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How To Pick The Right Standby Generator Model For Your Home

How to Pick the Right Standby Generator Model for Your Home

Whole house generators provide a valuable layer of protection in the event of a power outage or storm. For residents in Fairfield County, Connecticut, this is invaluable. Take Greenwich, for example, which receives significantly heavier snowfall than areas closer to the coast, due to the influence of Long Island Sound. 

With a home standby generator, you can quickly regain access to essentials, such as power for medical devices, your refrigerator, hot water, the Internet, and more. 

While all the benefits make the decision to get one a no-brainer, selecting the right home standby generator model can feel like rocket science. From budget to unit size to generator brand, there are a lot of factors to consider.


What should I look for when buying a home standby generator?

Residential generator units come with a lot of moving parts. You have to think about: 

  • Where you’re installing the generator
  • Which appliances will be powered in the event of a blackout
  • How much maintenance you’re willing to put into it

The main things you’ll need to be on the lookout for when deciding to buy a residential standby generator are:

Fuel Source

Generators run on either natural gas or propane. Natural gas is the more popular choice as it’s more readily available and less expensive.

Depending on your local area, a gas line may not be available. In this case, you can schedule the delivery and installation of a propane tank to help you run your generator. 

Keep in mind that you will have to keep a regular eye on fuel levels and replenish them as needed. Pick a fuel source and filter ideal generator models accordingly.

Automatic Transfer Switch 

Most home standby generators use an automatic transfer switch based on the model and residential property. However, some homeowners may be eligible for a manual option. 

A generator with this switch will automatically turn itself on in under a minute when your power goes out. It’s also a useful safety feature in reverse that will turn your unit off if it begins to overheat.


The sizing and power capacity of your generator are the most important aspects of your decision. This is something that can be custom to your home and your needs. 

There are many calculations and measurements to keep track of to select the right unit for your home.


The generator installation process can take time depending on your local requirements and approvals. From getting permits to installing your unit to getting all the appropriate inspections, it takes more than a checklist for a smooth installation experience.

Location and noise are the two biggest factors when installing a generator. For instance, you never want to use a generator inside your garage or home, even with windows or doors open. In fact, according to the official town of Greenwich’s website, the guidelines for residential generator installation require placement of a minimum of 5′ away from any opening in a building. This is due to the carbon monoxide production of home generators, which is high and dangerous to the people in your home. 

At Cannondale Generators, our technicians acquire the necessary permits and schedule all the inspections with your town to manage the entire process for you.

kohler home standby generator

How do I determine what size generator I need for my house?

The size of your home generator depends on how much power in wattage you need. Typical home appliances have two types of wattage: running wattage (R) and starting wattage (S).

Running wattage is the power needed to keep items running. Starting wattage is the extra watts needed for two to three seconds to start motor-driven products. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the running wattage by three to get a starting wattage (S = R x 3).

For instance, if you want a generator to power your refrigerator and you know the running wattage for the appliance (typically found in the owner’s manual) is 700 watts, the starting wattage will be about 2,100 watts (or 2.1 kilowatts).

The total wattage of an appliance is the running wattage plus the starting wattage (R + S). In this case, it would be 2,800 watts, so you’d need a generator that provided at least that many watts.

In other words, to determine the size generator you need for your home, create a list of all the items that need power and how much wattage they require. You can create this list based on whether you only need to keep some systems running during a blackout or power your entire home. 

Some of the most important appliances and devices in a home include:

  • Refrigerators
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Lights
  • Sump pumps
  • Computers and routers
  • Washers and dryers

These wattages will help determine your electrical load. The more accurately you calculate the power needed, the easier it’ll be to find the precise generator size for your home. 

The average American home needs around 30 to 50 kW of power for basic appliances to run. To ensure that your home has enough electricity during a blackout, you’ll most likely need a 30 kW residential generator.

Cannondale licensed technicians can help you go through this process without a headache. Ditch the owner’s manuals and the math and simply tell our generator experts what you need in the event of a power failure. We’ll handle the rest.


What’s the best home standby generator brand?

The residential generator industry is on the rise as we continue to rely on staying connected to the Internet. From remote learning to working from home, our daily life revolves around having power.

Selecting a reliable generator brand that fits your specific criteria is key to protecting your home. 

As the premier generator dealer in Fairfield County, Connecticut (Greenwich, New Canaan, and Darien) we’ve helped over 8,000 families and businesses protect what’s valuable. For residential use, we commonly see Generac, Kohler, and Cummins installed, paired with their comprehensive remote monitoring tools.Learn more about each of the generator brands we sell and install at Cannondale.

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Easy residential generator installation for your Greenwich, CT home

As the go-to home generator dealer in Connecticut and New York, our team will help you choose the right generator for your needs. Get custom, professional recommendations based on your own power needs and specs. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.

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