Home Generators 101

September 25, 2013 by Valerie Griffiths

Generators provide power – when and where you need it. Whether a Nor’easter knocks out your electricity or you’re camping in the middle of nowhere, you’re covered!

But do you really need one, and what are the options? Read on for answers to your top questions!

 

Q: Do I need a generator?

A: As the Boy Scout motto goes, “Be prepared.” Generators are central to emergency preparedness! Extended power outages can mean extreme temperatures and spoiled food. Generators offer peace of mind, powering everything from the fridge to the furnace and sump pump.

 

Q: What’s the difference between portable and standby generators?

A: Portable generators are temporary power sources that usually run on gas. They’re the smaller, more affordable option. Portable generators are ideal for powering a few critical devices for a matter of hours.

Standby or whole-house generators are large, permanent and powerful units. They provide uninterrupted backup power for days. Standby generators typically run on natural gas, eliminating the need to scramble for gasoline during an outage. “With 3.5 million Americans left without power in any given week, these generators may be worth considering,” the Huffington Post reports.

 

Q: Do I need a transfer switch?

A: You could run extension cords between your portable generator and appliances. But installing a transfer switch at the electrical panel is safer and more convenient. This quickly switches the electrical load from primary to backup power – without overloading your wiring.

 

Q: What costs might be involved?

A: Portable units range from $500 and $1,500, depending on the number of devices you’ll want to run. Whole-house generators are a greater investment, offering more protection. They can run from $5,000 to $10,000 and up.

For comfort, security and safety, it’s a great idea to invest in the generator that will best meet your needs!