Reasons You Might Want to Install a Generator

A generator can help homeowners weather the storm and stay comfortable. Mr. Electric lists a few reasons why you might want to install one. Learn more!

Do I need a generator? With recent weather extremes and more frequent power outages, this is a common question pondered by homeowners. Could this seeming nicety be a necessity for today’s family? Mr. Electric knows a few reasons why you may want to consider installing a generator to ensure the safety and comfort of your family.

Reasons You Need a Generator

  • Power Outages are Becoming More Frequent
    There’s no shortage of reasons for power outages, which have been increasing nationwide at an alarming rate for the past 10 years. In fact, the Dept. of Energy and North American Electric Reliability Corporation note American citizens endure more power outages, for longer periods of time, than any other developed nation worldwide. These occur from:
    • Extreme weather such as lightning, high-winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, and ice/snowstorms.
    • Natural disasters like floods, fires, and earthquakes.
    • Damage from animals (second to weather-related outages).
    • Supply shortfalls leading to blackouts, such as during heat waves and winter storms.
    • Issues with components in the nation’s aging electrical grid.
    • Automobile accidents.
  • Your Family’s Comfort & Safety is Important
    A generator can help your family weather the storm and stay comfortable, keeping essential electronics like sump pumps, well pumps, HVAC/furnaces, refrigerator/freezers, ovens, lights, fans, and more in play when power is out. With the aid of a backup generator, the use of home security devices can also be maintained, helping you guard against break-ins and theft.
  • Replacements & Repairs are Expensive
    Protecting such normal day-to-day operations can safeguard you from the financial hardships of power outages, such as the need for hotel stays, replacing spoiled food, repairs from frozen/burst pipes, sump pump failure, and more.

Is a Generator the Answer for Your Family?

Those preparing for hurricane season or upcoming winter snowstorms may be considering a generator addition. But before rushing out to make a pre-storm purchase, Mr. Electric strongly suggests you ask yourself the following:

  • Are Generators Allowed Where You Live?
    If you live in an area where a power loss happens frequently and power restoration can take a long time, installing a backup generator is a no-brainer. However, portable generators can be noisy, leading some homeowner’s associations or subdivisions to outlaw them. In this case, quieter standby generators may offer a solution. (Read on to learn more.)
  • Will Fuel Source Availability be an Issue?
    Since the power is out, generators need to run on alternative energy. In this case, a gas or diesel generator must be used if access to propane or natural gas lines is unavailable.
  • Who Will Install Your Generator?
    Playing with gas and/or electricity is not for amateurs. Generators must be professionally installed and connected to your home to avoid significant damage to your home and ensure the safety of your family and electrical grid workers

All Systems Go? How to Determine Generator Size

Generators models are sold based on kilowatts generated. Some are capable of powering your entire home, while others handle just a few essential appliances. To determine the right size generator to meet the needs of your home, you must carefully calculate the wattage of essential items you would simultaneously run with your generator, including the peak electrical load of large appliances such as HVAC, which can draw more power on startup than during operation. Not sure how to do this? Consulting with an electrical professional from Mr. Electric can help you avoid purchasing an undersized generator and overloading the unit during operation.

Portable Vs. Standby Models

There are two types of generators:

  • Portable
    Smaller and less expensive ($500-1500), portable generators power just a few essentials, helping your family get by until power is restored. They must be manually started and connected to appliances, however, making them much less convenient, especially in hazardous situations. Improperly located, the also carry a risk of deadly carbon monoxide exposure.
  • Stationary/Standby
    Standby generators cost more than portable models ($5,000-15,000), however they manage all/most of a home’s electrical needs in the event of an outage. With much quieter operation than portable models, they are typically powered by natural gas or propane. Professionally installed with a transfer switch, they initiate automatically when power goes out, preventing service interruptions.

Payback Potential

Beyond peace-of-mind, return-on-investment varies by location, with hurricane-prone or weather-mishap-plagued areas offering a near-total return-on-investment.

Don’t get caught in the dark. Face power outages with certainty with the help of a generator addition from Mr. Electric today.

This blog is made available by Mr. Electric for educational purposes only to give the reader general information and a general understanding on the specific subject above. The blog should not be used as a substitute for a licensed electrical professional in your state or region. Check with city and state laws before performing any household project.