Cart 0

Buying A Standby Generator

Posted by Emergency Power on

Here are some tips that may help you decide what generator is right for you.  Before you go out and buy a diesel standby generator, you’ll need to decide what equipment you want it to run. Some of the most common choices are refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, well pumps, sump pumps, lighting, security systems, garage doors, water heaters, and televisions.

Every electronic device you add to the list will increase the wattage you need – and drive up your costs. While a single light bulb will only add around 100 watts to your needs (15 watts for fluorescent equivalent), a mid-sized central air conditioner can use 4000 watts or more. Limit your choices to those devices that are truly essential during a power failure, and you’ll keep your total costs down.

How often will you use your Diesel Standby Generator?

Diesel engines are built tough. They need to be; it is just the way they work.  No matter what diesel engine you have as long as you do regular oil changes and use high-quality oil it should last you over 10,000 hours.  Unlike portable diesel engines the larger standby generators use slower turning speeds, 1800 RPM instead of 3600 RPM They are also water cooled rather then air cooled. Most of these engines do not even work as hard as your car so imagine the life you can get out of them.

Unless you want to spend 10′s of thousands of dollars for a made in USA brand you only have two choices.  Made in China or Made in China. One engine brand stands up above the rest is Yangdong.  The name is horrible, but the engine is very cost effective.  Yangdong is used in small trucks, farm equipment and farm tractors around the world.  Parts are so much cheaper then any North American Brand. Companies like Aurora carry all the parts locally.  So do many farm tractor dealers.

Another choice is Perkins Engines Company Limited, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., They have a factory in the USA, but still, most came from China and shipped here.  Perkins power plant based in Peterborough, England, USA, and China. Worldwide, an estimated one in five tractors is powered by a Perkins engine. Parts are also available all over the place.  Just remember you are paying a lot more for it.

If you don’t expect to use your generator more then 10,000 hours, then the Yangdong is very cost effective. Even if you had to replace the engine, you would still pay less to go with Yangdong.  Look at any other generator on the market and if it us under $10,000.00 it is more then likely a Yangdong Engine. Few other companies have any EPA approval for use in the USA.

Most people will only use there generator a few weeks out of the year at the most.  Even if you had to run it full time for two weeks 24/7  that is 336 hours of use a year.  Diesel Generators can last you over 10,000 hours.  So, why pay twice as much to get a popular engine brand when you never exceed its life expectancy in the first place?

Standby Generators & Installation

Many of the enclosed units are ready to go.  They have a starting battery in them and a built in battery charger.  The fuel tank is integrated into the enclosure, often at the base.  All you need to do is add oil, fuel and cooling fluid to the radiator.  Just like on your care,  check the fan belt and fluid levels changing them when required and away you go.

Depending on what kind of surface you have you may want to put it on some pad, rock or pour a concrete pad for it.  Often the delivery guys come with a forklift truck, and they may be willing to set it in place for you saving you the trouble.

Check the laws in your area. You need to know if be installed.  You may be limited due to noise, space, local, state or federal laws and electrical codes.  Can you connect the generator yourself or do you need an electrician to do it?

How are you with tools?  Can you drain the oil out and replace it with new oil when required? Perhaps you want to find a company that does service calls.  Any engine mechanic and a little bit of telephone support should be able to work on them.  Diesel is very simple.  Electrically most parts are complete components so if something fails it is just a matter of unplugging one relay and plugging in another. Many things are modular, so repair and replacement are simple.

How it works.

When the utility power to your home fails – - because of a storm, accident, or brown-out conditions, the diesel generator set automatically starts and, within seconds, produces electricity. The transfer of power is seamless and automatic and allows you to continue your daily routine without interruption.

5 Basic things happen.

  • The generator monitors when there is a loss of power from your normal utility.
  • The engine starts up, and within seconds the generator starts to produce power
  • The Automatic Transfer Switch will automatically disconnect your source from the utility power that is connected to your home and redirects to the diesel generator.
  • It will continue to provide power until your normal utility power is restored and when it happens it will switch back and shut down automatically.
  • Next, it resets itself waiting for the power outage.


The generator set should be exercised monthly for system readiness. Aurora Generators have a built in battery charger keeping the battery topped up, so it is always ready for when you need it. During this exercise period, the power available from the generator set WILL NOT be connected to the home, and utility power will not be interrupted.

The generator set can be operated at any time from the generator set control panel behind the service access door. Simply move the “RUN/OFF/AUTO” switch to ‘RUN”, and the generator set will start and run. Power available from the generator set WILL NOT be connected to the home, and utility power will not be interrupted. The switch must be returned to the “AUTO” position for fully automatic operation.

Like with your care, take a moment to check the fan belt for cracks, make sure the is fine and does not need changing, air filter is clean and you are full of fuel so it is ready for when needed.

System Testing:

The entire system can be tested manually by simulating a power failure. This can be done by manually opening the main circuit breaker ahead of the transfer panel. The standby power system will then go through the start sequence and pick up the home electrical loads. Manually re-closing the main utility breaker will then signal the standby power system to go through the retransfer sequence and return to standby mode

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.