A power outage calls for a backup generator. When there are storms, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, it’s never certain when power will be restored.  Backup generators keep you prepared in emergency situations. There are two varieties of generators, portable and permanent standby. Buy based on your home’s location and how much power you’ll need if the lights stop.

Permanent Standby

Permanent standby generators are located outside the home and are always on standby.   They use an existing fuel source, liquid propane or natural gas, and can re-energize your home seconds after it loses power. Downsides include high prices, and the need for licensed electricians to install these generators. Also, your local utility company must be notified that you have a back-up system. However, those who live in an areas that constantly see power outages may find this type the best option.

Portable Generators

Portable generators maintain power on 2-3 electrical items during a power outage. They are small, portable, and use gasoline for fuel. Never run them inside the home or any enclosed area, because fatal carbon monoxide gas can accumulate. Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors indoors if using this type, and never add fuel while the unit is running or hot.  Use extension cords to connect to portable generators and run inside to power smaller appliances. Furthermore, a portable generator may be your best option if you stay aware of your energy consumption. Depending on the model, they can generate between 2,500 and 4,500 watts.

Tips on buying:

  • Homes in FL (and other places that have hot temperatures and high humidity) need to back up the air conditioning system to prevent mold damage.
  • A refrigerator or stand-alone freezer has to be connected to a generator system to preserve food.
  • Houses with well water need to have the well pump on the generator system to flush toilets.
  • Determine the size of the generator based on the watts, or ask an electrician for help.
  • Figure out your budget, and purchase accordingly.
  • Decide if you want a system that operates automatically.