Preparing to Buy a Generator

Here's Why You Need an Automatic Transfer Switch For Your Generator

Installing a standby generator means that you’ll have a reliable source of backup power in the event of a power outage. However, the generator itself is only one part of the power source. Your generator also needs to know when to turn on so that you enjoy an uninterrupted flow of power. That’s where automatic transfer switches (ATS) come in.


An automatic transfer switch is a power switching device that constantly monitors your electricity levels. When electricity levels fall below a certain threshold, the switch will send a signal to start your generator and automatically transfer the load circuit to your generator, switching your home's power source from the utility grid to backup generator power. With a KOHLER standby generator and automatic transfer switch, this process takes approximately 10 seconds, so you're never in the dark for long. An ATS also increases the safety of your generator, keeping your backup power automatic and “hands-off” and preventing you from having to go out into potentially dangerous weather to start your generator.

An ATS also increases the safety of your generator, preventing power surges and keeping you from having to go out into potentially dangerous weather to start your generator.


The process an automatic transfer switch initiates is simple:

  1. The normal utility power source, such as the power grid, fails.
  2. The ATS automatically monitors utility loss and sends a signal to the generator to start.
  3. Once the generator has sufficient power to support the home, the automatic transfer switch shifts the load to the emergency power source. During this step, the ATS also monitors voltage and frequency tolerances to make sure the system isn't overloaded.
  4. When the utility is restored, the load is automatically moved from the emergency power source back to the primary power source.
  5. The ATS sends a signal to your generator to cool down and safely shut itself off.


An automatic transfer switch monitors your power sources constantly. With an automatic transfer switch, your standby generator can automatically switch on and off as needed during a power outage so that there’s no need for you to manually turn on the generator. This makes it both easier and safer to use your generator.


It's a good idea to have an authorized KOHLER dealer perform an onsite analysis to determine which and transfer switch offer the best solution for your home.

There are several options available for automatic transfer switches:

  1. Service-entry-rated or not: A service-entry-rated switch comes equipped with a main-line disconnect breaker built into the transfer switch. This is a nationwide code requirement when the transfer switch is wired directly into the incoming main power line for whole-house power. A non-service-entry-rated switch requires the addition of a disconnect breaker at the jobsite. The service-entry-rated switch saves you time and money during the installation process.
  2. Phase and amperage rating: Your installer will help you choose the correct phase (single- or three-phase) and amp rating (100 to 800 amps) to match your generator and code requirements.

Your authorized Kohler dealer will offer insight into which type of ATS will work best with your generator, and you’ll be able to order it directly through them when you order your generator. It’s important to note that the automatic transfer switch will be sold separately from the generator (unless you purchase it in a package), so you’ll need to incorporate that cost into your budget. You can find the MSRP for our automatic transfer switches here.


The installation of an automatic transfer switch is complicated and should be left to a Kohler authorized dealer. This ensures that your ATS functions properly and prevents any accidents that could occur when attempting the technical installation process. In addition, having it installed with your generator by a professional ensures that it’s properly connected to and compatible with your generator. The automatic transfer switch will be connected to your home through your electrical panel so that it is directly connected to your home’s power source and can monitor power levels accordingly.


Choosing your generator is only the first step in having reliable backup power. Knowing that your standby generator can turn on and off automatically without having to manually start your system is the perfect way to enjoy full peace of mind from your backup power source. Explore our automatic transfer switches and talk to your Kohler authorized dealer about how you can select a system that works for your home.

August 8, 2023 6:47 PM

The Benefits of Installing a Generator During Home Construction

Building a new home is exciting, and there are so many decisions to make. From flooring to countertops to appliances, you pick every item with care. One item you may not have considered is a standby generator. If you live in an area prone to storms or power outages, a generator is a smart addition to your new home.


Why worry about it while you’re building, though? There are a lot of benefits to installing a standby generator during construction rather than retrofitting it later. It’ll save you money now—and possibly throughout the future of your home. Let’s explore the reasons we encourage adding a generator while building your home.

1. You’ll Save on Installation 

Installing a generator is easier and less expensive during the building process since your builder can plan for it. Since standby generator installation involves your home’s electrical system and gas line, working it into a construction project is easier than adding it onto an existing home. It is also more affordable to have a gas line installed before construction is complete. And if you’re already having gas appliances installed, that same line can be connected to your generator.


