The Northeast is no stranger to extreme weather, from Nor’easters to Summer heatwaves. Blackouts, brownouts, and knocked wires are inconveniences we are all familiar with. When you're in the dark lighting those candles, you regret not following through on purchasing that generator at Home Depot when you saw it on sale. You didn’t get it because you were unsure of which generator is the right one for you. That's ok! This will be the last summer in fear of an outage that will leave your house smelling like a Yankee Candle store because every scented candle is lit. Here are five things to think about when getting a generator.
There are two types of generators homeowners get, home standby or portable. Home standby generators provide power to the entire home when the power goes out while portable generators provide short-term power to a few rooms or appliances.
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First, you need to identify what it is you want to keep on when the power goes out. If it's just you in the house maybe you want to opt to just keep the basics on like your electric stove, and fridge and to charge up just a few hand-held devices. You'd be looking at getting a generator with watts in the range of 3000-4000. If you're a big family or you want power for the whole house you'll be in the 6000-8000 watt range. If you want to go the extra step to make sure you get enough watts, you can calculate how many watts each appliance uses a day and buy a generator according to those numbers.
The price depends on the size, type, and how the generator is powered. What also affects the price are the specifications that come with the generator. For example, some are enabled with wifi, automatic self-diagnostic abilities, or come with extended warranties. The convenience these specifications bring to your generator is what makes the price worth it. To give a ballpark, small portable generators that power a few appliances start as low as $250. Home standbys generate power for the entire house, you can expect to see starting prices around $4k.
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You want to get one when you don’t need it. No use in finally purchasing it after the fact when you are in the dark. However, the best time to buy a generator is in the Spring, typically after hurricane season.
Ask your neighbors, friends, and store clerks for reference on what they use. You may be more comfortable with picking a generator this way. If you were to ask me, my recommendation would be the Generac Guardian 24000-Watt costing around $6k. I like this generator because it has a high watt range that will bring power to the whole house, no matter the size. It is also wifi enabled and can be managed from any smart device. It is on the quieter side and its overall size beats the other competitor brands. I like this one over the Generac Guardian Wi-Fi Enabled Standby enerator because it has more watts and depending on what appliances you have you don’t want to risk a brownout while using your generator. It is the more expensive one but like many who purchase the expensive option, it is an investment that will bring you peace of mind for years to come.
In short, when the power goes out whether it's due to extreme weather conditions or a blackout, you may be left without power for hours, days, or weeks. After reading, I hope you have gained new confidence in picking out a generator. If you want to have power kick on as soon as it goes out and to generate throughout the house- pick the home standby. If you only want to power a few things until the power kicks back on- opt for the portable generator. Either way, you will definitely be more comfortable this summer or winter when the power goes out.