Choosing the right generator for your home
Having a backup generator in your home is crucial if you want to have life go on as normal through any major winter storms, a hurricane or even a simple, random power outage. A generator can also help you save money by preventing major home damage. But before buying a generator, it makes sense to think about which one is right for you and your home by getting the facts and asking some important questions.
Permanent or portable generators? How do you choose which is best for you?
First you need to understand the differences between the two:
These generators usually run on propane or natural gas and are permanently installed outside of your home. If you lose power, the generator switches on automatically and begins supplying electricity to your home within seconds. While standby generators can be costly, if you live in an ice storm, hurricane or flood-prone area, they prove to be a very worthwhile investment.
This type of generator normally runs on gasoline or diesel, though natural gas and propane generators are also available. With easier mobility and lower cost, a portable generator is the perfect option for only limited and occasional backup power requirements. However, there are a number of very important safety issues that should be considered (see below).
Whether you choose a standby or portable generator for your home, the decision will most likely be based upon three very important criteria:
- Where you live, is the geographic location more prone to flooding or storm damage
- Home size
- Types and number of appliances and equipment that require backup power during an outage
IMPORTANT GENERATOR INFORMATION
Standby Generator Installation
Installation of standby generators involves permits, knowledge of building codes, and expert skill in electrical and plumbing work (as well as gas line work, if your power source is natural gas), so it is important to have this work handled professionally.
Key Benefits of Standby Generators:
- Powers all of the essential appliances that you depend on to keep life running as normal, likeyour refrigerator, cooking appliances, furnace, medical devices, and necessary business equipment. It also prevents hundreds of dollars in spoiled food wastage, while keeping your home warm and comfortable.
- Prevents frozen pipes and basement flooding. Below-freezing weather and prolonged loss of power can lead to frozen pipes leading to damage that may cause thousands, or tens of thousands, of dollars, a standby generator also supplies power to sump pumps, to prevent flooding.
- Adds value to your home particularly if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather, like hurricanes, ice storms and flooding.
- Total peace of mind. Losing power isn’t just inconvenient, it can be stressful. A standby generator provides the comfort and safety of always providing light, heat, use of your favorite entertainment devices and any medical devices that require power during any outage.
Portable Generator Benefits & Safety
Overall, a portable generator is a good, back-up solution for people that only lose power on rare occasions. Here’s why:
- The price of a portable generator is substantially less than that of a standby generator
- Smaller size enables you take it wherever you need it —emergency backup at home, on camping trips, etc.
- With the addition of a properly installed generator transfer switch, a portable generator can be used to supply power safely to a select number of items in your home. However, powering your home without a transfer switch is NOT recommended. Never plug your portable generator directly into the wall outlet (known as backfeeding) as it can send a power surge beyond your house, which could kill or injure utility workers or anyone else served by the same utility transformer.
Portable Generator Safety
- A portable generator must remain outside in a dry area, but never in your home or any enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces such as your basement, garage, or crawl space because the carbon monoxide (CO) that is emitted while the machine is running, as well as the risk of electrocution and fire.
Before choosing which generator is best for you:
- Think about the amount of times that you lose power in any given year
- Talk with a professional, like anyone on the Atlas Glen-mor team, to help you decide whether a standby or portable generator is right for your home.