You get home from work and start to cook dinner and all of a sudden, the lights go out. The refrigerator shuts down, the lights shut off, the dryer stops drying clothes, and the TV screen goes black – silence. As you rummage for a flashlight in the “junk drawer” in the dark, you kick yourself for not buying those emergency lanterns you saw on Amazon. Even worse, you regret not going out and buying a generator after the last big storm.
Now, you’ve made the decision to buy a generator, but are they all created equal? No, not all generators are the same. Some of them only supply power to the bare necessities while others can send juice to your entire house. Some pricey models provide cleaner power that doesn’t make your appliances run hotter, and they won’t put sensitive electronics at risk. Others will automatically shut down when the engine oil gets too low.
Choosing a Generator for Your Home
When you shop for a generator, you’ll have some options to consider. You’ll have a choice between stationary and portable models, with stationary models being the more expensive of the two. If you want a generator that starts automatically when you lose power, a stationary model is a way to go. Portable models cost less than their stationery counterparts, and you can transport them easily from one location to the next.
Unless you’re looking for a generator for your whole house, we recommend compiling a list of what you want your generator to supply power to – these are your priorities. At the bare minimum, you’ll want to make sure that your refrigerator, heating system, and sump pump continue running.
“Whichever type of generator you choose, consult an electrician to ensure proper selection and installation. If you’re going for a stationary model, a pro should be able to help with your town or municipal requirements for proper location on your property, noise restrictions, and obtaining permits,” according to Consumer Reports.
Note: Whatever you do, NEVER run your generator inside a home or building because it can create deadly carbon monoxide. Instead, place it at least 15 feet away from your home. Keep it away from doors and windows and never place a generator in a garage, basement, or other enclosed space. If you have a portable, do not run it in the rain. Instead, use a model-specific tent, which can be purchased online.