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What a Site Survey Is and Why It Is Important When Purchasing a Home Standby Generator

March 2, 2022

A site survey takes the confusion out of purchasing a home standby generator.

Knowledge is power. Purchase a Champion site survey now to learn exactly what’s involved with the purchase and installation of a home standby generator. A Champion dealer will walk you through the installation process from start to finish, and you will be equipped with all the details you need, all your questions answered and a customized estimate specifically designed for you, your family, your home and your budget. 

Contact an Authorized Champion Dealer with our Home Standby Generator Selector.

Automatic home standby generators provide peace of mind since they operate whether you are home or not. Your family is your biggest investment, and we understand how important it is to know they are safe and protected during unexpected emergencies.

Champion’s “keep it simple” strategy connects you with the most affordable backup solution for your needs.

Your costs for purchasing and installing a home standby generator system will include:

  • The generator itself
  • An automatic transfer switch
  • Any power management modules needed for high demand appliances (e.g. electric cooking range or electric clothes dryer)
  • Placement and installation of the system by an authorized Champion installer, including materials related to electrical connections and natural gas (NG) or propane (LPG) plumbing, fittings and connections and batteries 

Once purchased and installed, ongoing costs are fuel and maintenance. Your Champion dealer can size your generator to minimize your fuel consumption costs with an efficient Champion home standby generator and support your Champion home standby with scheduled maintenance.

During a site survey: What you will learn

Champion will contact you within 48 hours of your site survey purchase and connect you with a local, authorized dealer. Then, the authorized Champion dealer will schedule a convenient time to meet with you at your home to conduct the site survey.

The Champion dealer:  

  • Walks you through the system installation process 
  • Ensures local codes are met·        
  • Provides a turnkey solution that works for you   

In order to avoid costly mistakes that would need to be corrected in the future, no important details will be overlooked. Your dealer site survey determines the placement, installation and materials needed for your home standby generator system. Your Champion installer will teach you how your system operates, and once installed, will demonstrate the features of your new standby. 

Where can my generator be installed?

The answer to this question isn’t always easy due to the various local codes and proper safety precautions that must be considered. A Champion dealer knows exactly how to answer these questions and make recommendations resulting in an efficient and cost-effective installation. Champion home standby generators are rated for installation as close as 18 inches from the outer wall of your home (where code allows), saving wiring and plumbing costs.  A home standby generator should never be installed closer than 5 feet to an opening in the home, including windows, doors, and vents, and should also never be installed under decking.

Do I need a concrete pad?

Depending on local code, some installations may require a concrete pad, although home standby generators are usually installed on graded landscape rock or pea gravel to allow for drainage.  A Champion dealer can provide a pre-formed pad solution if required.

How much plumbing will I need?

Your Champion generator must be connected to your home’s fuel source (NG or LPG) in order to create electricity. The installer will determine the best standby generator placement based on several factors including the location of your gas meter in order to minimize the fuel pipe required. An optimal installation uses under 20 feet of pipe.

Do I need a meter upgrade?

In order to prevent your generator’s fuel requirements from starving the other appliances in your home, natural gas may require a gas meter upgrade through your gas utility. This will be determined by a Champion dealer.

Where will the transfer switch be installed?

Your Champion generator is connected to your home’s electrical distribution system through an automatic transfer switch. Depending on where your distribution panel is located, your home may need a transfer switch installed either outdoors or indoors. Champion offers switches for either requirement.

How much wiring will I need?

The amount of wire you’ll need depends on what side of the house your electrical meter and main distribution panel are located. This will affect how much wire needs to be run to the generator. The Champion dealer will determine the best standby generator placement in order to help minimize the electrical wire and conduit required. The optimal wire run is under 20 feet.

Do I need a load management module?

For whole house power, with intelligent load management technology, larger electrical demand items that use 240-volt double pole breakers such as electric cooking ranges or electric clothes dryers can be managed with the optional load management module (LMM). Managing these items with an LMM allows you to use a smaller generator by intelligently controlling when each appliance can start, saving you money on fuel consumption and the cost of a generator

Before a site survey: What to know

What are my goals for a home standby generator system?

  •  If you want your generator system to manage your entire home’s electrical demand during a power outage, then you are the perfect match for our most flexible solution a Whole House Standby Generator System.
  • If you want your generator system to manage 12 or 16 select circuits in your home during a power outage, then you are a great fit for our most cost-effective solution a Select Circuit Standby Generator System.

Other helpful items: 

When estimating installation costs, it’s helpful to know the size of your home in square feet, the size of your home’s electrical panel, and whether your home’s fuel supply is natural gas (NG) or propane (LPG). Your home’s electrical service size in Amps can be found at the main circuit breaker in the distribution panel of your home.

  • Whole House: For Champion Whole House managed power systems, if your home is under or around 4000 square feet, typically, it may be managed with a Champion 14kW generator.
  • Select Circuit: Champion’s Select Circuit systems can manage 12 or 16 circuits and requires your preselection of items you want to power during an outage. Sizing requirements are not based on the square footage of your home.

If you’re not sure about any of these items, a Champion Dealer will be happy to answer any questions you might have and offer a personalized recommendation during your site survey.

Get the process started and get connected to an Authorized Champion Dealer with our Home Standby Generator Selector tool.

Your Generator: The Essential Safe Storage Checklist

March 2, 2022

When you purchased your portable generator, you either filled it up with gasoline and oil to give it a test run or you waited until you actually needed it. Once you tested it or used it the first time, you probably put it away and moved on. 

