Is a Whole House Generator Really Worth It?

Consider this: 3.5 million Americans are left without power in any given week; many households experience up to five power outages annually.

When asking yourself whether or not you need a whole house generator, consider this: 3.5 million Americans are left without power in any given week. Many households experience up to five power outages annually.

Power outages can wreak havoc with your home: burst pipes, freezing or sweltering temperatures, loss of lighting, spoiled food – all puts family members at risk as does loss of safety alarms. Add to that the possibility of a home-based business going dark for a few days and computer data loss, and the result can be costly and frustrating. 

Whole house generators kick in automatically in the event your home goes off the grid. They supply the energy your family needs to keep operating normally until the power is restored. They also add value to your home. All things considered, they’re worth their weight in gold.

How it works

Whole house generators work off fuels such as natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Your fixed standby generator is connected to your home’s electrical wiring (usually indoors) and the fuel source. It may be started automatically or manually. The advantages of an automatic system are obvious. The ‘auto transfer switch’ detects a power outage and starts itself. When the grid voltage is restored, the system will connect you back to the utility lines and turn itself off. The process should be seamless with a transfer time of about 30 seconds or less.

Choosing Your Whole House Generator

Standby generators are connected and ready to go. They may be started by the push of a button or set on automatic. Standbys come in a variety of sizes and workload capacities. Rating ranges from five kilowatt up to hundreds of kW. This makes them far superior to portables and the best choice for long-lasting outages.

Look for generators with a built-in transfer switch. This will ensure that you do not have to turn the unit on by hand in the event of an outage.

Durability is important. Generators made from stainless steel resist corrosion better than those made from aluminum of carbon steel.

Inquire about fuel efficiency. Units using a revolving field to generate power operate near 25 percent more efficiently than units using a revolving armature. This reduces fuel costs and saves you money. Your choice of fuel is important too. What fuel is readily available in your area? Which is cheapest?

Standby generators require professional installation. Standbys come with their own platform but larger sizes may require a concrete foundation for stabilizing. Fuel tanks are usually placed 3 to 5 feet from the house. And as generators will produce some sound while operating, you will want to place the unit near a garage or at least away from bedroom windows should it have to run overnight.

Your generator choice will depend on the size of your house and the amount of electrical appliances you want to keep operating during an outage. Installing a generator before the next big storm will ensure you'll worry less as we go through the summer. Plus you’ll enjoy peace of mind that your home and family is safe.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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