A generator can be a lifesaver during a power outage. During a power outage, having a generator will enable you to use much of the same lighting, heating, and many cooking appliances you already use, lessening the need to fall back on more alternative methods. It can also provide electricity to power essentials such as refrigerators and medical equipment. This can help you stay connected, comfortable, and safe during an emergency. Having a generator on hand can give you peace of mind and help you weather the storm with minimal disruption.
There are three categories of generators that can assist you when your home loses electricity. Categories include portable, standby, and whole-home generators.
Portable generators are smaller units that tend to be noisier and produce less power than standby models, the next size up. They are stored away until you need to use them. You can either connect them to your home’s circuit-breaker panel or you can plug the appliances directly into the generator using heavy-duty extension cords that are rated for outdoor use and have a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load of the appliances. There are two main types of portable generators: conventional and inverter. Both types run on natural gas, propane, gas, and diesel.
Portable gas and propane generators are both available in a wide range of prices, typically from $500 to $4,000. However, propane generators tend to be more expensive than gas generators with similar power output. This is because most propane generators can also run on gasoline, making them dual-fuel appliances.
Inverter generators are generally quieter, more fuel-efficient, and produce cleaner power than conventional generators. This makes them better suited for powering sensitive electronic devices and for use in situations where noise levels need to be kept low. However, they are also generally more expensive than conventional generators.
Brands include Briggs & Stratton, Champion, WEN, Honda, Westinghouse, and Predator.
Conventional generators are generally less expensive and can provide more power than inverter generators of a similar size. This makes them better suited for powering larger appliances and tools. Three of the most recommended models run on both gas and propane and have high wattage capabilities.
Brands include DuroMax, Champion, and Westinghouse.
A standby generator is a backup electrical system that operates automatically. Within seconds of a utility outage, an automatic transfer switch senses the power loss, commands the generator to start, and then transfers the electrical load to the generator.
It can power the circuits that have been redirected from the main panel to the sub-panel. You can choose which circuits to redirect based on your needs during a power outage. Commonly redirected circuits include essentials such as refrigerators and heating systems.
Standby brands include Generac, Briggs & Stratton, and Champion. The price of standby generators can vary widely depending on their size and features. On average, a unit can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, not including installation.
Whole-home generators are permanently installed by a professional and are contained in a housing that keeps them relatively quiet. They are designed to provide electricity to your entire home during a power outage. They run on a high-quality engine that automatically turns on when the power goes off.
Whole Home brands include Generac, Briggs & Stratton, and Cummins. Price range: average cost is $9,000 but can be anywhere from $4,000 to $25,000 – depending on the size, brand, and fuel type of the generator.