As electricians, we don’t ever hope for someone’s power to go out. However, sometimes an issue or violent weather happens that makes it unavoidable. This is especially true in the Northwest, with winter windstorms and occasional snow leaving many without power. Seattleites may even remember the equipment failure earlier this year that left 20,000 people without power. Situations like these are unpredictable, even if you’re doing everything to try and save power.
If you do want to prepare yourself for the unexpected, maybe it’s time to start considering investing in a power generator. There’s nothing worse than being stuck without power for days on end and many homes within city limits aren’t equipped to handle your needs without electricity, relying on central electric heating. Having a generator handy can make all the difference. It’s not something you ever really want to use, but having a generator in your garage can be the difference between being stuck in the cold and staying safe and comfortable. Generators don’t have to be a massive, complicated investment, either. We’ll walk through what specs to look for and how to stay within your budget.
Portable vs. Standby
There are essentially two types of generators you need to know: portable and standby. You can infer a lot just from their names. Somewhat obviously, portable generators are ones that you can move around from place to place. If you’ve ever watched someone pull a generator out of their garage to get the power going again, this is a portable generator. In contrast, a standby generator is one that’s implemented more-or-less as a permanent fixture outside your home. They automatically will start running as soon as the power goes out.
Whereas you can sometimes get a portable generator for as low as a few hundred dollars, standby generators are going to start in the thousands range. What it comes down to is how much you’re willing to invest and what your commitment is to ease of use. What’s nice about the standby generators is that you don’t have to lift a finger – they’ll take care of themselves and you won’t miss a beat. However, if you’re not planning on living in your home for the long haul then it’s a costly investment that you can’t take with you. A portable generator will stick with you as long as you want to move it around, but it requires much more work to use and can be especially annoying when you’re trying to set up in the dark during a snowstorm. There’s no right or wrong answer here – it’s about what works best for you.
Decide How Much Power You Need
Is your refrigerator running? Well you better go… get the proper generator to accommodate its electrical needs. Jokes aside, one of the main factors in buying a generator is going to determine on your intended use. Do you want a generator that’s just going to keep the lights on or are you trying to keep everything from your HVAC to freezer working? If you’re leaning toward the latter, double check your appliances and see what their wattage needs are.
How Long Will You Need Power
Aside from the power to turn your appliances on, you’ll need to think about how long you’d like to keep them that way. Some people are fine with turning on their generators at key times to just get some basic housework done, like cooking or using the washroom. However, if for whatever reason you need to keep the power on for longer then you’re going to need a generator that’s up to the task. You can also check your home’s electrical panel to see what the maximum wattage your home can take at a given time and find a generator that matches those needs.
Feeling like it’s time to invest in a generator but not sure what’s right for the limitations of your home? Wire Craft can help. Give us a call and our team of electricians will help you find the right generator for you. We can also help proof your home from other potential issues like wiring and repairing faulty outlets.