Generator FAQs

What size KW generator do I need?

The size generator you need depends on what you would like to operate when the utility goes out. The basic needs like water, heat, sump pump, refrigerator general lights and plugs can be easily handled by an 8KW. The basics plus microwave, kitchen circuits, freezers and more general lights and plugs would be a 10KW. If you want the electric water heater, we recommend a 14KW. If you have an electric oven 17KW. Finally, if you would rather not worry about anything and just go on about your business as usual, I would recommend the 20KW. There are some cases, using load shedding techniques we could put a smaller generator on your whole house but this is case by case basis. If you have a larger home or business then a liquid cooled generators are available from 22KW to 150KW.


How does a generator automatically start to transfer power?

Generator control boards run on 12Volts DC. While the utility is on, the 12 volt battery in the generator is charging from the utility. While the generator is running the battery is charging from the generator. Either way, the control board in the generator is always on. When utility power fails, the control board senses this by wires connected to the transfer switch which then tells the generator to fire up. Once the generator starts producing power, it sends 240 volts back to the transfer switch which activates a coil to transfer power from the utility to the generator.


Can I get a generator that runs on diesel fuel?

Yes, There are a number of stand-by Commercial, RV, and Portable generators that run on diesel.


Can I get a portable that runs on propane?

Yes, portable generator means not permanently connected to a fixed wiring system. You have to keep in mind that a generator running on LP needs to maintain a certain vapor pressure inside the tank which requires a larger tank than your BBQ grill. That being said the generator may be portable but the fuel supply may not be so portable.


What size portable should I get?

The best thing to know when buying a portable generator is how many watts of continuous power you think you will need. Portable generators require that you fill them with gas. If you are running the generator at maximum output the entire time, you will be constantly fueling the generator. With a portable generator, you are in control of the load you put on it. What you want to do is size the generator so it will be running at  half load most of the time.  This will be the most efficient use of the fuel.


What is an Interlock Kit?

An interlock kit is provided by an electrician in your service panel so you can safely switch from generator power to utility power without back feeding either one.


How much propane will I need?

Typically you will size the propane tanks to have 3 days of continuous generator output at full load. The chances of you running a properly sized generator at full load for 3 days are slim.  A 20KW Generac generator uses 2.9 gallons of propane an hour at a full load, 3 days is 72 hours, 72 x 2.9 = 208 gallons. So 250 gallons of LP is what we would recommend.


Can I have a stand by generator that is hooked up with a manual transfer switch?

Yes. The thing about that is Stand By generators from Generac come with an automatic transfer switch. So for the small amount more it would cost, we don’t see the value of putting in the manual transfer switch. You have to consider that you already have electricians there installing the transfer switch whether it is manual or automatic.


How often should I service my generator?

Generator break in period is eight hours of run time. After that you will need to replace the oil and oil filter. We then recommend  having the unit serviced once a year. Your generator will use some amount of fuel during the course of a year just doing its weekly exercise.


What should I do if I need warranty work?

It is very important to have a authorized dealer with trained technicians do any and all warranty work on your generator.

Google Review

Chamberlin Electric is my go to after my Generac 20k was installed by another company and wouldn't work. Chamberlin came in and fixed it. Should have had the right people update it first, it would have been much easier.

HomeAdvisor Review

Company responded to set appointment same day. Tech came as scheduled. Jackson - the tech - was very knowledgeable and addressed the problem w/ my 8 year old Generac generator. Also provided me with information in reference to maintenance I should be doing on a regular basis. I would recommend Chamberlin Electric for generator service. Thank you for the excellent service.

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