Generators 101

Generators 101 Steps

How backup generators work

Backup generators use advanced technology to keep power flowing to your home in case of a power outage. These systems are stationary, permanently installed devices that resemble an outdoor air conditioning unit. They run on a variety of fuels (natural gas or propane) and connect directly to your home's wiring.

If your home loses power, your generator will automatically kick in, powering parts of your home or even specific appliances based on the settings you have chosen. The generators we offer vary in capacity — from small generators that power a limited number of essential circuits and appliances to generators that can power every circuit in your home for extended periods of time. They shut off on their own when power is restored.

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free assessment will help you determine which generator fits your needs. And you can read more about each type of generator and its power capacity on our backup generator options page. 

Why you need a backup generator

Power outages can disrupt your life and even be disastrous if you have critical electric appliances and equipment in your home. A permanently-installed generator can automatically keep your home powered during short or long outages. If you live in an area with frequent storms or outages, you can avoid lengthy hotel stays, sweltering summer days without AC, spoiled food or temporary relocations by installing a generator on your property.

Power outages can occur for a variety of reasons.

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Get started with our free assessment

Request a free assessment, and we will come to your home to determine the best generator for your needs, installation location, power source and budget.

We make it easy to install and maintain your generator with reliable, professional services.

Reliant Energy Retail Services LLC, dba Reliant is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, third parties offering in-home assessments, generator product offers, or the generators they sell. Reliant makes no representations or warranties of any kind with respect to the products or services of third parties that market and sell generators.

Services provided by Reliant Energy Retail Services LLC, dba Reliant, a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., EC 32274. Regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, TX 78711, 1-800-803-9202, 512-463-6599. © 2019 Reliant Energy Retail Holdings, LLC. All rights reserved.

Generator Installation FAQs

  • You must own the home and have natural gas line access in the house. Propane tanks are an acceptable alternative, but they are not recommended due to cost.
  • We try to place the unit near the breaker panel, assuming there aren't any easement or underground hazards. If it cannot be installed near the breaker panel, we will work with you to find a desirable location.
  • A concrete slab will be poured, similar to what an outside air conditioning unit sits on.

    A licensed plumber and electrician will run piping and wiring to connect the generator to the gas and electrical meters. Sometimes these are below ground; sometimes they are attached to the house.

    All work is completed to comply with building code standards.

  • Professional technicians who are licensed, insured and background-checked will perform all construction, installation and maintenance.
  • From start to finish, it usually takes an average of 5 to 7 business days.
  • No. We will handle all permitting with the city for you. Reliant will notify both the city and the TDSP on your behalf.
  • Call 1-832-369-7800 if you are a new customer.

    Call 1-832-369-3344 for service related questions.

Product FAQs

  • Depending on the model you select, the generators we offer can deliver 8kW to 24kW of power.
  • The size you need depends on several factors, which a Reliant representative will evaluate and discuss with you. Before your appointment, decide if you want your entire house to have electricity during an outage or if you only want to power specific areas or appliances. The more items you want to power, the more powerful your generator will need to be. 

    In general, 10kW to 14kW are enough to run survival appliances (refrigerator, HVAC, sump pump and some lights). A 15kW to 20kW generator can run a small home (no air conditioning), and 21kW to 25kW can run a small to medium-sized home, with the higher kW generators able to support an air conditioning system.

    • Generac®
    • KOHLER®
  • A smart transfer switch is programmed to deliver electricity to certain high-priority areas or appliances in the house before others during an outage.
  • Call us at 1-855-457-5700 for expert answers to technical questions.

Cost FAQs

  • The cost varies due to several factors:

    • The size of the generator
    • Where the generator is installed and whether or not additional piping and wiring work is needed
    • Whether or not special permitting is required by your city

    We will send out a licensed plumber or electrician to walk you through all of your options and provide a final estimate.

  • No. It's not possible to give an accurate quote over the phone because every house is constructed and laid out differently.
  • We have financing options available. Financing is very flexible and is determined on a case-by-case basis with payment plans up to 10 years. If you pay outright, 50% is usually due at the beginning of the installation, and the rest is due upon completion.