No one likes being without power when a storm blows through, but if you have young children, a disabled family member, or elderly parents living in your home, a loss of power for an extended time could be very inconvenient and dangerous.

An effective solution for power outages is to have a standby generator installed. These whole-house generators cost more than portable generators, but they are easy to use and provide much more power. Here are a few things to know about this alternate source of alternate power.

The Price Rises Along With Power Output

Choosing the power output of a standby generator can be tricky. You can buy a high-end generator that supplies an equal amount of power as your circuit panel. In the event of a power failure, the generator kicks on and you can use power in your home as usual. However, models like this are expensive.

It may be more practical to buy a generator with a lower power output and restrict the appliances you plug into it. An electrician can help you choose the proper size based on the things in your home you want to power in an emergency. You may want to operate the refrigerator, oven, microwave, lights in part of the house, computers, televisions, and medical equipment. Of course, you wouldn't necessarily operate them all at once, but you want enough power to use the things you want and need.

Automatic Start Makes the Generator Easy To Use

For uninterrupted power, you want a generator that kicks on automatically when the power goes out. This is one nice benefit of a standby generator. If you rely on a portable generator for power, you may have to use a pull cord to start it, which can be difficult to do. A generator with an automatic start senses when the power goes out in your home and it turns itself on and then turns itself off when the electrical power is restored.

A Standby Generator Connects to Natural Gas or Propane

Another advantage of a whole-house generator is that it is powered by natural gas or a propane tank. You won't have to lug gas cans or store gas cans on your property to operate the generator. A plumber connects the gas line to the generator and an electrician installs the generator itself to the electrical panel of your home.

A standby generator can be quite large. It's a permanent addition to your yard just like an air conditioner condenser. The generator is positioned near the circuit panel where it quietly sits on standby while it waits for the power to fail. The unit may kick on by itself periodically for maintenance reasons, but otherwise, natural gas is not used unless your power goes out.

When you factor in the cost of using a whole-house generator, be sure to estimate how much it will cost to use natural gas for a day or week or even longer until your power is restored.

A Standby Generator Needs Regular Service

Standby generators are powerful pieces of electrical equipment that need regular maintenance to perform well. When your unit runs continuously for days at a time, you may need to have the filter and oil changed periodically.

Be sure to follow the maintenance instructions that come with the brand you buy. If you take care of the generator as recommended and don't overload it, it should provide you with years of service that keeps your lights burning through many storms.

A trained and qualified electrician should install your generator because the work has to be done according to code and you want your home's electrical system to be safe.

Call Scott The Electrician to expertly install your new generator so you'll be prepared to weather the next storm without losing food, lights, access to communication, and the ability to use medical equipment because of a loss of power.