Primary Backup Options – A Solution for Every Customer

Apr 21, 2016

When you meet with a customer to help them determine their emergency backup needs, it’s important to give them options. If cost is no object, you’ll be happy to install a robust whole-house backup solution for them. However, if they have cost restrictions, or don’t mind living with only a few essential circuits during a power outage, you can help them save money by offering an alternate backup solution.

Whole House

With whole house backup, the entire service panel is connected to the generator and electrical loads are always backed up during a power outage.

In reality, whole house backup is rarely necessary, but some people want to know that they can turn on every light and use every appliance in the home at the same time if they want to.

The main drawback is that in order to guarantee that degree of backup, code says that the generator has to provide enough output to cover all of the loads at one time. For some customers, this might raise cost concerns.

Whole House with Managed Loads

This option means you can quote a smaller generator and still meet the customer’s whole-house backup needs in most cases. The loads are separated based on high and low priority. High priority loads are backed up all the time. Low priority loads are automatically shed if too many loads are running concurrently and the generator reaches capacity.Since most homeowners do not typically run all of their lights and appliances at the same time, oftentimes loads will not be shed and the customer experiences whole-house coverage.

If loads are shed, the system can be set to automatically reconnect those loads in the desired order. The advantage of this solution is that code says the generator only has to be sized large enough to cover the high priority loads. The only caveat is that the generator has to be large enough to start the largest motor load.

Essential Circuits

Some people just can’t afford a generator that is large enough to power their entire home and some simply don’t mind living with just enough circuits to get them though an outage in relative comfort. For these customers, essential circuit coverage is the best solution. They choose the circuits they want to back up during an outage, and only those circuits are powered by the generator. You will need to help customers identify the circuits to be backed up as most people forget about key circuits they may need, like well pumps, security systems, and others.

Digital Power Management

The Generac Service and Non-Service Rated Transfer Switches come standard with the Smart A/C Module (SACM) so they can manage up to 4 central air conditioners without additional hardware.

Add up to eight optional Smart Management Modules (SMM), and you can manage eight additional circuits or appliances. The Smart A/C Module can be used in conjunction with up to eight individual Smart Management Modules to manage a combined total of 12 loads. Keep in mind, when managing more than eight loads, the system must be sized properly to handle combined surge loads.

When customers have a limited budget or only want to back up a few essential circuits, you can add value to the proposition of owning a Generac generator by explaining how the digital power management system will allow them to use up to twelve circuits or appliances that they thought they might have to live without.

More Usable Power = Greater Value

The digital power management system monitors generator output frequency which will only drop if demand exceeds total generator capacity and the engine starts to lug down. If frequency drops to 58Hz for 3 seconds, or 50Hz for 200 milliseconds, the system will shed the selected loads. By only shedding loads if demand exceeds total generator capacity, Generac customers get the benefit of the full output capability of the generator before any loads are shed.

Many competitive systems monitor current instead of frequency. Those systems shed loads when the generator reaches 85% of its output capability. Since they can never use more than 85% of the generator’s output capability, their system essentially turns a 20kW generator into a 17 kW generator. 

If you need help sizing or selling your next backup generator job, please reach out. We're here to help!