Preparing to Buy a Generator

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

What you Need to Know Before Buying a Standby Generator

Q&A with Chris Stiles, President of Total Energy Systems, LLC, An Authorized Kohler Distributor

Although he certainly looks the part, Chris is not your typical company president. He's a laid back, family man with a laugh that's larger than life. With Chris' straight-to-the-point approach, he's the perfect person to explain exactly what you need to know before buying a standby generator.

 

Q: How do I know if a standby generator is right for me?

A: If you're at risk of losing your personal property if the power fails, you'll want to consider standby power. We've had people tell us about terrible losses they've gone through. One family came to us after their pipes froze during a winter outage. They had water dripping from the second floor down to the basement. The best time to have a standby generator installed is before something like this happens to you.

 

Q: How much should I budget for a standby generator?

A: A standby generator is permanently installed outside your home, like a central air conditioning unit. It's not a portable or temporary device; it's an investment that can protect your loved ones and your home in the event of a power outage. Equipment cost depends on the amount of backup power you need. Installation cost varies depending on your situation. A generator, transfer switch, and installation by one of our licensed and certified dealers could likely cost between $5,000 - $10,000 total.

 

Q: What size generator do I need?

A: Ask yourself how many things you'd like to operate during a power outage. Sizing can vary depending on if you're looking to back up critical power needs (like your sump pump, fridge, basic lighting, and garage door) or your entire home so that it would function as if there were no power outage. Kohler offers solutions for both scenarios and provides a very useful generator sizing calculator.

 

Q: What does the installation involve?

A: You'll want to contact a certified Kohler dealer to have your generator installed. Your local dealer will go through a site survey and you'll discuss scenarios for generator placement on your property that are in accordance with your local codes and ordinances. Ideally, you'll select a spot that's close to your home's incoming gas and electric supply. Then, your dealer will level the surface where your generator will be placed. Often, crushed gravel and a pre-fabbed concrete pad, or a concrete slab will be laid prior to installation. Finally, your dealer will install the automatic transfer switch and will connect it to your generator.

Your local Kohler Generators dealer is a great resource to help you find a standby generator that suits your needs, respond to any questions that you might have, and provide you with a quote and further information customized to your situation.

Chris Stiles is president of Total Energy Systems, LLC. Total Energy Systems has been a proven provider of critical power in the Midwest for more than half a century.

March 8, 2022 4:34 PM

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 should your power grid go down. However, the generator itself is only one part of the power source. Your generator also has to know when to turn on so that you enjoy an uninterrupted flow of power. That’s where automatic transfer switches (ATS) come in.

WHAT IS AN AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH?

An automatic transfer switch (also known as a generator transfer switch) is a power switching device that constantly monitors your electricity levels. In the event of an outage, when your electricity levels fall, the switch will automatically transfer the load circuit to your generator, which will provide you with power until the grid is back up and running. This also saves you from having to go out into potentially dangerous weather to start your generator.

HOW AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCHES WORK

The process an automatic transfer switch initiates is simple:

  1. The normal utility power source, such as the power grid, fails.
  2. The transfer switch 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 trips the contactor and shifts the load to the emergency power source while monitoring voltage and frequency tolerances to make sure there isn’t an overload of the system.
  4. When the utility is restored, the load is moved from the emergency power source back to the primary power source.

WHY YOU NEED AN AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH

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.

WHICH TYPE OF AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH WORKS FOR ME?

There are two main types of automatic transfer switches:

  1. The first type contains only the transfer switch that manages the power source for a panel of circuit breakers. It can handle the power source for your entire home or just a few essential circuits.
  2. The second type is called a load center automatic transfer switch, which contains both the circuit breakers and the switch itself in one integrated system.

You can choose your own automatic transfer switch, but most generator manufacturers, including Kohler, manufacture their own that are designed to be compatible with their generators. Typically, your authorized Kohler dealer can offer you insight into which type of ATS will work best with your generator, and you’ll be able to order it directly through them. It’s important to note that the automatic transfer switch will be old separately from the generator, so you’ll need to incorporate that cost into your budget. You can find the MSRP for our automatic transfer switches here.

INSTALLING AN AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH

The installation of an automatic transfer switch is complicated and should be left to a professional. This ensures not only that your ATS functions properly, but also 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.

THE BENEFITS OF AN AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH

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 source. Explore our automatic transfer switches and talk to your authorized Kohler dealer about how you can select a system that works for your home.

September 30, 2021 5:09 PM

Meet The Generators That Install Only 18" Away

Have you ever considered getting a standby generator, but never committed because of how far out from the house it had to be installed? Well, you’re in luck.

 

KOHLER recently expanded its line of home generators with new liquid-cooled units that install as close as 18 inches to a home—compared to the standard 5-foot clearance. This convenient feature now applies to all KOHLER® liquid-cooled RCL generators (24-60 kW). With the reduced clearance already available on KOHLER air-cooled units (10-20 kW), you now have a wide variety of backup power options that can be positioned close to your house. Sleek, discreet, and out of the way.

 

“Being able to safely install the new generator closer to a structure allows us to bring secure, standby power to homeowners who have smaller lots or want a more discreet installation,” says Jack Zbiegien, senior product manager for KOHLER residential generators. “Locating the generator closer to the house structure gives homeowners the ability to blend the unit with exterior decor, much like we see air-conditioner units within landscaped spaces.”

 

But proximity isn’t the only benefit. These new generators:

  • Withstand hurricane-force winds — up to 181 mph
  • Restore your power automatically
  • Perform a remarkably quiet weekly exercise at sound levels similar to a normal conversation
  • Feature a corrosion-resistant aluminum enclosure
  • Include a 5-year, 2000-hour limited warranty

 

Find Your Perfect Generator

Why wait any longer? Experience the peace of mind and reliability only KOHLER generators provide. Contact your local KOHLER dealer today.

July 30, 2021 7:15 PM