Protect Against Power Outages with a Backup Generator

Does your neck of the woods experience frequent and drawn-out power outages? Whether from a storm or other cause, the last time your electricity went out can be the last time you’re left in the dark without power — if you have a generator. particularly if you have essential medical equipment or work from home and must stay connected, a backup generator can protect against frustrating disruptions.

There are basically two types of generators to choose from: a standby generator and a portable backup generator. Sometimes “standby” and “portable” are used interchangeably, but there really are differences. Unlike a portable backup generator, which you store in the garage or cellar and roll out during an emergency, a standby generator is permanently installed on a gravel bed or concrete pad next to your house. If the power goes out, an electronic switch automatically signals the unit to turn on, keeping household systems and appliances running even if you’re miles away. The main appeal of a portable generator over a standby generator is price. Consider the pros and cons of both before deciding which generator will best meet your family’s needs and provide adequate power in an emergency situation.

To help decide whether a standby generator or portable backup generator is best for your situation, first consider what you want your generator to power. Just appliances and lights? Computers and home electronics, too? Do you have in-home medical equipment that is a priority?  If you need a generator for recreational or job site usage, think about the tools or appliances you will want to use at the same time. Will you need to power work lights along with your tools? What about a radio? On camping or fishing trips, how many outdoor cooking, heating or entertainment appliances or accessories will you and your family or friends be using at once?

Next, determine what it takes to start each appliance. Ensure you’ll be able to start (not simply run) your appliances. The “starting wattage” is the total of wattage needed to start an appliance with a motor; and it may be two to three times the wattage required to run the appliance. If you have owner’s manuals, check for your appliances’ listed start-up wattages (vs. the running wattage or the rated wattage).

Keep in mind that generators are sized according to wattage produced; the more watts, the bigger the unit—and the higher the price tag.  With the knowledge you now have about your power needs, you can shop for a reputable brand, such as a Generac generator. Generac has earned a reputation as the company that home and business owners turn to when the power goes out.

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