2. You Can Add a Generator to Your Mortgage

While there are multiple financial benefits to installing your generator during construction, one of the biggest is the ability to roll the cost of the generator and installation into your new mortgage. This typically does not add a significant amount to your monthly payment, and the peace of mind is priceless.


3. You May Pay Less in Homeowners Insurance 

An often overlooked benefit of having a generator are the potential savings on your homeowners insurance policy. While not all insurance carriers and policies offer a discount, many do. Adding a generator to your new build may result in savings right off the bat. To learn about how a standby generator may help you save on insurance costs, give your agent a call. 


4. It’s a Great Way to Protect Your New Home

As you settle into your new house, you shouldn’t have to worry about power outages and the damage they can bring. Power outages may lead to issues like water damage from burst pipes, food loss due to freezer/refrigeration not working and basement flood damage due to sump pump failure. With reliable backup power from a KOHLER home generator, you’ll have less to worry about when the power goes out. 


Add a KOHLER Generator To Your New Home

Don’t let power outages interrupt your life or cause damage to your new home. Take advantage of the benefits of installing a generator during construction by contacting your nearest Kohler dealer and requesting your free quote.

February 15, 2023 3:38 PM

How Does Weather Impact the Power Grid?

How does the weather impact your ability to keep your home powered so that your heating, cooling and lighting systems run smoothly? Extreme weather is the leading cause of power outages in the U.S. And with summer in full swing, heat and storm-related outages are on the rise. Why does this happen, and what can be done to fortify the electrical grid against extreme weather? Let’s dig into three key ways the power grid and the weather report are connected.


Old Electricity Grid Infrastructure Is Less Weather-Resilient

Today’s electric grid boasts over 600,000 miles of transmission lines connecting an impressive 9,200 generating stations. But much of this network has significantly aged, leaving poles and transmission lines vulnerable to damage and degradation. Increasingly, severe weather events like heat waves and hurricanes have caused electric lines to sag or snap and poles to fall, resulting in lengthy outages and diminished grid resilience. Costly preventative maintenance is required to keep older components performing consistently, and repairs following extreme weather only prolong outage time. Improving our defense against weather-related outages and keeping consumers powered through severe weather conditions would require replacing much of the power grid we rely on today. 


Outdated Technology Lengthens Outage Times 

Just as the power grid’s physical infrastructure needs updating, so too does its technology. When an outage occurs, whether due to a fallen tree or severed transmission line, grid operators must locate the point of transmission interruption in order to repair the damage and resume electric service to dependent households and businesses. 


Outdated technology can make this task time-consuming and leave consumers in the dark—without power or updates on repair progress. A significant investment in smart technology is needed in order to improve grid stability, prevent weather-related outages and decrease outage time in the future.

High Electricity Needs During Extreme Weather Lead to Forced Outages

Abnormal weather conditions, like extreme heat or cold, impact a power plant’s ability to create electricity and transmission lines’ ability to deliver it. Under normal circumstances, this would be troubling; but when consumers require more electricity to stay safe and healthy during extreme weather conditions, a limited supply can be dangerous. This kind of strain on the power grid’s supply is typically managed through forced outages known as rolling blackouts, in which power to a specific area is temporarily cut off to protect grid equipment from overloading. While temporary, forced outages often affect large numbers of households and businesses, and going without power during harsh weather conditions can be particularly distressful. Alternate supplies of energy, like solar or a pre-stored power supply, could help rebalance supply and demand and reduce the number of forced outages required to support the power grid through times of high demand. 

Reliable Energy Under Any Conditions

Consumers can take their power supply into their own hands with a standby generator, powering their homes and businesses safely and efficiently regardless of the weather report.  Contact your local KOHLER Authorized Dealer to learn more about how a KOHLER generator provides reliable power when you need it most.

August 24, 2022 1:26 PM

4 Reasons to Buy a Standby Generator Now

One of the most common questions we receive is, “when should I buy a generator?” The short answer: now. Let’s dive into why planning ahead and purchasing your generator as soon as possible is always a smart idea.

