Just a few years ago, the thought of owning an emergency standby generator seemed somewhat silly and totally unnecessary. But with an aging power grid, living without electricity is all too common. Many homeowners simply cannot afford to ride out another power outage. Instead, they are installing home standby generators in record numbers to protect their families and investments. And, shopping for a backup generator online can help avoid the shortages and high prices of trying to purchase ANY kind of generator when a weather event makes even portable generators hard to find and costly.
The concept is really simple. Backup generators are permanently installed outside and operate just like a central air conditioner with two differences.
- Engine Instead of Motor. Air conditioners run off electric motors, which obviously won’t work during an outage. Home standby generators have engines instead. The systems can be connected to your natural gas line or liquid propane tank and generate electricity as long as fuel is supplied.
- Automatic Transfer Switches. Instead of using a thermostat, standby generators use an automatic transfer switch to monitor your utility power. When it goes out, the automatic transfer switch turns on the generator – whether you’re home or not – and automatically shuts it off when power is restored. Unlike portable generators, home standby generators operate automatically with no human intervention.
The first step in picking a home backup generator is to determine if you want to power your whole house, essential circuits or somewhere in between. Whole house generators are the ideal solution because they do power the whole house. Thankfully, the costs of whole house generators have come down substantially in recent years. They come in a variety of sizes. Use this whole house generator buyer’s guide to help find the perfect whole house generator for your needs.
If powering the entire home is not the best option for you, a smaller home standby generator will do the trick. With some creativity, we can help you maximize your investment by energizing as much of the house as possible. You basically have two options. The cheapest option is to simply power up to 16 essential circuits in your electrical panel.
If 16 circuits just aren’t enough, you can install a “smart circuit” generator instead. These new generators won’t power your entire house, but they’ll maximize the amount of electricity produced by your generator.
Now that you know how to pick a home standby generator, you can make your buying decision confidently and be well on your way to protecting your home and family when the next outage happens.