Power outages are more than just inconveniences for homeowners and businesses, but a generator can keep our necessities and conveniences running during an outage.
Power outages often last for hours, days or even weeks, and they can be costly if you're not prepared. Hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms can disrupt our vulnerable power supply system. But it's not just inclement weather that can turn the lights out. Curious animals, automobile accidents, human error and utility failures also can trigger a blackout. Prepare now by adding a standby generator or portable generator that will help make power outages more manageable.
The most important step in finding the type of generator you need is to identify how you will likely use it. Consider these uses:
A permanently installed automatic standby generator provides 24 / 7 backup power protection and peace of mind for your family or business during a power outage. A standby generator runs on liquid propane or natural gas, and just like your central air conditioner, works automatically when you need it and shuts off when you don't. There's no need to manually fuel or start a standby generator, and you can eliminate the need for extension cords that portable generators require. Sizes are available to back up essential circuits only or to provide complete coverage for large homes and businesses. Around the home, a standby generator can create enough power for nearly all of your needs — heating or cooling, lighting and cooking — at the same time.
For more information on standby generators, see our Standby Generator Buying Guide.
A portable generator is a great, mobile option for temporary power. But portable generators are intended only as a backup solution to provide power for some basic household needs on an emergency basis — or to provide power for recreation, camping and power tools where electricity isn't available. Portable generators operate on gasoline or propane, and some even are fueled by solar energy. Gas-powered models emit carbon monoxide when in use, and should never be run indoors or near windows and doors. However, solar battery powered models are safe to use indoors or outdoors.
Use this portable generator wattage estimate worksheet to gather the requirements of the items you want to run and determine how much power you need from a generator.
See our Portable Generator Buying Guide for safety tips and more information.
Always follow the generator manufacturer's operating, maintenance and safety instructions.