Has a month or more passed since you put your generator away? If so, the gas left in the carburetor can start to go bad. Gasoline that has not been treated with fuel stabilizer can gum up the carburetor creating blockages that will affect the engine’s performance. 

Blockage warning signs to watch for: 

  • You’re only able to run the machine on choke.
  • Surging.
  • Your generator won’t start at all.

When an outage occurs, you pull your generator out of storage, trusting it to get your lights back on, keep your food from spoiling, and heat or cool your home. What if it doesn’t work? What then? 

If your generator was stored improperly, it may not be able to come through for you. 

Just like your generator, your log splitter, snow blower, and other gasoline-powered products need to be stored properly. Whether you need to keep the power on, split logs to stay warm during cold days and nights, or clear snow after a heavy winter storm, it’s important to keep the fuel fresh in any of your gasoline-powered products so they’re ready to go when you are.

Take a little bit of extra time now and go through this safe storage checklist to ensure your peace of mind later.

Use the Right Type of Fuel: We recommend unleaded gasoline with an ethanol content of 10% or less. It’s perfectly fine to use 85 to 91 octane fuels. The difference between them won’t be noticeable. Using non-ethanol fuel is beneficial since it reduces fuel storage issues. Visit www.Pure-Gas.org to find a station that offers this kind of fuel. 

Add Fuel Stabilizer: Storing your generator without the addition of fuel stabilizer means the gasoline can go bad within a month, causing major problems. Using fuel stabilizer can help extend the gasoline’s lifespan for up to 24 months. If you do have older fuel sitting in the carburetor, we recommend that you run it at least once a month for about 15 minutes to prevent any older fuel from corroding it. You can get stabilizers at your local auto parts store or online. 

Clean or Replace Your Carburetor: Bad fuel produces debris that prevents fuel from flowing the way it should. If your generator has been stored improperly with gasoline in the fuel tank or carburetor, all the fuel must be drained and the carburetor has to be cleaned to remove the debris and clear up blockages so you can use your generator safely. 

Want to skip the cleaning process? Replace your unit’s carburetor and your generator will fire right up. 

If you did store your generator properly by draining the fuel tank and carburetor according to your owner’s manual, great! You have a much easier job ahead of you. 

Removal from Storage: Take your generator out of storage and place it outside. 

Add Fresh Fuel: The first thing you’ll need to do is add fresh, regular octane fuel. Make sure you don’t overfill the tank so you can allow for fuel expansion. 

Check for Fuel Leaks: Next, you’re going to want to check for fuel leaks. Make sure your engine switch is off, then, turn your fuel valve on. Wait five minutes and then check the carburetor and air filter areas for leaks. If you do happen to discover a leak, you’ll need to disassemble your carburetor to clean it or replace it. 

Check the Oil: If you don’t find any leaks, you can go ahead and turn your fuel valve to off, use a dipstick to check the oil level, and add fresh oil if necessary.

Check the Air Filter: Next, take a look at your air filter and make sure there are no obstructions like bugs or cobwebs. Remove any obstructions you find and clean and replace the air filter according to your owner’s manual.     

That’s it! 

Fresh fuel, no leaks, fresh oil, clean air filter, and you’re good to go.

The next time you’re ready to store your generator, log splitter, snow blower, or other gasoline-powered product, resist the urge to just put it away quickly because you have other things to do. During an emergency, you may not have the luxury of time to complete this checklist properly.

Take the time now to do it right, and you’ll save yourself time and hassle later. Your future self will thank you!  

Six Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for Hurricane Season

May 31, 2021

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be more active than usual and the latest outlook calls for 19 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). For comparison, this forecast is above the 30-year average of 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

The official Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 to Nov 30, so now’s the time to make sure you’re prepared.

Here’s a quick list of items to check off your list ASAP.

Evacuation Plan: Know the recommended evacuation route, and keep your gas tank full. 

Supplies: Keep bottled water and other supplies on hand.

Hurricane Kit: Include a first-aid kit, medications, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, batteries, whistle and local maps.

Copy Important Documents: Back up your computer, and keep copies of important documents in a safety deposit box. 

Prepare Your Home: Secure or store outdoor items, and make sure your roof and shingles are in good shape to withstand strong winds.

Back Up Your Power: Determine what type of generator you need in case of a power outage. 

Last year’s storms, wildfires, and concerns over COVID contributed to the fact that the portable generator industry experienced record growth last year. This year, due to the same factors and ever-changing current events, people continue to buy portable generators at a record rate. Buy early to avoid having your item on backorder and to take advantage of pre-hurricane season promotions. 

When the power’s out, appliances you depend on, like your refrigerator, electric stove, lights and A/C can’t be used. Your food will go bad if you lose power to your refrigerator and replacing all of it is incredibly expensive. If you can’t charge your phone, use your computer or tune in to the local news, you’ll be cut off from communication, which is vital during a hurricane power outage. If you can’t cool your home because the power’s out, staying home could get unbearable, plus high temperatures and humidity can damage your home’s interior. 

A reliable generator ensures peace of mind during a power outage caused by a hurricane. There are two main types of generators for hurricanes: portable and home standby. 

A portable generator is perfect if you only want to back up a few essentials. Portable generators come in different sizes, run on either gasoline, propane or even natural gas, and don’t need to be installed.

If you’d like to power more than just the essentials, or even your whole home, consider a home standby generator. Standbys are connected to your propane or natural gas system and never need refueling. Your home standby generator starts automatically when the power goes out and returns to standby when power is restored, ensuring security and convenience for your family during a hurricane power outage.

Having a safe source of power during an emergency is priceless since now more than ever, the security and safety of your family is more important than anything else.