Why to Buy a Generator Now

The sooner you purchase your generator, the sooner you’ll enjoy the benefits, like peace of mind, that come with it. But that’s not the only reason to buy now! Here are four more reasons not to wait to purchase your generator:

  1. When you purchase a generator, your authorized KOHLER dealer will need to receive your generator, pull any required permits and coordinate installation. This is a routine process, but it’s important to allow enough time for your dealer to get everything done properly.
  2. Generator installations involve electric and gas connections, and most require permits. In some situations, upgrades to existing electrical panels, gas service upgrades, installation of a natural gas/liquid propane tank and/or landscaping may be necessary. This requires your authorized KOHLER dealer to coordinate the services of several professionals. Planning ahead allows ample time for schedule coordination and a smooth installation.
  3. Buying your generator now allows you to avoid last-minute shopping, where you may feel pressured to make a decision quickly.
  4. The standby generator industry is experiencing unprecedented demand, meaning wait times may be longer than usual. We are working to increase production to meet demand, but recommend placing your order as soon as possible.

Like any worthwhile project, the journey from generator purchase to installation takes time. But as KOHLER generators owners will tell you, the peace of mind is worth every penny.

Plan Ahead with Kohler

Don’t let power outages interrupt your life. Make preparedness a priority and enjoy peace of mind, no matter what Mother Nature has in store. Get started by finding your nearest authorized KOHLER dealer and setting up your free consultation.

March 24, 2022 2:29 PM

What Will My Kohler Standby Generator Run During a Power Outage?


The number of appliances a Kohler standby generator can power at one time depends on the generator's output capacity and the amount of power each appliance uses. During a power outage, your first priorities are most likely personal safety and protecting your home. It may be less important for your electric stove to work than it is for your sump pump to keep the basement from flooding. As time passes and the outage continues, you may want to choose different appliances to supply with power. Knowing how much power your generator can produce will help you determine which appliances can run at the same time and which ones can wait.


Understanding Electrical Power


Electricity is measured in amps (A) and volts (V). Amperage, also known as a current, measures the amount of electrons moving within an electric circuit. Voltage measures the amount of potential energy or force those electrons are under, which creates a current. Electrical power, which expresses the amount of electricity being used by appliances, is measured in watts. Wattage equals your volts x the amperage. For example, an appliance plugged into a 120-volt outlet and drawing 10 amperes of current is using 1200 watts (120V x 10A). Sometimes watt is converted to kilowatt (1kW = 1,000W).


Appliances that are powered by motors are measured in volt-amps (volts x amps) instead of watts. Sometimes volt-amps is converted to kVA (1kVA = 1,000volt-amps). When calculating power for appliances that have motors, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, you have to consider the motor's running and startup current. An appliance with a motor will typically use more power for a few seconds to turn on before dropping to a lower, steady running current. To estimate a startup current, simply multiply the running watts by three for most motors or by six for heavy duty motors.


Standby generators are rated in kilowatts to disclose the amount of power the unit is capable of producing. Kohler standby generators can produce their rated power continuously and also supply additional power to support starting motors for a short period of time. Kohler's 14kW generators can supply 35kVA, and the 20 kW models can provide 40.5kVA to support startup currents of motors as mentioned above.


Power Requirements of Appliances


The amount of power required by an appliance varies by manufacturer. Most appliances have their electrical needs posted on product tags or in an owner's manual. The list below estimates the running watts and starting watts of some typical home appliances. This list is intended to service as a basic guide; however, we recommend you consult with a professional electrician to measure the electrical requirements of your appliances.


Appliance Run Watts Start Watts
Refrigerator 700 2100
Freezer 700 2100
Coffee Maker 1200 n/a
Crockpot 200 n/a
Toaster Oven 1550 n/a
Electric Lights 13-300 n/a
1000 Watt Microwave 1200 n/a
1 Ton Central AC 2000 4000
3 Ton Central AC 4500 9000
12,000 BTU Window AC 1700 5100
Furnace Blower 875 2625
Sump Pump 800 2400
Well Pump 2000 6000


Standby Generator Power Management


Work with your local Kohler Generator authorized dealer to choose a transfer switch for your system. During a power outage, your Kohler transfer switch will automatically transfer power from the utility grid to your generator.


Kohler's generator sizing calculator is a great tool to help suggest a generator for your home, based on the amount of electricity your appliances need. Use the calculator and work with your local Kohler Generator authorized dealer to determine which generator best suits your needs.


Norwall Power Systems was established in 1997. The company specializes in selling emergency backup power generators and associated equipment.

Norwall Power Systems sells and supports many different types of power systems. They have thousands of standby generators, portable generators, marine generators, automatic transfer switches and replacement parts in stock in multiple warehouses throughout the US.

March 8, 2022 9:42 PM

**Warranty conditions only apply to North America.