generator can produce, measured in watts (W). It’s essential to have an understanding of your household’s energy needs, as well as how much power your generator can provide.

Calculating Your Energy Needs

To determine your energy needs, consider the essential appliances and devices that you would want to power during a power outage. These typically include refrigerators, freezers, sump pumps, medical equipment, lights, and heating/cooling systems.

Next, check the wattage requirements for each of these appliances or devices. This information can usually be found on their labels or in the owner’s manual. Add up the total wattage, and this will give you an idea of the minimum power output that your generator should have.

It’s also essential to consider the starting wattage for certain appliances with motors, such as refrigerators or air conditioners. These can require double or even triple their running wattage when they first start up.

Transfer Switch

One of the most important components of a whole-house generator is the transfer switch. This device serves as the connection between your home’s electrical system and the generator. It allows for seamless switching from utility power to backup power during a power outage.

Automatic vs Manual Transfer Switches

There are two types of transfer switches – automatic and manual. An automatic transfer switch (ATS) will automatically detect a power outage and switch to generator power without any intervention from you. This makes it the more convenient option, especially if you are away from home during an outage.

On the other hand, a manual transfer switch requires you to manually activate it when the power goes out. While this may be less convenient, it is also typically less expensive.

Dual Power Capability

When choosing a transfer switch, make sure it has dual power capability. This means that it can connect to both your utility power and the generator at the same time. Having this feature allows for a more seamless transition from one power source to another and ensures that all of your essential appliances and devices are powered during an outage.

Load Management

Another important feature to look for in a transfer switch is load management. This feature allows you to prioritize which appliances or devices will receive power during an outage. This is especially useful if your generator does not have enough capacity to power your entire home at once.

Load management also helps prevent overload on the generator, prolonging its lifespan and ensuring that it can continue to function during an extended power outage.

In conclusion, the transfer switch is a crucial component of a whole-house generator. It serves as the connection between your home’s electrical system and the generator, allowing for seamless switching during a power outage.

Noise Level

Another important factor to consider when choosing a whole-house generator is its noise level. No one wants a generator that will disturb their peace during power outages.

Traditional generators are known for being loud and disruptive, but advancements in technology have led to the development of quieter options. When looking at generators, pay attention to the decibel rating (dB). The lower the dB, the quieter the generator will be.

Some whole-house generators come with features to reduce noise levels even further, such as sound-dampening enclosures or mufflers. It’s worth investing in a generator with a lower noise level if you live in a quiet neighborhood or have close neighbors. You don’t want your generator to cause any unnecessary disturbance.

Aside from considering the noise level for your comfort, it’s also important to think about any potential noise ordinances in your area. Some cities or neighborhoods may have regulations on generator noise levels, and you don’t want to risk violating them with a loud generator.

Durability and Weather Resistance

A whole house generator is a significant investment that you want to last for years. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the durability of the generator before making a purchase. Look for features such as:

  • Material: The material used in the construction of a generator plays a vital role in determining its durability. Generators made of high-quality materials, such as aluminum or steel, are more durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions.
  • Weather Resistance: Since a whole house generator will be placed outside, it’s essential to choose one that is weather-resistant. Look for features such as rust-proof coatings and waterproof enclosures to ensure your generator can withstand extreme weather conditions like heavy rainfall or snow.
    Moreover, some generators come with added protection against corrosion and UV rays, making them even more durable.·
  • Warranty: The warranty offered by the manufacturer is also an important factor to consider. A longer warranty period means that the manufacturer has confidence in their product’s durability and is willing to stand behind it. Look for generators with a warranty of at least three years.
  • Certifications: Another way to ensure the durability of a generator is by looking for certifications from reputable organizations such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association). These certifications indicate that the generator has undergone rigorous testing and meets industry standards for safety and performance.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, a whole-house generator is an essential investment for any homeowner looking to protect their home and family during power outages. By considering these top features, you can ensure that you choose the best generator for your specific needs and have peace of mind knowing that you are well-prepared for any potential disruptions in electricity. Remember to always consult with a professional