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Generac standby home generators installed by Platinum

Types of Standby Home Generators: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the right standby home generator is crucial for homeowners, especially those in areas prone to power outages. Standby generators are essential for ensuring that your home remains powered during an outage, providing peace of mind and uninterrupted comfort. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of standby home generators based on application, capacity, fuel type, and cooling systems. With Platinum Electrical Contractors, the only Power Pro Premiere Generac dealer in GTA, you can find the perfect generator solution tailored to your needs.

Determining Your Generator Application

The first step in selecting a standby home generator is to determine whether you need a residential or commercial generator. This decision will guide you in selecting the appropriate capacity, phase, fuel type, and cooling system.

Residential Generators

Residential generators are designed to provide backup power for homes. They come in various sizes to accommodate different power needs, from small homes to large estates.


  • Convenient: Automatically starts during an outage, providing seamless power.
  • Cost-Effective: Typically less expensive than commercial generators.
  • Suitable for Home Use: Designed to power essential household appliances and systems.


  • Limited Capacity: May not be suitable for extremely large homes or properties with high power demands.

Commercial Generators

Commercial generators are built to provide backup power for businesses and commercial properties. They are generally larger and more powerful than residential generators.


  • High Capacity: Can power large commercial properties with high energy demands.
  • Durable: Designed for continuous use and heavy-duty applications.
  • Three-Phase Power: Available in three-phase models for commercial electrical systems.


  • Higher Cost: More expensive than residential generators.
  • Complex Installation: Requires professional installation and more space.

Deciding on Generator Capacity and Phase

Once you have determined the application, the next step is to decide on the generator’s capacity and phase. Capacity is measured in kilowatts (kW) and determines how much power the generator can provide. The phase refers to the type of electrical load the generator can handle, with single-phase being common for residential use and three-phase for commercial use.

Single-Phase Generators:

  • Ideal for Residential Use: Most homes use single-phase power, making these standby home generators a perfect fit.
  • Simplicity: Easier to install and maintain compared to three-phase generators.

Three-Phase Generators:

  • Ideal for Commercial Use: Provides higher power output, suitable for businesses with significant electrical loads.
  • Efficiency: More efficient for large-scale power distribution.

Choosing the Fuel Type

After determining the application and capacity, the next step is to choose the fuel type. The most common fuel types for standby home generators are natural gas, propane, diesel, and bi-fuel (natural gas and diesel).

Natural Gas Generators

Natural gas generators are the most popular choice for urban and suburban areas due to their convenience and efficiency. These generators are connected to the natural gas lines that supply your home, providing a continuous fuel source.


  • Convenience: No need to store fuel; the generator is connected to your home’s natural gas line.
  • Cost-Effective: Natural gas is typically less expensive than other fuels.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Burns cleaner than diesel or propane, producing fewer emissions.
  • Reliable Supply: Continuous fuel supply from the natural gas grid ensures uninterrupted power.


  • Dependence on Gas Supply: If the natural gas supply is interrupted, the generator will not function.

Propane Generators

Propane standby home generators are commonly used in rural areas or locations where natural gas is not available. Propane is stored in large tanks on the property and can provide a reliable fuel source for standby generators.


  • Availability: Propane can be stored on-site, making it accessible in areas without natural gas.
  • Long Shelf Life: Propane does not degrade over time, making it ideal for long-term storage.
  • Clean Burning: Produces fewer emissions than diesel.


  • Fuel Storage: Requires a large propane tank, which takes up space and needs regular refilling.
  • Higher Cost: More expensive than natural gas.

Diesel Generators

Diesel generators are less commonly used in residential settings due to their higher emissions and fuel storage requirements. However, they can be an excellent choice for specific applications where other fuels are not practical.


  • Fuel Efficiency: Diesel engines are more fuel-efficient, providing longer run times on less fuel.
  • Durability: Diesel generators are known for their durability and long lifespan.
  • High Power Output: Capable of providing substantial power output, suitable for larger applications.


