Happy New Year! Last month, we talked about the importance of sizing a generator to meet your needs. So far we haven’t seen much winter precipitation but it sure has been cold. I have noticed a disturbing trend over the past few months that needs to be addressed. Normally, I wouldn’t mention any names, but in this case, it’s a cause for concern. I apologize in advance for my rant. Your family, finances, and well being are important to me and I want you to be a well informed consumer. If you’ve purchased a home generator from us, great! We’ll keep it in top shape for you. If you haven’t or know someone that is considering purchasing one, share this article and send them to our website. We have some other great articles there to help them make an informed decision. Here we go…
There’s been one particular generator manufacturer that has been advertising quite aggressively as of late. They have also ventured into uncharted territory by distributing through home improvement stores, allowing for internet sales, and as of recently, through heating and air and plumbing contractors.Why? Because everybody wants to make a quick buck off of you. The more methods that they have to distribute it, the more likely you’ll see it, and the more likely you’ll purchase that particular brand of product. It’s a marketing technique called market saturation. It’s a means to increase brand awareness, and it’s effective. However, used in the wrong context, or moral (ethical) business practice, it really produces a disservice to you, the consumer, even if you are unaware of it.
The reason for concern is that a home improvement store won’t come to your home to properly size the unit. They don’t know all of the local electrical codes that must be complied with to install the unit. They will, however, sell them what you tell them that you want which probably won’t be what you need. On top of that, they won’t warranty the unit or the installation.
Internet sites are the same way. They won’t come to your house to size the unit. They won’t warranty the unit or the installation. They won’t tell you about load management or the local electrical codes.
A generator does not circulate environmental air. It’s not a furnace, dehumidifier, air handler, or a condenser. It not a toilet, sink, bath run, shower, faucet, or a drain. Yet this particular manufacturer is distributing through contractors that are not electricians. In the National Electric Code, there are articles dealing specifically with generators and many more that deal with sizing the wire, disconnects, and other things associated with the installation of one. Heat and Air Codes and the National Plumbing Code does not mention generators. This means that an electrician MUST install it. Because it requires some type of fuel, natural gas or propane, a plumber MUST run and connect the gas. In fact, it’s illegal in the State of Arkansas for anyone other than an electrician to hook it up, and it’s also illegal for anyone but a plumber to run gas to the unit from the gas meter. This particular manufacturer makes the home generators with the orange stripe and black letters.
We are a distributor and certified for warranty repairs for them. A product engineer for them has told me on numerous occasions that the ones on internet sites and in home improvement store are inferior to the ones that the sell through distributors. Home improvement store want to sell them at a certain price point and manufacturers oblige by making parts out of aluminum that would otherwise be steel, others out of cheap pot metal, and even more out of plastic. It’s not how they intended it to be made to last but it works for a while.
Essentially, you are sacrificing reliability for price. We’ve seen manufacturers not warranty a unit from a home improvement store because it was an inferior unit. They look the same on the outside but the model numbers give them away. Here’s a breakdown of the warranty information:
- Generac- 5 year limited warranty; first 2 years for the unit and transfer switch, 3rd year the unit only, 4th year engine and alternator, 5th year engine only; Does not cover any of the other portions of the installation
- Kohler- 5 year limited warranty; first 2 years for the unit and transfer switch, 3rd year the unit only, 4th year engine and alternator, 5th year engine only; Does not cover any of the other portions of the installation
- Briggs and Stratton- 4 year limited warranty; yearly maintenance must be performed, logged and recorded by a certified dealer; entire installation is covered
- GE- 5 year limited warranty; yearly maintenance must be performed, logged and recorded by a certified dealer; entire installation is covered
If you are going to spend that kind of money, don’t you want a reliable one? You wouldn’t purchase a car and take a risk on it breaking down while you’re still making payments on it, so why take that risk with a home generator? They cost as much as a good used car.
Can we beat the home improvement store on price? No. Can we beat the internet sites on price? No. We order strait from the factory jest as they were intended to be. Ours is a better generator, regardless or the brand we sell to you. Can we beat the heat and air or plumbing companies on price? Maybe. Some of them get them from a third party (supply house) whereas we order directly from the factory. Will the home improvement stores over sell or under sell you on a home generator? Yes. Will a heat and air or plumbing contractor over sell or under sell you on a home generator? Yes. Will we over sell or under sell you on a home generator? Only if you insist, but we put our recommendations in writing and stand behind them. All of this and we haven’t gotten into using the right battery, surge protection, load management, means of shipping and delivery, taxes…
The most important thing of all is, “who’s going to fix it when it breaks down?” We have spent the money to be trained on Generac, Briggs and Stratton, and GE. We are a dealer for all three brands and are certified through the manufacturers for installations and warranty repairs. Unless specifically expressed in the manufacturers warranty contrary to ours, when we install it, it has a 5 year warranty. In the case of the home generators, we go by the manufacturers warranty.
I know that there are quite a few of you still considering purchasing a home generator. I’m not trying to sway you in purchasing from us vs a competition so much as I want to be aware of the trade offs and what you may get yourself into if choose an alternative means to acquire one. Please forgive me for my rant.