three people standing around a residential standby generator

How a Standby Generator System Works

There are two major components that make up a standby generator system:

1. Standby Generator

kohler standby generator

Standby generators are designed to be
located outside, in the elements.

They are manufactured with a weatherproof enclosure to protect the electronic and mechanical components from weather. They run on either natural gas or propane (also referred to as “LP”).

2. Transfer Switch

transfer switch

The automatic transfer switch is the brains of the operation.  The ATS is typically installed inside, near the home’s main electrical panel (typically in the basement).  As soon as utility power is interrupted, the automatic transfer switch senses this and signals the generator (outside) to start.

The automatic transfer switch literally switches from the home being supported by utility power to generator power which eliminates any risk of back-feeding onto the utility lines with the electricity that the generator produces.

This transfer takes place within a matter of seconds.  Standby generator systems provide power for your home within 30 seconds of the loss of utility power.

The process works similarly when utility power is restored.  When the automatic transfer switch senses the presence of utility power the ATS will transfer back to utility power.  The generator will continue to run for about five minutes in order to allow the generator to cool down and then the generator will shut down.

diagram of standby generator setup
Want to learn more about how a standby system works? Curious about what generator we would recommend for you? Give us a call and we would be happy to discuss your options!