If you’ve ever been in a blackout that lasted for more than a few minutes, you’ve not only learned to appreciate the luxury of high definition television—you now realize the importance of having a back-up plan. Discomfort is one thing (or maybe we just mean missing out on the game), but money and sustenance are a different ballgame. In the wake of powerful of hurricanes, tornados, and winter storms, people realize that in order to maintain a good quality of life during power outages, an emergency power generator is necessary. The unfortunate part is that most people realize this necessity after they’ve experience a grueling power outage.
In a long power outage, things can happen that could have been prevented if an emergency power generator was on hand. It may be easy to just think of lighting candles or using a flashlight when the power goes out, but a longer outage affects more than just light—beginning with central air. Though you may be able to generate a small amount of heat by doing a few jumping jacks, or chasing the dog who stole your sandwich in the dark, the winter can be cold in many areas where outages are a serious problem—and you can only do so many jumping jacks. In the opposite sense, it doesn’t take long for your home to become a sweatbox during summer’s hottest and most humid days with no AC. And who wants all that refrigerator food to spoil? Think about the dollar amount of money that the food in your refrigerator and freezer are worth… one could buy a small island with the amount of money in food in some refrigerators! Oh, and don’t forget that if your home relies on well water, it is electricity which powers the pump into your home, so flushing the toilets or getting a drink from the sink won’t be an option.
Power Outages Can Be Devastating
When thinking about whether an emergency generator is necessary, it’s important to remember what really matters. It’s not just about having AC or losing money on food—if you have elderly folks, children, or pets under your roof, it can lead to serious problems if there’s no electricity to generate what’s necessary to sustain life. From the temperature of your fish tank water to an elderly parent’s breathing machine, modern life revolves heavily around a continuous source of electricity.
We’re not asking you to dwell on terrible possibilities, but it is important to remember that the cost of an emergency power generator could be well worth your dollars when it comes to preventing worst-case scenarios. The fact remains that having at least some kind of back-up plan is a good idea, and can save a big headache in the long run.
How Generators Fit In
Emergency back-up generators can be some of the most useful systems on the market when it comes to having a plan. It’s not about assuming the worst or being negative—it’s about planning positively for the future. Nobody wants to fear an outage, but when you hear about the winter storm warning, you can’t help but think about the possibility of a power outage. With an emergency back-up generator on hand, not only will you have a great way to produce some much-needed electricity in a power outage, but you’ll also live with peace of mind.
A regular emergency power generator will produce much more electricity than a portable one. Unlike the portable version, these are installed as a permanent piece of equipment. A good one will last a lifetime. High-quality emergency generators will comfortably produce all the electricity your home needs for days, according to the type of fuel source. Some can be installed with natural gas reserves, and others can be powered with an underground propane or diesel tank. They’re usually installed on a small concrete pad just like your central air conditioning unit, and they also look pretty similar to your AC unit, too. Smaller units may also be a good option—they’ll do more than a portable generator, but less than a whole-house system. Depending on your needs, you can assess what kind of generator to get.
How It Works
To explain how it works in simple terms, an emergency back-up generator taps into the electrical grid of your home when your connection to utility power is interrupted. It’s got an internal engine that runs based on fuel by diesel, gas, or propane (so if these items may become limited during an outage, you may want to plan to have extra in case an extended outage occurs). Then, when utility power is reestablished, the generator disconnects once again from the grid. It’s a pretty remarkable process to happen automatically.
Just like any form of electricity, emergency back-up generators have a few challenges that you may want to be aware of. First, they can be expensive, especially if you’re going for the big package. They can also be tricky to install. You’ll have to obtain the correct permit to install a whole-house system, complete with underground reservoir. Since there are many restrictions on where installation can occur, as well as where tanks are located, be sure to rely only on a professional to install your emergency back-up generator and cover all the bases. If your generator is producing continuous electricity for more than 24-48 hours, it may also need to be serviced. But when it comes down to the wire, these challenges can be worth it when you’re able to sustain an at-home business during a power outage, or provide electricity for someone who relies on an electricity-based machine to survive.
So, whether you’re thinking of staying warm when the winter storm hits, or you’re responsible for those who need continuous electricity, an emergency back-up generator can be a great solution to ensure your family remains happy and healthy, even in a major power outage. Just make sure you install it the right way and stay up on the necessary maintenance. You’ll be glad you did it when the lights go out.