Growing up in the hurricane state, my family was no stranger to severe storms, high winds, flooding, and lengthy power outages. I think the longest outage we had was my freshmen year of high school. Hurricane Floyd wreaked just enough havoc to take our power out for a solid week. Schools were canceled and we had 5 days of being cooped up inside. Luckily my parents were prepared and with a back-up generator ready to go when the storm hit. That week our house became the party house among my friends, as we were the only ones on the block with a working refrigerator, television, and lights.
The generator got many more uses after that, as several more hurricanes and tropical storms made landfall on Florida’s east coast through the years. You can read all about my experiences with various hurricanes and tropical storms in THIS post. We’ve been extremely lucky in the severe storm department. I’d say if the biggest issue we had was worrying about the power going out, then we were doing alright.
As a kid losing power meant not being able to watch tv or play video games. As an adult, it takes on a whole new meaning with the potential of not being able to work or losing hundreds of dollars of food in the fridge. It also means not relying on parents to be the ones who are prepared, it’s our turn to find a generator that would fit our family’s needs.
If you’ve ever thought about buying a generator of your own – especially with the impending threat of Hurricane Sandy currently out there -and wondered what you should be looking for, here are a couple of options:
The Portable Generator
A portable generator is ideal for camping, tailgating, worksites and other locations were temporary, portable power is needed. True to its name, a portable generator can be moved from one location to the next and is designed to provide a limited supply of power. When power is lost to a home, some people use a portable generator to power things like a refrigerator, sump pump or lights, however, a portable generator is not the best option for long-term backup power needs.
A portable generator runs on gasoline, which means you have to fill it every few hours, which can be challenging during an emergency situation. All items being powered by the portable generator must be plugged into the unit using properly rated extension cords. Most importantly, a portable generator MUST be kept outside in a properly vented area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Standby Generator
A standby generator, which many experts feel is the best option for homeowners or small businesses, permanently connects to your home, similar to a central air-conditioning unit. It runs on propane or natural gas and connects directly to existing fuel lines in the home. When utility power is lost, a standby generator automatically turns on, typically within 10 seconds. You don’t have to be home to operate the unit. Depending on the size, a standby generator can power an entire home or a few key appliances.
If you’re thinking about getting a standby generator, there are a few things you should look for:
- A commercial-grade engine that provides clean, consistent power and can handle heavy loads.
- An attractive design. The unit will be installed outside your home, so looks truly matter.
- Corrosion-resistant housing, which is important in areas with salt water.
- Quiet operation.
- An extended warranty. Look for a standby generator with a minimum five-year warranty
You can read up on power outage safety tips here.
Leading manufacturers like Kohler make it easy to research, size and price standby generators. You can find informational videos, sizing calculators and other helpful tools at http://www.kohlergenerators.com.
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.