home generator on side of house
August 4, 2020

If you are in the throes of deciding how to best prepare your home for future power outages with a backup generator, you’ve got multiple options: should you go with a whole house generator installation near you, a standby generator, or even a portable generator?

As the trusted backup generator experts in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and Northeast North Carolina, here is what you need to know about backup generators, and how to make the right choice for your home. 

The Types of Backup Generators

As previously mentioned, there are three kinds of generators that can be used to provide your home with power in an emergency. However, if you are looking for a backup generator solution you can trust to keep your lights on when the power unexpectedly goes out, we strongly recommend you leave a portable generator off of the shortlist. Instead, let’s look at the differences between more optimal residential solutions.

Standby Generator

A standby generator is installed outside the home and connected to your electrical system and to a fuel line (generators can run on natural gas or propane). When an outage is detected, a standby generator turns on immediately to provide power to your essential items like appliances and devices. 

A standby generator is usually rated to provide between 9 and 20 kW of electricity.

Whole House Generator

A whole house generator operates exactly like a standby generator: installed outside, and connected to the home’s electrical system as well as a fuel line. What makes a whole house generator different is the size, as it is tasked with providing all the electricity your home might need during an outage. 

A whole house generator is rated to provide 22 to 40 kW of electricity.

How to Choose: Understand Your Energy Usage

Installing an in-ground backup generator like the ones we’ve discussed is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. If you choose a generator that is too small, your home may be seriously underpowered during an outage. If you choose a generator that is too large, you will no doubt waste money as well as fossil fuel emissions on energy you don’t need. 

The first step in choosing the right backup power option for your needs is to understand the energy usage in your home. This is where having an expert by your side becomes essential. From there, you also need to determine which appliances you are going to want to continue using even when the power goes out from a storm, a flood, a power line accident, or another unpredictable event. Answering these questions will give us a good idea of where to start:

  • Will you need to run your central air conditioning unit or furnace?

  • Can you do without running your laundry appliances for a few days?

  • Will you need to use the oven to cook during an outage?

What appliances can you get along without for just a few days? The less you will need to use during an outage, the smaller the backup generator you will need. 

A Generator to Meet Your Needs

In our experience with sizing, installation, and Generac gas generator maintenance, true peace of mind comes with knowing that you will not have to rely solely on candles and propane heaters during an outage. Learn how to keep your lights on, cook the food you need, or even maintain power to medically necessary devices when you partner with the whole house generator installer in your area, at Russell’s. 

Need a backup generator you can trust in an emergency? Russells installs the best in Generac backup generators. Call us today to learn more at (VA) 757-995-2807 / (NC) 252-489-4431 or get in touch here.

Need a hand choosing the right backup generator?

We’re here to help. 

(VA) 757-995-2807 / (NC) 252-489-4431

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Maintenance Plans

Russell's HVAC, HVAC service technician, VA

Regular annual maintenance keeps your system operating at peak efficiency. Experience has shown that a system that runs well keeps your utility costs in line — in fact, independent 3rd party research shows that you can save over $30 per month on utility bills.


Just like your annual physical at the doctor’s office keeps you healthy, an annual tune-up or safety and efficiency check on your heating and cooling systems can keep your home working smoothly.

What Our Customers Are Saying

  • I can't complement your team enough on the wonderful job done with regard to the installation of the new system in our home. More specifically, we want to recognize the outstanding efforts of: Roberto-- the initial visit and diagnosis of the problem.

    Dan & Connie, Virginia Beach
  • I recently had your team install a new gas package unit including all new duct work at my house in Chesapeake. I had a split system that had undersized ducting which was removed by your installers.

    Mike & Sandi, Chesapeake, VA
  • We purchased a one time service for $79. They came out on time, checked out the geothermal system...they were very professional and kind.

    Nicholas H., Chesapeake, VA
  • We would like to thank your company for an excellent job. We are very pleased with the new (Mitsubishi ductless mini split) system that was installed last week. It works wonderfully at heating our home.

    Danny and Teresa S., Chesapeake, VA
  • Not one single idea for improvement. Keep doing what you do. OUTSTANDING!

    Charles J., Norfolk, VA
  • Great job!...World class employees!

    Colleen & Jim C., Suffolk, VA
  • Everything went great! This is the second big project we've had done through Russell's and we couldn't be more happy! We had the most dedicated, polite, and respectful crew! The team consisted of Elliot, Chase and Sean. Sean was here for the removal process on day one, and did awesome!

    J. Luhan, VA Beach
  • Hi Nate, please pass along our appreciation for you, Elliot and Steve. We are very happy with you being able to arrange our ( Lennox ) replacement system so quickly!

    T. Johnson, VA Beach
  • Thank you for running a top notch company and sending over to us two excellent folks Terry and Shawn. They did an awesome job putting in our new furnace system. Also thank you for Donald and Nate who did a superb job as well. Please reward these guys with some sort of commendations or rewards....

  • ...folks need to know how wonderful working with Russell's Heating & Air Conditioning is. They were very professional all the way thru the process of getting our unit installed down to the payment plan. I have been telling our neighbors and my co-workers about the experience.

    Pamela F., Chesapeake, VA
  • Every moment from the time an appointment was set up until the day the work was completed was a pleasure. Every employee was a delight to work with. The proof that the product was great came when the electric bills started coming in the airconditioning season.

    Douglas P., VA Beach
  • I am extremely satisfied with both the Lennox unit I purchased and the employees of Russell's. Even with poor window and door quality in this overly tired house, I am actually cooled off sufficiently enough to call it chilly.

    Robin W., Chesapeake, VA
  • Over the years I have gained the utmost trust in my service technician Corey Lesko's knowledge and work ethic while servicing my system.

  • I am writing this letter to commend your company on a great job! We were very pleased with how the company performed in every area...the installers did an impeccable job. They were very knowledgeable, efficient, and hard workers—staying focused to the task in the extreme heat.

    Pastor Larry E. O'Brien, Churchland Assembly of God
  • A year ago, I contracted with Russell's to tune up and clean the heating and cooling system. How impressively your specialist cleaned my system...he also found a defective automatic (programmable) thermostat. Quite quickly, he replaced my automatic thermostat. The results?

    R. Snider, Norfolk, VA
  • You recently installed a new Trane unit for us. We want you to know we are completely satisfied. The outside unit is now a hum versus the roar of the old one...we also want to recognize the installer...we cannot overstate what we think of his workmanship.

    K. Hawkins, Portsmouth, VA
  • Great and prompt service – as usual. Everything from ordering the a/c unit to installation went smoothly. Thanks for everything.

    B. Fenstermaker, VA Beach
  • Everyone was very nice. I felt well informed about my purchase. Your staff is great! I don't usually return opinion forms, but you need to know you have a staff you can be proud of!

    V. Horn, Chesapeake, VA
  • You have a new customer for life and I will definitely tell all my friends about your prompt, courteous service, your knowledgeable technicians, and your very reasonable prices. Thank you very much Russell's. You warmed much more than just my heart!

    G. Knoop, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your company was very responsive to my needs. The quality of your work was extremely high.

    Ms. Bright, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your workers actually made this total replacement project an enjoyable learning experience...they were always willing to stop and answer any questions. Their pleasant and cooperative attitudes cannot be praised enough!

    J. Wellons, Portsmouth, VA
  • Very pleased with both the price and service. The installation went off without a hitch and everything exceeded our expectations. When finished, the work areas, including the attic, were so clean you couldn't tell anything had been done.

    T. Marsh, VA Beach
  • Great expertise and timely service.

    H. Turbeville, Chesapeake, VA