Hurricanes have become more frequent and are appearing in many more areas of America. Superstorm Sandy (Oct 2012) which hit several north east states along the upper eastern seaboard is just one example of this phenomenon. Homeowners whose home is not damaged or affected by the harsh weather often times suffer through power outages for days on end. A home without electricity, especially in the winter months is a tough place to reside. Generators have become a precious commodity and gasoline even more. While a portable generator is valuable in these types of situations, a permanent home standby generator is perhaps invaluable.
A standby generator provides a back-up power source for as long as you need it. They are connected to a propane or natural gas supply line and use an automatic transfer switch to monitor your utility power. From the time you lose power, the generator starts without you having to lift a finger. So if your home survives a storm and/or a major power outage, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you will have back-up power in your home through certain areas designated in your homes’ electrical panel.
Permanent home standby generators are sized according to their wattage output. So the more power you need, the bigger the unit. The bigger the unit, the larger the price. A small unit operating about about 7 to 10 kilowatts may run $2,500 – 5,000. A mid-sized running about 12 to 20 kilowatts can be up to $10,000 or more while a large standby generator with 22 to 45 kilowatts of power will easily be $15,000 plus. Labor cost is in addition and can vary by location.
As you can see, they can be pricey. However, the cost is only relevant to your particular needs and means. Ask yourself these questions to quantify your decision:
1. Do you live in a area with frequent power outages?
2. Do you live in an area where hurricanes and other bad weather affect your power situation?
3. Do you rely on electricty to run medical equipment at home?
4. Do you work from home?
If you answered yes to any of these question, then you have a good reason to consider adding a standby generator to your home.
Deciding what you want your generator to power will determine the unit size. You can elect to go for a bare minimum of essentials (“emergency system”) like your central air conditioning unit, the refrigerator, and a few electrical outlets. This setup will use a small or mid-sized kilowatt unit. The high kilowatt mid-sized or larger generators can power your entire house on what is know as a “load-management system”. There are options in between but the aforementioned are the extremes on both ends of the spectrum.
Having a standby generator can make life a lot easier during a time of power outage. It can also improve the homes value, not only for you but for potential buyers should you ever need or want to sell your home.
Professional Building Designer and owner Design Evolutions Inc., GA, specializing in residential design. Visit online at http://www.designevolutions.com
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