Winter weather can knock down limbs, short out power lines, and cause many inconvenience problems for you. However, bad weather can also present significant safety challenges for children, the elderly, or those needing powered medical equipment in their home. When the power is off for an hour or two, it isn’t so bad, but severe storms have left people powerless for days or weeks. You can be prepared for the worst with a backup generator.
In deciding whether to buy a backup generator, start by thinking about what type of specific risks your family would face if the power was out for a few hours, or for 24 hours, or for several days. Here are some considerations:
- If neighbors or nearby family members have a generator, could you go to their house and stay with them for a short time?
- Do you live in a city where repair crews could reach you soon, or somewhere more remote?
- Are you able to generate safe heat in your home with a non-electric fireplace or other safe heat source? Remember that the fireplace fan won’t work.
- Does your family include infants, or anyone with serious health problems?
- Could you continue to prepare food without electricity?
Once you’ve listed the risks, decide what parts of your electrical system would be critical for your family to keep operating. The two main types of residential generators are portable and permanent standby. If you have natural gas appliances and a wood stove, and only need a few circuits to be operational, you might be alright with a portable generator. However, if you have an all electric home or you need to run the furnace and a well pump and a freezer, you will need a permanent standby model to power multiple circuits. For an easy way to determine the wattage you need, click this link for a calculator provided by Consumer Reports.
A portable backup system usually runs on gasoline, and can be purchased and customized to operate only the critical circuits you really need. A permanent standby generator is normally mounted on a concrete pad and is connected to your circuits with an automatic transfer switch. The switch starts the generator during a blackout and shuts it off when power comes back on. The good news about today’s backup generators is that you can buy the size you need for your family situation, they are relatively affordable, and they can keep your family safe.
Prices for equipment and installation run from about $1,500 to over $10,000, and should always be installed by a licensed electrician. Never attempt to plug a portable generator into your house’s electrical circuits without the services of a qualified professional. At Frye Electric, we are ready and able to show you the generators we offer, and to provide advice and guidance to help with your purchase. Just give us a call at 317-271-1099, or use our easy contact form!
If you already have a backup generator, what advice would you give to others who are thinking about buying one?