You’re settled in at home during a stormy night, and suddenly, the power goes out. As you slowly make your way to where you’ve stashed a flashlight, you stub your toe on the corner of a chair. Then, as you finally drag your flashlight out of the drawer, you discover the batteries are dead…
At this point, you might be wishing you had a generator!
Power outages can last hours, days, and even weeks. An outage can force you to go into emergency mode, making it necessary to navigate your home in the dark and figure out creative ways to keep your home warm and your food from spoiling. If you rely on well water, your ability to have fresh, filtered water for drinking, bathing, or heating your house will also be affected. Beyond being inconvenient, power outages can be costly, as anyone who’s lost an entire refrigerator of food can tell you! It’s even worse when it affects your business. For those who rely on electricity to power critical medical equipment, like dialysis machines or oxygen, a power outage can be dangerous.
Having a generator will ensure that you’ll stay comfortable and safe when the power goes out. There are two popular types of generators, and each one has its benefits. When deciding between a portable or whole-home generator, it’s important to consider your power needs. Do you want to keep your entire house up and running? Or are you more concerned with keeping only a few vital electrical devices are powered?
A whole-home generator (also called a standby generator) is permanently installed on the outside of your home, like a central air conditioning unit. They’re powered by your existing gas or liquid propane fuel supply, so there’s never a need to refuel them manually. A whole-home generator acts like your own personal electrical power source, delivering power directly to your home’s electrical system 24/7. Within just a few seconds of a power outage, the generator will automatically start up and restore your power. This is especially convenient because you don’t have to be home to restore power to your house. Once the power returns, the generator will automatically shut itself off.
Whole-home generators can back up your entire home or only essential equipment. They can be operated safely during any weather conditions and protect your home from dangerous voltage fluctuations when the power is restored. Since this type of generator ties into your electrical system, it must be professionally installed. However, unlike a portable generator, you don’t have to worry about dragging a unit outside or running extension cords through your home. As a bonus, installing a whole-home generator adds value to your home.
We’ve installed many whole-home generators and have found Generac to be reliable, high-quality, and affordable generators that fully meet our customers’ energy needs. They offer generators starting at 7.5kW up to 150kW. All models come with Mobile Link Remote Monitoring, which allows you to monitor your generator from anywhere in the world through your mobile device. Generac engines were developed specifically for generators and are designed to provide approximately 3,000 hours of use. With typical use and maintenance, they can last over 15 years, so they’re a great investment. Once the generator is installed, there’s nothing for you to do except schedule yearly maintenance.
Portable generators are intended as a backup power supply for power outages. They’re a self-contained unit that can be moved, which makes them a convenient option, particularly for people who are renting rather than owning a house. Portable generators cost less than whole-house generators, but they come with limitations. Unlike whole-home generators, they provide limited power and are best used to keep crucial electrical equipment powered, such as lights, refrigerators, or medical equipment.
Portable generators typically operate on gasoline or propane; some models operate on solar power. They must be manually refilled periodically to run and require you to have separate fuel storage. Since gas-powered generators produce carbon monoxide, they shouldn’t be operated in an enclosed area or near windows or doors. A rule of thumb is to keep your portable generator at least 15 feet away from your house. Some models are designed to provide power for up to eight hours, while others are designed to provide days of power. Despite this, it’s not a good idea to keep portable generators running continuously for an extended period of time.
Another consideration with portable generators is that you must be home to use it. So, if you leave for vacation and an extended power outage occurs, you may come home to some surprises – like a fridge full of spoiled food or a flooded basement from a failed sump pump. Portable generators can also be noisy, so depending on where you live, there may be limited hours you’ll be able to use it. They also should not be used in the rain, which could limit use.
Which to Choose?
As we mentioned, the type of generator you choose mainly comes down to use. If you’d like a no-hassle system that automatically turns on and off and can power your entire house, a whole-home generator is the best choice. If you only want to power a few things in your home for a period of time, then a portable generator would probably be sufficient.
At PECO Heating and Cooling, we know generators! With years of experience installing, repairing, and servicing generators, we can help you select one that will fully meet your energy needs. We can also keep it maintained so that it’s always in perfect working order. Contact your Home Service Heroes at PECO today by calling 864-639-2424 or fill out our online form.