One of the many features of a whole house generator that makes them so reliable is the self-test feature. Your installer can schedule your new generator to perform what is called a self-test either weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
During a self-test, your generator turns itself on based on a programmed schedule. Newer backup generators run in what is called a quiet-mode where the rpms are throttled down to produce the least amount of noise as possible, in the 50-60 decibels range. The generator still can perform all its diagnostics, exercise its motor at this reduced speed, but it is less disrupting than the generator running at full speed.
The sound level on the quietest test mode is similar to a car idling in your driveway. You can hear it, but it isn’t disruptive. The generator encasement is lined with soundproofing materials, which help, but you will still get a noise that approximates the sound of a gasoline powered leaf blower when the generator is running at full speed.
During the test, data is collected from your generator and can be sent to a central monitoring station for analysis. They will be able to tell you if your generator needs a tune up or service. You can also do this yourself by reading the display which is located inside the unit and running through all the data points that have been gathered during the last test run. Keeping your generator is good working condition ensures that it will be ready to deliver the power you need should an outage occur.
This self-test feature is one of the reasons that standby generators are becoming more and more popular when compared with portable generators. You may not know if your portable generator will start the next time you need it. But with a home generator, you know every week that the status of your generator is a go or no go.