FAQs

How Long Does it Take to Install a Generator?

In general, a typical home standby air cooled generator installation will take about one day to complete. Liquid cooled models would take longer to complete. If a concrete pad is necessary it would add a day or two for the concrete to dry. The length of time is based on a typical application. It does not apply to applications that require extended runs of wiring or gas piping.  There are always some small unforeseen issues that may require us to return but the main install is generally 1 day.

Why does Colonial Carry Generac, Briggs & Stratton, Kohler and Cummins?

Colonial Generators is an authorized dealer of Generac, Briggs & Stratton, Kohler and Cummins / Onan.  This allows us to sell, service, install and monitor any generator from these companies.  We believe that carrying the best manufacturers allows us to provide you with the best pricing at the best time on the most appropriate product for your home.  This gives us superior pricing options that we can share savings with you.

How to tell what size generator is most appropriate for my home

We get this question a lot.  The truth is that it really depends.  It depends on how often you experience power outages, how long the outages last and what your expectations are when the power goes out.  From a pure capacity standpoint – you should get a generator that meets the actual usage of your home.  It’s easy to figure out – just look at your utility bill.  In the example below this home’s peak usage was 17kW.  In the event of power outage, a unit size of approximately 17 kW will keep all the power running.  A unit size smaller may not power all of your hvac or appliance.  Our team can help you figure out the optimal size and hvac/appliance coverage.

simple rule of thumb to estimate generator size

If you are worried about a local or regional power failure and want complete control over your power options – a residential generator is a great option.  They can run for a long time on natural gas and liquid propane.

What is involved in the Installation Process?

The generator process typically involves:

  1. Site Survey by Colonial Generators.
  2. Selection of Generator
  3. Applicable permits
  4. Natural Gas or Propane Installation
  5. Delivery of unit and placement of panel (this may be done before the gas source has been installed.)
  6. Electrical Installation
  7. Generator startup to validate warranty.
  8. All applicable inspections.

At Colonial Generators – we try to make this process as easy as possible for you so we handle all of the logistics from start to finish.  Once you sign your contract – we handle the rest.

What comes with the Generator Purchase?

It is important to find out what does and does not come with the generator you are purchasing e.g. Transfer switch, composite pad (if not, cement slab may need to be poured, which may require a building permit being pulled), battery, engine oil, antifreeze, and dealer startup to validate warranty, etc.  At Colonial Generators – we include everything with your purchase so that your generator has everything you need to operate on the first day properly.  All of our installed systems include cold weather gear and everything you need to run your generator.

Does a Generator Require Maintenance?

Like anything, a generator does require some minimal preventative maintenance to keep it up and running.  It’s a system that has a small engine, generates electricity and burns fuel – either natural gas or Propane.  Every engine has moving parts that requires a little maintenance to keep it healthy.  Your generator, like your car requires preventative maintenance.  Here are some logical tips:

  • Keep the generator free and clear of all snow and debris
  • Check the oil regularly; keep extra oil on hand to add if needed (we can do this for you)
  • If propane or diesel fueled ensure adequate fuel supply

You should know how to obtain the error code from the generator in the event of troubleshooting.  We will train you on this and monitor your system as well.  This is something that the technician would have gone over with you at the time of installation.

Please call our offices with any questions that you may have about service, trouble shooting and yearly preventative maintenance.

How Do Standby Generators Work?

The power solutions that we use are reliable, efficient and worry-free. Permanent standby generators typically connect into homes through an automatic transfer switch, or ATS. When the power goes out, the ATS will sense the loss of power and automatically disconnect the main utility lines leading into your home. It does this so that when power is restored, you won’t have to worry about electricity from your generator damaging your home or feeding back into the main utility lines. Within 10 seconds , the generator will assume that the power outage is permanent and it will fully activate and provide power to whatever circuits or appliances it is hooked into. Once the power is restored, the unit will automatically shut off and your utility power will resume it’s normal operation.

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Is a Generator a Good Investment?

We have 2 answers for this – both are yes.

Home Values:  In most cases, having a generator installed not only will it pay for itself but it will increase the value of your home by several thousand dollars. Not to mention the money it can save you in basement repair costs – imagine that there’s a heavy rain and your sump pump has stopped working because you’ve lost power! It also can protect your home from frozen pipes if you were to loose your heat. At minimum, a generator provides great security from such an unfortunate occurrence. Generators can be extremely attractive to an informed buyer. In fact, many new home builders are now offering backup power systems as an optional item.

Peace of Mind:  For those of us that have lost power before, the mere thought of losing power causes worry about many things.  The health and welfare of our families, the lost food, potential broken pipes and water damage and more.  Knowing that you always have standby power provide peace of mind.  The investment may be hard to calculate but most of our clients now report the investment was well worth it.