How to Select the Best Standby Generator and Dealer

Looking to buy a natural gas or propane standby generator in Texas? It’s challenging to identify which dealer-installers are qualified and trusted, and determine the right type and size of unit you’ll need. We’re here to help.

  • We’ve vetted generator companies so you can identify the most reputable dealer-installers in Texas.
  • We have a simple process that requires you to only answer six yes-no questions and provide your home’s usage information in order to get a quote (if other information is required for a final quote, it can be discussed in a call with a qualified professional installer of your choice).

Six Questions to Get a Generator Quote

Here are the 6 simple yes/no questions to get a generator quote:

  1. Is your central heating system operated with natural gas, propane or electricity?
  2. Is your hot water heater operated with natural gas, propane or electricity?
  3. Is your clothes dryer operated by natural gas, propane or electricity?
  4. Do you have a swimming pool?
  5. Do you live in a rural area and have a well pump?
  6. Do you currently have a solar or battery backup system?

The other information required to gain an accurate quote is your home’s annual energy usage (kWh). To provide usage information to a dealer, you can either find it by reviewing your last 12 months of electricity bills, or conveniently go to SmartMeterTexas.com to access your historic usage data.

How to Choose a Qualified Dealer

We’ve developed key vetting criteria you should consider when qualifying standby generator dealers in Texas, so you can purchase a properly-sized unit and have it professionally installed at a competitive price.

First, you should only purchase a unit from dealer who has a Texas Electrical Contractors license and can perform a load calculation you can trust. A quality dealer will assess your home’s needs and help you jumpstart the installation process.

When selecting a generator dealer, the most important qualification questions to answer include:

  • Does the dealer have factory-trained technicians who install generators? Most dealers only re-sell generators. To significantly reduce your risk, only buy from dealers who control the entire customer experience, from purchase to installation to service after the sale. Do not purchase from dealers who subcontract the installation.
  • Is the dealer actually certified by manufacturers (such as Generac and Kohler) to service generators? Most dealers are not. Ask for proof.
  • Does the dealer have a pristine reputation for service after the sale? Check references and reviews.
  • Does the dealer have a Texas Electrical Contractors license? Ask to see a copy.
  • Is the dealer fully insured so that your potential liability is covered when workers install a unit at your home? Ask for proof of insurance.
  • Does the dealer have factory-trained technicians for both liquid and air-cooled generators? Most dealers do not.

Recommended Generator Dealer-Installer in Houston

In Houston, we’ve done your homework for you by applying our qualification criteria to find and vet the best dealer-installers in the area. We are also vetting dealers in other Texas cities and will publish them soon.

In Houston, a trusted company best known for solar panel-generator installations is the dealer-installer that our experts believe is the top choice for standby generators. It’s TexasSolarOutfitters.com, a Texas-based company which meets all of the key qualifications above.

Texas Solar Outfitters has a Texas Electrical Contractors license, is certified by top standby generator manufacturers, has factory-trained technicians, and insurance to cover your risks related to their installation. You’ll find certification information and testimonials on their website, and a Home Advisors shield noting that the company has been screened and approved.

You can speak directly with Texas Solar Outfitters at 713-802-0223 to answer the six questions above and get an initial quote. When you call, ask for Stewart Masterson, a born and raised Houstonian who owns and operates his family-run operation. Masterson received degrees from the University of Texas and Rice University, and founded an electricity consulting company in 2007, where he developed a culture and reputation for treating clients with integrity. He has a deep knowledge of the renewables industry and solar technology, which led him to acquire and grow Texas Solar Outfitters.

Long Lead Times for Standby Generators

Regardless of which dealer you choose, it’s important to note that due to the high demand for generators as a result of severe Texas power outages, and lingering supply chain problems due to the Covid pandemic, the lead time for generators from top manufacturers is up to six months. Trustworthy dealer-installers, such as the ones we recommend, will provide you with realistic lead times for installation.

Figuring Out What Size Generator Your Home Needs

Since standby natural gas and propane generators are typically classified by a kilowatt (KW) power rating, generator dealer-installers must figure out what wattage your home requires.

If you wish to perform your own sizing analysis in advance of a quote or discussion with a dealer, you can begin by identifying what appliances you want to power through your generator during potential outages. You’ll need to decide whether you wish to back up your entire house or only consider essentials such as your refrigerator, lights, internet, and phone charging.

If you wish to power certain appliances, you can calculate their wattage, and then use a sizing chart to determine what size generator fits your needs.

Types of Home Standby Generators

There are two primary types of natural gas and propane generators you can choose from when installing one in your home:

  • Air-cooled generators

    (for 8-24 KW ratings) can offer a whole-house power solution for lights, essential appliances, and smaller air conditioning units.

  • Liquid-cooled home generators

    (for 30 KW+ ratings) provide whole-house backup power for very large homes with greater power demands, like central air conditioning units.

 

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