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Is a Backup Generator a Good Investment for Your Home?


The devastation that Hurricane Harvey has brought about in Texas is only one the latest in a long line of disasters that have proven how important it is to be prepared for major disasters.  Of course, generators are of small comfort in major floods but, fortunately, most disasters don't involve such Katrina-like circumstances. In fact, a generator is our best defense against loss of electrical power, whatever the reason.

In deciding whether a backup standby generator is a good investment for your home, the important thing is to be practical and realistic.  When disasters strike, you will need electricity, at the very least, to keep perishable food from spoiling. 

You may also need it to provide light, heat up or keep your house comfortably cool, cook food, run your hot water heater, recharge mobile electronic devices (e.g., phones), and even power up life-preserving devices (ventilators, etc.).

Next come feasibility and financial means.  Can the place where you live safely and adequately accommodate a backup generator and can you afford the purchase, installation and maintenance of such a device?  Actually, a more suitable question might be:  

"Can you afford not to invest in a backup generator?"

The Pros of Investing in a Backup Generator

One of the best ways to determine whether something is a good idea or not is by closely looking at the cons and the "pros": 

  • With a backup generator, your house might be the only one in your neighborhood with lights, heat and an un-flooded basement during a disaster.
  • A generator, viewed as a home improvement/remodeling project, can enhance the value of a home by (if for sale) making it more appealing to some buyers, saving on home repairs that would be necessary if sump pumps went out, preventing frozen pipes, etc.-in fact, backup power systems are proactively being included in newer-home model plans. 
  • The peace of mind you will have from knowing a power loss won't hurt you and your family can be invaluable.
  • Not having a generator could mean having to go to a hotel or bothering friends/relatives until power is restored; this is even more pertinent if a member of your family has serious medical issues that can't be taken care of in a house without electricity-this may also apply if said members are elderly or very young.

A backup generator is especially important if you live in an area that is prone to severe cold or hot temperatures, tornadoes, hurricanes and related weather events in the past. Hooking your backup generator to a natural gas source would mean having uninterrupted service, as well as not contending for gasoline availability, which may be rationed or simply unavailable, if there is a sudden high demand and if supply trucks can't bring in more fuel quickly enough (if at all). Hooking a generator to an automatic powering system will mean having a continuous power supply 24/7. 

The Cons of Investing in a Backup Generator

Like any new major purchase, there are some concerns that homeowners may have to face before purchasing a generator, including:

  • Some generators can be very loud-but some newer models fare better; also, you can somewhat muffle the noise by properly/safely enclosing them.
  • Generators can be expensive, but you can finance them, such as my maybe using a home equity loan.
  • Generators are tricky to maintain-but not if you delegate this to professionals.  

Simply put, the reasons for investing in a backup generator far outweigh all potential objections and concerns.  That you and your family will experience a long-lasting, potentially dangerous power outage isn't a matter of "if" but of "when."

Consequently, you should be thinking about what you stand to lose, not what you will spend right now.  For the record, getting a backup generator isn't a frivolous purchase but, rather, a wise investment. David Gray Electric Services offers full turnkey installation with the purchase of a generator. Click here to find out more.