With all the severe storms we’ve been seeing in the Atlanta area lately, and the promise of potentially worse ones heading our way once hurricane season sets in later this year, lots of homeowners have begun to see the value and utility in having an emergency generator to keep electricity flowing when the main power shuts off.
Generators can be either small and portable, like the ones you see powering temporary food stations or PA systems at fairs and carnivals, or larger and more powerful stationary units incorporated directly into a house’s construction.
Newly constructed homes and apartment complexes are increasingly including these built-in “stand-by” generators to protect residents from power outages, and after the devastation to infrastructure in the wake of hurricanes Irene and Sandy, many Atlanta residents are looking to invest in a portable generator at the very least in order be prepared for the worst.
Types of Stationary Generators
Basic – Basic generators can power only a few circuits, but like all stationary generators they can be set up to start once a house loses its main source of power. These are the most popular type of stationary generator for most homeowners, and typically cost between $4,000 and $7,500.
Managed Load – Managed load generators are capable of powering the lights and most electrical appliances in a home, and allow a homeowner to determine which appliances and circuits in the house receive power via a transfer switch that’s usually installed adjacent to the generator. Managed load generators usually cost between $7,000 and $10,000 to install.
Liquid Cooled – These are the big boys, for those who want to ensure that their generator can power their entire home including the heating and air conditioning system. Although costs can vary enormously based on the size of the home and the number and type of appliances that need power, liquid cooled generators are still the most expensive type of stationary generator, costing anywhere from $8,000 to $22,500.
Portable Generators – the Affordable Option
Portable generators are the option most homeowners will choose, as they offer so many advantages over stationary generators for most people – they’re less expensive, usually costing somewhere between $500 and $1,000, don’t require installation, and are as easy to use as simply plugging an extension cord into the generator and feeding it to the appliance or circuit you want to power.
The main downside to portable generators is that they run on gasoline or propane, so you need to make sure the generator’s gas tank is full or you have enough gas or propane on hand in case of emergency in order to use them. This also limits the time that a portable generator can be continuously used, unlike a stationary one that’s attached to your home’s gas line.
When using a portable generator, remember that safety precautions are a must:
- Always keep the generator outdoors, at least five feet away from entrances to your home or windows, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
- Never plug the generator into a wall outlet – this can result in “back feeding” of electricity, posing a hazard to workers who may be working on lines they think are dead, and to the generator user, who may receive a shock when the power returns thousands of volts of electricity back to the generator
If you have questions about the best generator for your house, or are thinking of having a stationary generator installed to handle HVAC or other duties in the event of power loss, give RS Andrews a call today. Our experts can assess your home and help you find exactly what you need to keep the power on in any weather.
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