Whether it is man-made or simply part of a natural weather cycle, climate change appears to be producing summer storms along the East Coast that are increasing both in frequency and intensity. Combine the fury of these storms with an aging power infrastructure, and the result is an increase in the occurrence and duration of power outages.
This is leading many homeowners to consider buying a generator as a backup for at least a minimal amount of their electrical needs. Some generators can supply all of the power needed to live a regular lifestyle during an outage.
With the power supplied by a generator comes an increase in cost and complexity. Here are a few examples of generator choices, including both their advantages and drawbacks.
As is the case with most portable appliances, portable generators offer a wealth of convenience but a minimal supply of power during a power outage.
These generators run on fuels such as gasoline and propane, which are usually easy to procure and store for emergencies. They require little space when not in use and are simple to operate and use.
They are equipped with power outlets such as those in the home, and you simply plug extension cords into the outlets and use them to power essential appliances such as refrigerators and lights. Some larger models offer enough power for a few additional luxuries such as TVs and modems.
During a massive blackout, you may run out of gasoline or propane and be unable to refill your generators until fuel suppliers have electricity to provide service.
While keeping essential appliances running may seem a blessing in the first few days of a power outage, the lack of other basic amenities will eventually challenge modern families who have a home filled with electronic gadgets and short attention spans from easy access to information and entertainment.
As the name suggests, these generators can supply enough electricity to power an entire home during an outage. Because they are equipped with sensors that can automatically switch to generator power when an outage occurs, there's no lag time, no smelly fuel to handle, and no extension cords and limited power. Your family can live as normal.
They are much more expensive than portable models. Cost increases with the power needs of the home and the size of the generator. Whole house generators will run on natural gas or propane.
While the flow of natural gas may only be disrupted by damage to the infrastructure, which is unlikely unless there is a cataclysmic event, propane supplies may be disrupted by a simple prolonged area-wide outage. Of course, you can always keep a large storage tank filled if you have the property space and the financial ability.
You must have a whole-house generator wired directly into your home's main power supply, so if you intend to choose this option, you must also choose among electricians like CMC Electric and hire one to connect the generator to your home.
If you can afford it, a whole house generator may be one of the best investments you can make in times of uncertainty about the future of the power grid and climate change.