Power outages are a way of life. Severe heat, severe storms, and accidents can all cause blackouts for long periods of time, making a backup power generator a necessity.
You’ll have several different options for picking the right generator, so let’s go through the pros and cons of each.
Portable Gas Generators
Portable gas generators are the traditional option and the one that most people are familiar with. These generators can run on gas, diesel, propane or natural gas.
Advantages: These generators are usually the least expensive option. They are simple to hook up with extension cords. You do have to place the generator outside for safety purposes, running outdoor-rated cords through open doors and windows. This can make this “advantage” a little less palatable.
Disadvantages: You only get about 12 hours of run-time per tank of gas or propane. You also have to be at home in order to turn this type of generator on.
Tips:Of the four fuel types, propane is the safest and the easiest to store. During a power outage you can’t rely on the local gas station to have power, either, which can make powering up a diesel or gasoline generator a major challenge.
Solar Backup Generators
Solar “plug and play” back-up generators are a relatively new option. They come with a solar panel and a large battery. Various appliances can then be plugged into the battery for however long it lasts.
Advantages:These generators are safe to run indoors. They’re also incredibly easy to use. They don’t require any fuel at all, except the sun. You can also pre-charge the battery on your home outlets and then re-charge it on the solar panel if the outage lasts. As far as price goes they’re less expensive than a home standby generator but more expensive than a portable gas generator.
Disadvantages: These generators will only run a few carefully chosen appliances for any length of time. You might run a fan, a lamp, and a cell phone charger, for example. They’re not much help with your fridge and you can forget running your AC on them.
Tips:If you buy one of these take the time to really understand what it’s capable of doing. Have a plan for how you’re going to use it. If you don’t, you could find yourself extremely disappointed with the results.
Home Standby Generators
These generators tie directly into your home power system. Done correctly they can power your entire house, even your AC.
Advantages:These systems can run for a long time, and you won’t really experience a lifestle change while everyone else is going through the outage. You also don’t need to be home in order to turn them on.
Disadvantages:These systems are some of the most expensive.
Tips:A home standby generator requires a professional installation. They are absolutely not safe for DIY installations.
If you would like a home standby generator and you live in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, or elsewhere in the Triangle Area, give us a call! We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and give you a free estimate so that you have what it takes to weather your next power outage.