Indiana Power Service & Supply

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What is an automatic standby generator?

An automatic standby generator is a backup electrical system ready to operate whether you are home or away.

  • Within seconds of an outage, it automatically supplies power directly to your home’s electrical circuits.  It operates on natural gas, propane gas, or diesel and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit.
  • After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage.


Why is an automatic standby generator preferable to a portable generator?

During a utility power outage, an automatic standby generator provides numerous advantages over a portable generator.

Here are 5 standby generator advantages:

  1. With an automatic standby generator properly installed outside, your home is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, which is a risk with portable generators.
  2. Refueling every few hours is not necessary when the generator is running on the home’s natural gas line or LP fuel system, plus the chance of a gasoline fire during refueling is eliminated.
  3. Automatic standby generators start within seconds of a power outage, and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout your home.
  4. Automatic standby systems are designed to be installed and run outdoors.  This means it can provide backup power during storms and can safely be run in the rain, unlike portable generators.
  5. Portable generators are not constructed to allow them to be run in the rain or in any type of enclosure.  Portable generators should never be run in a garage or even a semi-enclosed area; both scenarios provide danger of electrocution and affixiation.


What is the difference between an automatic air-cooled generator and an automatic liquid- cooled generator?

  • Air cooled generators have engines that use fans to force air across the engine for cooling, while liquid cooled generators use enclosed radiator systems for cooling, similar to an automobile.
  • Generally, liquid cooled engines are used on larger kW generators due to the larger engines required for the higher power output.


How long can I expect an automatic standby generator to last?

Stand by generators last decades & here’s why:

Generators are constructed of standardized engines and components designed for continuous use in construction and industrial applications. Generators used in a standby capacity see relatively little use over the period of a year.

Here’s an example:

  • Standby generators have a standard exercise time of 15 hours per year, and then given 7 full days of outages, the total yearly run time would be little more than 180 hours.
  • Contrast these few hours of run time to units of the same type that run in excess of 5,000 hours a year in sever conditions.  That represents nearly 28 years of life as a standby unit.
  • The conclusion – Standby generators can last for decades if properly maintained.


Can an automatic standby generator replace utility service?

No, the generator fuel costs would be much more expensive than buying power from the utility company since their cost to produce electricity is divided among thousands of customers.


How do I correctly size a generator for my home?

Here are the 3 steps we recommend:

  1. Set down with a hot cup of coffee and a clean sheet of paper. 
  2. Write down all the electrical conveniences you don’t want to live without. Your list of power necessities could range from your sump pump and refrigerator – or it could extend to electricity for your entire house.
  3. Once you have prepared your list, this represents your emergency load.

Now that you have your emergency load determined. We can help you by applying the wattage required for each of the items in your emergency load.

There are several considerations when sizing a generator, and we can walk you through the process to determine which brand and unit will best fit your needs.


Can I install the generator myself?

Probably not – there is a lot of hype on the internet about this. The truth of the matter is if you have to ask the question the likelihood is you cannot.

The installation process requires the ability to perform the work of: an electrical contractor, pipe fitter, equipment mover, and, in many cases, a mason. There are code requirements and specific laws about how power equipment is installed.


Do standby generators have to be maintained?

Yes, like any piece of equipment the generator will need to be maintained.

There is always a factory recommended routine maintenance schedule. Some of these tasks are easily done by the home owner with a few basic tools. Other maintenance will require the assistance of a trained professional.


If I have a problem with my generator where do I go for help?

We offer 24/7 emergency service, as well as routine maintenance agreements.  If you need service on your standby equipment, we can help!

Our Partners

Clarke Power Generation offers a complete line of portable, standby, prime power and peak-shaving generators, from 10 – 2,000 kW in LP, natural gas or diesel.

Power Tech is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of mobile diesel generators, offering an expansive generator selection ranging from 3KW to 200 KW for standby, marine generators, military projects and gas/diesel electric vehicles.

Winco's commitment to quality, dependability, and innovation has produced the broadest line of portable and PTO generators in the industry.

ASCO automatic transfer switches and non-automatic transfer switches are applicable in many environments, ranging from residential, industrial, and commercial applications to the critical power needs of healthcare, financial and data center facilities.

Generac manufacturers power products including commercial and industrial generators.