If you’ve been considering investing in a generator for your home or business, choosing the right one may seem a bit overwhelming. When there are so many options, how can you be sure you are getting the right generator for you? Here are 5 things that will hopefully help you narrow your search.
Home Standby Generator vs. Portable Generator
You’ve probably heard of a portable generator. But before you decide to go with that over a standby generator, there are a few things you need to know. First, a standby generator is professionally installed outside your home or business with an automatic transfer switch. This means that, in the event of a power outage, you would only be without power for a few seconds before your generator automatically started. It doesn’t require refueling and can power whatever you’d like it to (given the size). In contrast, a portable generator doesn’t require installation and therefore must be set up in the event of a power outage. Usually, it is started with a pull cord and it does require refueling as it runs on gasoline. And you will only be able to power whatever is directly plugged into it via an extension cord. Even though it is portable, it is important to note that you should absolutely NEVER run a portable generator inside your home.
How much do you want to power?
In the event of a power outage, do you want to be able to keep some lights on, the refrigerator running and watch TV? Or do you want to have a generator that will power your entire business without interruption including all lights, computers, heat and the staff kitchen? Either is possible. You just have to think ahead and decide what it will be important for you to run in the event of a power outage and choose the size of generator based on that.
All generators are going to require maintenance. The more you use it the more it will require. But check to see if the electrician who installs it has a maintenance plan in place. If you get on their schedule, you won’t have to worry about letting your generator go too long without a tune-up.
What is going to be the tradeoff for your investment? There are obvious ones such as your food won’t go bad in the refrigerator in the event of a long power outage and you have the convenience of having power during a storm. In certain cases, you may need your generator to power a sump pump, which can save you a lot in potential damages or a trip to a hotel if you have no heat in winter. But what if there are no power outages? Standby generators have been shown to lower your homeowner’s insurance rates. Insurance companies often view this as a preventative measure for theft or damages so check with them to see if your rates will go down. Also, standby generators tend to increase the value of your home. A recent study shows that standby generators increase home resale values by 52.7 percent of the cost of the generator system. So even if there aren’t any significant power outages, your standby generator can still create long-term savings.
Not all warranties given by the manufacturer are created equal. Check into how long they will cover your generator and what parts are covered. Also, find out what your deductible would be in the case of a needed repair.
Hopefully, this list has gotten you to think about the possibilities a standby generator can offer and made it easier to find one suitable for you, your family or your business.
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