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In a past life I sold Generac and Briggs standbys, the Generac Guardian was the big seller because it was cheaper but generally required more frequent service. A 12kw and matching transfer switch is all you need if you have 100A service in the house, go bigger if you plan to add a/c, heat pumps etc later. IMHO the most important thing is to consider is a knowledgeable and supportive dealer. He may or may not handle the installation, we didn't but had qualified electricians and gasfitters available that understood our needs. Forget the mass retailer or buying online, that is just asking for trouble.
My last gig before retirement was on the sales and tech desk for the Canadian Briggs distributor. I took a lot of the standby calls from supposedly trained technicians, I finally let calls go from one who asked the same questions on every job he got!
 

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@3 Legged Dog I don't know where you are getting your numbers from, most older homes only have a 100A service so according to your figures the stove with a Sunday roast in the oven and four burners on would use all the available power.
 

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A 100A service is rated at 120VAC, 50A at 240VAC which is standard on most older homes. A newer home may have a 240VAC service but it is unlikely all circuits are being used to full capacity. For instance the A/C which has a heavy starting load won't be running in conjunction with the furnace. The danger comes in when a bigger genset and transfer switch are installed with a 100A service, the temptation is to overload the household circuit Conversely a smaller generator is at risk of being overloaded. They need to be properly matched.
 
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