Emergency Whole Home Generator: Is it worth it?
The last decade has left South Texans with a wary eye toward the sky; even with improved storm modeling, severe storms are difficult to predict. When heavy winds rise, the result can be massive power outages that last for days or weeks. Severe storms bring heavy winds that down trees and limbs over a wide swath of ground. Utility repair crews work hard to bring the grid back online, but it takes time.
The cost of portable emergency home generators has come down and many homeowners are opting to prepare for power outages before they come. If you have been rolling this matter around, here are some things to consider.
What is Essential Power Needs When Selecting a Home Generator?
Examine your home electrical use and determine what is essential to keep your home healthy and safe. If a family member depends upon electrical medical equipment, a generator may be a requirement. Create a priority list of circuits that need to function in an emergency. This will help you decide the size Home Generator needed and determine which circuits need to be energized.
Know Your Appliances
Homes with appliances that use natural gas will weather severe storms differently than all-electric homes. Ovens, ranges, water heaters, and heaters may still need electricity to ignite a flame, but the amount of electricity needed is very low. This will make a difference during wintertime outages. It also helps you determine circuit priorities for sizing.
Preparing for a Home Generators
Your investigations will help you determine the size of your generator. The “size” refers to the capacity to generate electricity; generally, large output generators take up more space. You will need a secure space to store the generator, cables, and a canopy tent to protect your investment. Prepare for at least a 4’ cube to allow space for needed equipment. For most single-family homes, this presents no problem; in multi-family buildings, a generator might not be practical.
You will also need space to operate the generator, at least 15’ away from the home to ensure carbon monoxide does not make its way inside. NEVER OPERATE A GENERATOR INDOORS!
You will also need to prepare a space for fuel storage. Prepare for several gallons of fuel in approved plastic containers. Use a fuel additive to stabilize the fuel when storing it for more than a few days.
Seriously Consider a Transfer Switch
A generator alone has a limited impact during major power outages. Multiple extension cords must run from the generator to various appliances and power strips; getting power to the air conditioner is problematic. But, there is a better way! A transfer switch receives the power from the generator and sends it to the service panel.
The transfer switch makes sure electricity from your generator does not journey outside the house to the utility power grid. This protects unsuspecting repair crew members. As soon as power is restored from the grid, the power from the generator is switched “off.”
An electrician will use your priority list to determine which circuits receive power at the service panel. The number of circuits receiving power is determined by the size of the generator. The transfer switch can give you power where you need it most. If your priority list includes the AC and/or the furnace, you can make it happen.
Plan for Alternatives
If you don’t have a backup generator set up, preparing for a potential multiple-day power outage should include some alternative sources of power and comfort. Make sure that portable chargers are charged and ready, and consider solar-powered chargers for small handheld devices. Explore public spaces that might provide a few hours of relief and possibly some internet connectivity. Tune into emergency broadcasts frequently to stay prepared. If you don’t want to go through all the hassle of finding power, you should seriously consider a standby generator.
With our four decades of experience as a Commercial Electrical Services contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help determine which Home Generator is right for your home.
We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at 281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.