A whole home generator should be on every homeowner’s mind as a checklist item for home essentials. The U.S. Energy Administration reported that the average utility customer had 1.3 power interruptions each year, that averaged about six hours.
This is completely dependent on the area you live in, and the energy companies that service your region. For example, utility customers in North Carolina spent an average of 30 hours without power in 2018.
These power interruptions can be catastrophic depending on the situation that you or a loved one could find themselves in. For some, losing power for extended periods of time could mean that some temperature controlled medications or life support systems could be rendered ineffective. It could also mean that your climate control systems, such as your air conditioner or furnace could stop working during certain extremely cold or hot temperatures.
With a whole-home generator, you can keep all the electronics in your home, including your furnace or air conditioner, working during a power outage.
What Causes Power Outages?
According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, Weather-Related Power Outages and Electric System Resiliency, almost 50% of large power outages are caused by severe weather. Most of these severe weather occurrences are from lightning, wind, and rain. The CRS found that the next highest cause of large power outages is equipment failure (almost 30%). No matter the cause, large power outages affect millions of homeowners and can wreak havoc on you and your house.
Is It a Good Idea to Purchase A Generator for My Home?
A backup generator can power a house for days after a blackout. However, they can be complex machines that should not be installed by yourself and require a bit of an investment. Before making the final decision to buy a home backup generator, it is good to review its advantages and disadvantages. It is also important to consider the fuel sources. A backup generator also acts as an insurance policy.
Whether it is worth the investment depends on one’s tolerance for power interruptions, budget, and personal situation. People who rely on electricity to power medical equipment, live in an area with frequent, prolonged blackouts, or work at home and need uninterrupted power should invest in a backup generator. Having a generator installed is also an excellent option for anyone who wants peace of mind to be prepared for unexpected situations.
Standby Generators, or whole house generators, are backup generators that automatically power your home when the electricity goes out. When the whole house generator detects a brownout or blackout, it can automatically begin to provide power within a certain period of time. Standby generators are normally installed directly outside of your home, similar to an outdoor unit of an HVAC system and require a professional installation.
During the home generator installation process, a standby generator is connected to your home’s natural gas or propane lines so that it can provide power indefinitely for as long as you need. While a standby generator typically powers your whole home, it can also be customized to only power certain appliances and electronics, based upon your needs.
If you take the necessary precautions to secure your home, then your home insurance company could compensate you through reduced premium costs.
Many insurers will give you a discount of about 5% on your homeowners premium for installing an automatic standby generator.
Whole-home generators are sized according to wattage output. With three broad categories of house generators available, almost any level of home power needs can be ensured if electricity is interrupted.
- Critical circuits only. With ratings ranging from 7 KW to 12 KW output, these models can power a limited number of essential circuits to keep the house habitable such as lights, cooking equipment, refrigerator and communications.
- Managed output. These mid-sized house generators deliver 12 to 20 KW and incorporate intelligent technology that detects changing load demands in the household circuits. The generator continuously reallocates wattage to keep the maximum number of circuits powered up at the same time.
- Whole-house power. With wattage outputs up to 50 KW, these large units can completely replace all grid electricity and accommodate the power demands of all circuits in the home.