A Discussion of Standby Generators

Imagine that you are in your home during an epic storm. The wind is horrible, the rain or snow is falling at a rate you have never seen before, and you have seen that the lights have flashed once or twice, meaning that the power may go out. What sort of resources and preparation have you done? Did you fill buckets with water in case the pump cannot work? Did you get a lot of ice to keep the food in the fridge safe? Did you charge the cell phone batteries and all of the other electronic gadgets?

The list of questions you can ask yourself when you know the power may go out, and for a longer period of time, can go on and on. It is almost impossible to ever be fully prepared, but if you have some source of electricity you can often avoid the major hassles.

This is why so many home and property owners have invested in a standby generator. To explain this as simply as possible, the standby generator is not a temporary source of minimal or "survival" power like the portable units. Instead, it is a system that can easily run the entire home - from the TV in the family room to the pump that keeps the septic and well operating properly.

Obviously, a standby generator is a serious investment and has a lot of costs associated with it, but if you have found yourself without power too many times, you will want to give this system some serious consideration.

The Pros and Cons of a Standby Generator

If you were to explore a list of the "downsides" to portable generators (the kind that operate mostly on gas and diesel and which can be relocated with ease) you would see such things as the difficulties in keeping the system fueled, the amount of management needed to keep it operating round the clock, the need to shelter the unit but also keep it far enough from the home, the amount of loud noise the machines make, the inability of the units to actually generate full house electric, the need for extension cords, and more.

Choosing a standby generator means that most of these issues are erased immediately. Even better is that most of the units operate on propane and that allows them to be completely fueled and running at full capacity for up to two weeks at a time. There is also usually no need for an owner to manually activate their standby generator. Instead, the unit has to be professionally installed. This guarantees that it is tied in directly to the circuit panel in the home and comes on as soon as power is cut.

So, you might be that person sitting at home and watching the weather worsen only to have the lights go out and everything shut down. You would have to wait only the briefest of moments and the electricity would come right back on. You would not have to go outdoors, lug a generator from a shed to an outdoor operating area, unroll feet of extension cords, and start the machine. Nor would you have to troubleshoot the machine if it had difficulty starting. This is because a standby generator is self-contained and located at an ideal distance from the home. It operates much more quietly than the portable device and is fully automated.

The standby generators are a virtually fail proof system. The only problems you have to consider are those you could actually create yourself. For instance, when purchasing a standby generator it can be very tempting to try to keep the costs down. After all, standard installations can run to more than ten thousand dollars if a large unit is professionally installed.

The glitch with this choice is that you have to be sure the standby generator is sized accordingly. When systems cannot provide an even amount of electricity - meaning too much or too little - they can cause appliances to overheat. This can lead to failure on the part of the appliances being powered by the generator. Speaking with the professional installer and vendor is the one way to know precisely which model to purchase.

It is then a matter of getting the installation done and waiting for the power to fail...only, you will hardly notice it because the standby generator will step up and save the day.