Why a Backup Power Generator is a Good Idea Before the Next Texas Storm
Here in Houston and most of Texas, many homeowners have been living through a nightmare due to the destructive winter ice storm that impacted our state. Most Texans were left without power or water for days, and many won’t have running water in their homes until pipes can be repaired.
While it’s too late to turn back time for this last weather event, a whole-house or backup power generator can prepare your home and prevent a lot of headaches before the next storm comes our way.
With hurricane season just three months away, there may never be a better time to install a backup generator for your home or business.
Why a Backup Generator?
When the electric grid goes down, it’s easy to feel powerless. We lose the ability to heat or cool our homes. The food in our refrigerator and freezer goes bad. And, then there’s the piercing darkness that makes one feel vulnerable, particularly when our phone and laptop charges are running low and our connection to the outside world is vanishing.
A backup generator is a permanent installation in your home or business. It’s installed much in the same way your central air and heat are, outside on a concrete block. It is fueled with the existing fuel supply to your home, most often natural gas or propane.
So, one of the first things to understand about a backup generator is that as long as you have natural gas service flowing through those pipes, a backup generator can power your entire home.
This means your central air or heat, electric heaters, refrigerator, freezer, televisions, computer devices — everything will continue to work, even when the main power grid goes down, be it because of a winter storm, a hurricane, or a good old-fashioned thunderstorm.
Whether there is a failure on the part of equipment or an extended power outage, a whole-house generator will automatically come on and provide power to your electrical panel. You don’t even have to be home for it to come on.
A backup generator can operate nonstop for days and provide your home with uninterrupted power. Once the main electric grid comes back on and restores power to your home, the backup generator will switch off and go back to standby mode, waiting for another power outage before switching back on.
Why Install a Whole-House Generator and Not a Portable Generator?
A portable generator uses only a small amount of gasoline to keep it fueled. You often have to fill up the tank on a portable generator many times during an extended outage.
As many Texans learned, their portable generators ran out of fuel quickly during the winter storm. Added to the misery, there was no more fuel to be found at most service stations.
A whole-house generator is typically serviced once a year by a technician. You don’t have to do anything yourself except make the appointment.
While a standby generator can power all electrical devices within a home, a portable generator can only power one or two appliances. Not to mention that it’s dangerous to run a portable generator.
Besides the comfort of knowing that your backup generator safely provides automatic power, it’s also good to know that the appliance can enhance your home’s value.
Is a Backup Generator Expensive?
The cost of a backup generator is relative. Many factors need to be considered, such as the loss of food during a lengthy power outage, loss of productivity from work, and if you have a business, the inability to sell your goods or services. You also simply can’t put a price on comfort.
But beyond that, there are varying sizes of whole-house generators. Naturally, the more circuits a generator can power, the higher its capacity.
An experienced electrician can help you determine what size is needed to power your home during an outage.
Once they’ve done that, they’ll be able to give you an estimate of how much a standby generator would cost for your home or business.
Bear in mind, however, that the generator will add value to your real estate. So while there’s the initial cost, a whole-house generator is a wise investment that brings value over the long term.
What Kind of Upkeep Does a Whole-House Generator Need?
Your whole-house generator should be serviced each year to ensure that it is fueled up and running properly.
But anytime your whole-house generator kicks in and has continuous use for a day or two, you’ll want to have a technician back to service it.
Whole-house generators that have run for ten days or more will usually need the fuel level checked, and the filter changed. Most backup generators run best when they’re run at less than 75 percent of their capacity.
Peace of mind is something you just can’t put a price tag on. A backup generator could have saved many Texas homeowners a lot of angst during this winter crisis.
Be prepared for the next weather-related event that can take down the power grid in an instant. Consider getting a whole-house generator to help provide comfort to you and your family in the event of an electrical outage.
Just as with any other type of machine, a backup power generator benefits from regular maintenance.
You’ll need a professional electrician to install and service your whole-house generator. Contact our electrical experts at 713-863-1133 to get an estimate on the best backup generator for your home.