Choosing a Backup Generator for your Home
Updated: Mar 13
Electricity is a commodity that we often take for granted until we experience a power outage. If you have experienced a power outage before, you know they come with stress, discomfort, boredom, and even panic the longer the outage lasts. Power outages can disrupt our livelihood and safety, and that is why many turn to generators as a backup power source.
What can cause a power outage?
Power outages can occur for several reasons, the most common being storms and harsh weather conditions. Lightening, rain, flooding, snow, ice, and wind are the usual culprits, however, fallen trees, equipment and human error, and even an accident involving a power line can cause an outage. Sometimes utility companies do scheduled maintenance, resulting in a power outage, although those are usually communicated with homeowners before the fact. In some areas of the country, utility companies have “Brownout” or “Blackout” times when power demand becomes too high and they are at risk of equipment damage. This protects the grid from overload but can leave residents with decreased power or an outage altogether for parts of the day. This leaves residents at the mercy of the utility companies.
Portable vs Standby Generators
There are two main types of generators that can be used for backup power in the case of an outage: a portable generator and a standby generator. A portable generator is a more cost-effective solution and can provide power for essentials, however, they have some downsides. Standby generators are professionally installed outside your home (like an AC unit) and kick on as soon as a power outage is detected.
No Installation Required
Can be used for other Recreational uses
Greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
Runs on gasoline which is more expensive than propone or natural gas
Can be loud
Cannot power your whole home
Have to refuel often
Provides 24/7 protection
Installed outside-no hazardous fumes or loud sounds
Runs on natural gas or propane
Able to backup your whole home
Safer & more reliable
Long life expectancy when paired with routine maintenance
More costly investment
Installation required by Electrical Contractor
They both have pros and cons, but we recommend a standby generator as they provide a solution within seconds of the power going out, can provide power for your whole home, are more convenient to use, and are safer overall. The only real downside is the cost of the generator and installation-but if you can afford it there is really no comparison.
How a Standby Generator Works
Seconds after your home experiences a power outage, your home backup generator will kick on using an automatic transfer switch. It will continue to run until utility power returns, whether the power is out for 1 hour or 1 week. They are very durable and reliable and can continue to run even in the harshest weather.
Your home backup generator will produce power using propane or a natural gas fuel source and deliver it directly to your home’s electrical system, therefore it is recommended for Standby generators to be installed by experienced and qualified electricians.
You will need to consider getting a propane tank installed as well if your residence does not already have one or access to natural gas.
When purchasing a home backup generator you will need to choose one based on your energy needs and the size of your home.
How do I choose the right size?
The number one question when choosing a home backup generator is do you want to power just the “necessities” or your whole home? Then based on the size of your home, and your energy needs you can choose a generator that best fits your home and your needs.
We suggest using the Generac Sizing Calculator or contact Day Electric at email@example.com for assistance.
Day Electric is an Authorized Dealer, Installer, and Service-Provider of Generac. For further information on Generac products and Installation reach out to Day Electric.