Despite how commonly they occur, power outages are nearly impossible to predict. They can be caused by anything from extreme local weather to sudden man-made accidents. This doesn't mean you have to watch your food spoil or stumble around in the dark looking for a flashlight. With a whole home generator nearby, you'll always be prepared to handle a power failure.
Whole Home Generators vs. Portable Generators
When shopping for a generator, it's important to distinguish between a whole house model and a portable model. While portable models are much cheaper, they're generally not equipped to power your entire house. In fact, in many cases, portable generators can only power several appliances at a time during an outage.
If you're looking for something in the range of $500 to $1,500, opt for a portable generator for your home. You might find it helpful to make a list of the most crucial appliances in your home, since you'll have to make some decisions when the power goes out. Also be prepared to manually start the generator.
Whole Home Generators
If you want a generator that can run every appliance in a 3,000-square-foot home, look for options that offer up to 30kW of power. However, if you're generally not a heavy energy-user, you can opt for a 20kW model. In addition to the convenience of back-up power, expect a built-in transfer switch to automatically start the generator during a blackout.
Adding a 30kW standby generator to your home can cost around $15,000, with much of this going toward installation. Expect the installation process to be completed by licensed professionals. For example, both an electrician and a plumber will likely be needed, as well as someone to inspect the finished project. Enlisting the help of these professionals will keep you and your family safe and the system operating correctly.
A whole home generator will sit outside of the home, a safe distance from the structure. A carbon monoxide detector is required to monitor for dangerous exhaust. Local laws might also require the generator to sit on a concrete pad or compacted sand and pea gravel. Check with a local utility company to find out the specific requirements.
Once the installation is complete, you can rest easy knowing you're well prepared for unexpected power outages.