  • Emissions: Diesel generators produce more emissions compared to natural gas and propane.
  • Fuel Storage: Requires safe storage of diesel fuel, which can degrade over time.

Bi-Fuel Generators

Bi-fuel standby home generators use a combination of natural gas and diesel, providing flexibility and reliability. These generators can start on diesel and switch to natural gas, ensuring continuous operation even if one fuel source is depleted.


  • Fuel Flexibility: Ability to switch between natural gas and diesel as needed.
  • Enhanced Reliability: Dual fuel sources ensure that the generator can continue to operate even if one fuel supply is interrupted.
  • Cost Savings: Natural gas is used for most of the operation, reducing fuel costs compared to diesel-only generators.


  • Complexity: More complex system requiring careful management of fuel switching.
  • Higher Initial Cost: Generally more expensive due to the dual fuel capability.

Choosing Between Air-Cooled and Liquid-Cooled Standby Home Generators

The final step in selecting a standby home generator is to decide on the cooling system. The two main types are air-cooled and liquid-cooled generators.

Air-Cooled Generators

Air-cooled generators use fans to blow air across the engine to keep it cool. These systems are simpler and less expensive than liquid-cooled generators, making them a popular choice for residential use. Air cooled house generators have been chosen by many house owners in Ontario because of their beneficial features.


  • Cost-Effective: Lower initial cost and maintenance compared to liquid-cooled systems.
  • Simplicity: Fewer components, reducing the likelihood of mechanical issues.
  • Sufficient for Smaller Loads: Adequate cooling for generators used in most residential applications.


  • Limited Capacity: Not suitable for larger generators with high power output needs.

Liquid-Cooled Generators

Liquid-cooled generators use a radiator and coolant system, similar to an automobile engine, to dissipate heat. These systems are more complex and expensive but provide superior cooling for larger, more demanding applications.


  • Superior Cooling: More effective at dissipating heat, suitable for larger generators with higher power output.
  • Durability: Designed for continuous, heavy-duty use.
  • Quiet Operation: Typically quieter than air-cooled systems due to more efficient cooling.


  • Higher Cost: More expensive due to the complexity of the cooling system.
  • Maintenance: Requires regular maintenance to ensure the cooling system functions properly.

The Best Standby Generator Option for Most Residential Properties

For most residential properties, the best option is a single-phase natural gas air-cooled generator. This combination offers the best balance of cost, capacity, and convenience. Natural gas provides a continuous fuel supply at a lower cost, while air-cooled systems are simple and cost-effective, making them ideal for typical home power needs.

Platinum: Your Trusted Partner for Standby Home Generators

At Platinum Electrical Contractors, we understand that every home and business has unique power needs. As the leading Generac dealer in Ontario, we offer a wide range of standby home generators, including natural gas, propane, diesel, and bi-fuel options. Our goal is to provide the best possible solution, not just sell a product.

Why Choose Platinum?

  • Free On-Site or Virtual Consultation: We offer free consultations to assess your power needs and recommend the best standby home generators solution for your property.
  • Expert Installation: Our highly professional technicians ensure that your generator is installed correctly and efficiently.
  • Comprehensive Maintenance Services: We provide the best maintenance services in the market, ensuring your whole home generator operates reliably for years to come.
  • Customer-Centric Approach: We prioritize your needs and strive to offer the most cost-effective and reliable solutions.

Investing in a standby home generator is a wise decision for ensuring an uninterrupted power supply during outages. Whole home generators provide peace of mind by keeping your essential appliances and systems running smoothly, regardless of the external power situation. Whether you’re considering home generators for residential use or commercial generators for your business, understanding the different types and their benefits is crucial.

When choosing whole home generators, it’s important to assess your power needs accurately. Residential generators, such as single-phase natural gas air-cooled generators, are often the best choice for homeowners due to their lower cost and higher efficiency. For those in urban and suburban areas, natural gas generators offer continuous fuel supply and minimal maintenance, making them a reliable and cost-effective option. On the other hand, commercial generators require higher capacity and may benefit from liquid-cooled systems for better durability and performance.

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