Milbank Generator Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the difference between portable and automatic Home Generator Systems?

The differences have to do with the steps needed to have emergency power flowing into your house in the event of a power outage. Portable systems are wheeled units that require you to roll the generator outside, start it up, and hook it up to a power inlet box. From there you must go to the transfer switch panel installed near your circuit breakers and switch the power coming into your house from the main line to the generator running outside. After the power from your local utility is restored, you are required to reverse the setup process.

One of the clear advantages with an Automatic Home Generator System is that the unit turns itself on and off automatically without you ever having to leave the safety of your home. Our automatic Home Generator Systems also exercise themselves once a week. You can even set the time when the unit will perform this diagnostics check. The generator will then be ready to run whenever needed.

How does the Home Generator System work?

At the point of loss of utility power, the system will wait approximately 6 seconds to start (this is to verify that the power is going to stay out). After it has started it will go through a warm up period of 20 seconds. After this time the transfer switch will change over to generator power. The house will remain under generator power for a minimum of 5 minutes, even if the utility power comes back on. After utility has come back on, and the generator has powered up the house for at least 5 minutes, the transfer switch will go back to utility power after 10 seconds. The generator will then run 1 minute to cool down before turning itself off.

What size Standby generator do I need to run electric items in my house during a power outage?

Most average homes of 1200 to 3000 sq. ft. can run critical items in the home by using a 5000-7000 watt generator. The most common items that need emergency power during a blackout would be the furnace blower motor, refrigerator, freezer, lights, TV, sump pump, and water pumps. Larger Home Generator Systems in the 10-15KW range will quietly supply as much as 18,000 watts of starting power to your home automatically, giving your family the power, freedom and comfort of their usual lifestyle uninterrupted by power failure. The 12-20kW generators allow you to supply power to both essential items PLUS up to 6 high wattage appliances including 2 central air units for the ultimate in comfort and control.

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Can I run a computer or other sensitive electronic equipment off the generator during a power outage?

Yes. The power coming from your generator is just as safe as what you normally have coming out of the wall socket. The spikes or surges that accompany power generation (also known as “harmonic distortion”) are just a normal aspect of electricity. However, when considering sensitive or expensive electronic equipment running off a wall outlet, you should use a good surge protector to guard against small influxes of power.

Does motor starting require a different wattage?

Yes. Induction motors require larger amounts of amperage for initial start-up than when they are running. Some appliances and tools, such as your refrigerator/freezer, furnace fan, air conditioner, electric chain saw, weed trimmer, etc. will require more watts than normal running wattage for motor starting. This must be considered when sizing a generator to meet your needs.

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What does a Home Generator System typically cost?

When you choose the safety, reliability and automatic operation of a Home Generator System, there are several items that contribute to the total cost, the cost of the system itself, a transfer switch, and installation charges. Optional maintenance contracts can also add to the cost if you choose one. Costs may vary depending on the size of the unit, transfer switch used, location of installation, and permits required for installation. Check with your local sales rep.

Can I run my central air conditioner on the Home Generator System?

Yes. We have devised a transfer switch that will monitor loads on the generator, under emergency power, allowing you to run a central air unit at a 4-ton rating or less on our 12kW and 15kW Generator Systems. They are called our ACCM transfer switches. They are available in 100 or 200 amp sizes. We also offer a Power Management System to aid in running air conditioning systems.

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What is a transfer switch?

A transfer switch is a device that is fed by both utility and generator power. It isolates the two types of power from each other so a back feed does not occur. National Electrical Code requires a device like this if two types of power are going to feed the house.

How do I know what size transfer switch I need?

There are many factors that will determine the size transfer switch needed (size of utility service, appliances needed to run, size of generator, etc). The transfer switches available vary from 50, 100 and 200 amps. Call toll-free 800-627-1660 or inquire with your Kimber's sales rep for assistance. The 100 and 200 amp transfer switches are for whole house power and feed the entire distribution panel.

What is the Power Management System and how can it benefit me?

With our ACCM transfer switch, there must be room on the generator for a central air unit to run. The Power Management System isolates six circuits from your main distribution panel to allow the air conditioner to start when it wants. Basically, the Power Management System makes room on the generator. These would be circuits that you would not mind being turned off for a short period of time while the A/C runs. You can hook these circuits up in priority, 1 is the highest priority and 6 is the lowest. Discuss with a dealer how you want each item hooked up.

Can I install the unit myself or does someone else need to?

It is recommended that you have your Home Generator System (generator and transfer switch) installed by a licensed contractor. Failure to do so could be dangerous for both family members as well as outside repair workers trying to fix downed power lines. In addition, professional installation is required to maintain the warranty. They would also make sure that all the necessary permits are pulled to verify an inspector would pass it. Most Milbank Home Generator Systems dealers are capable of not only performing the necessary installation, but can also offer maintenance agreements that ensure the generator is being serviced on a regular basis. Check with your local sales rep.

What happens in a typical installation?

A basic installation includes:

  • Delivery of the system to dealer. Additional charges for drop ship to consumer.
  • Installation of the transfer switch is then hardwired into your home or business.
  • The transfer switch is installed within 2 feet of the main distribution panel and 30 feet of the generator inlet box.
  • Final start up inspection of system and completion of start up form.
  • Cleanup of installation debris after installation is completed.
  • Consumer is responsible for making arrangements to provide all necessary gas service and connections..
What does Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) do for me?

The 7kW Home Standby System features AVR. AVR maintains a more steady voltage than something that is not regulated. This is especially important for running sensitive electronics such as computers, microwaves, and televisions.

What is the warranty?

The warranties will vary depending upon the unit that is purchased. Entry-level systems will carry a 2-year warranty; while more advanced systems carry a 3-year/1500 hour warranty. There is also a fourth year power train warranty with our more advanced units. To validate your warranty, simply return the postage paid installation checklist.