A power outage in the home can be a frightening event, especially if severe weather is right outside your door. However, there’s another option to being left in the dark: a backup generator. When the grid is down because of storms, hurricanes, freezing temperatures, or other natural disasters, it’s never certain how long it will take to restore power to homes. In order to stay prepared, having a backup generator in place will provide your home with temporary power during an emergency.
They run on an existing fuel source – either liquid propane or natural gas – and are capable of generating enough wattage to re-energize your home only seconds after it loses power. That’s because the permanent generator works in conjunction with a transfer switch to monitor incoming utility voltage. When your home’s power goes out, the transfer switch will disconnect the utility line and connect a new power line from the generator to restore power within seconds.
But remember, connecting a portable generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can "back feed" onto the power lines connected to your home and injure neighbors or utility workers. By working with a qualified electrician, you can install a manual transfer switch to safely tie into selected circuits of your main electrical panel. If a portable generator is running and power is restored, the power company's electricity cannot get to those isolated circuits until the generator is turned off and the manual transfer switch is reset to the non-backup position.
Due to the sheer amount of power that permanent standby generators are capable of providing, they carry a hefty price tag. In addition, licensed electricians must install these generators, and your local utility company must be notified that you have a back-up system in place. However, if you live in an area that consistently sees power outages, this type of generator may be a good option and the best possible preparation money can buy. Also, if you live in a climate that is consistently very cold and plagued with ice storms, consider this generator to power your furnace and hot water heater, to keep your home warm and your pipes from freezing in the event of a prolonged power outage.
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