In the United States, practically all buildings, including houses, run on electricity for the lights, heating and air conditioning, and all appliances and electronic goods. It is easy to take electricity for granted, but there are times when this utility is compromised. Why? Not because a homeowner forgot to pay the bills, but because the overall power grid suffered an outage, or perhaps nearby power lines suffered a malfunction or damage. A home without power cannot heat or cool itself, and items such as the fridge and washing machine will not function. So, whole house generators can be installed to provide backup power, and these standby generators come in many shapes and sizes. To prepare for generator installation, a homeowner can take a few basic steps, and perhaps hire some professionals to help install those whole house generators if need be. How can a homeowner determine their emergency generator installation requirements, and how often might the power go out, anyway?
Electricity and Outages
The American public electric grid is a vast one, but it is prone to outages from time to time. In fact, these outages are becoming ever more common, and savvy homeowners will prepare whole house generators for such an occasion. Federal data on power outages started being kept in 1984, and from that year to now, the yearly rate of power outages has increased 285%. In the year 2014 alone, a total of 130 reported outages took place within the first six months. According to the DOE, power outages cost American businesses some $150 billion each year, and weather-related incidents are the most costly. After all, a power outage prevents a factory from running, and an outage will prevent an office’s computers from operating. That is a lot of lost productivity.
Suppose a homeowner faces an outage, and they do not have whole house generators on hand? The homeowner should not only take steps to cool themselves off or warm up based on weather, but also check on the fridge’s food. If the power outage lasts for more than four hours, the homeowner should start using a food thermometer to check the food, and discard anything that has spoiled due to the fridge and freezer not running. Anything warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit should be discarded this way.
Setting Up Backup Generators
Already, many businesses have their own emergency generators, such as hospitals, which absolutely cannot afford to spend any time without electricity. Some office buildings or other businesses may have them too, and the generators come online as soon as the main power is lost. There might be a short delay before the generators come online, and in other cases, the transition is so smooth, the building’s occupants may not realize at first that the power went out at all.
So, a homeowner can visit local hardware stores to find a generator for their house or order one online. But they must know what size a generator to get; a too-powerful generator is a waste of money, and a too-small one can’t even provide all the power that will be needed. The homeowner will, before buying any whole house generators, add up the wattage of all electric items in their house that they want to have running during a power outage. Light bulbs, the fridge, washing and drying machines, plugged-in goods like a television set, and the HVAC system can have their wattage added up. Bear in mind that 1,000w watts makes up one kilowatt, and 1,000 kilowatts constitutes a megawatt. The homeowner may add up all the necessary wattage, and use that as a reference.
A whole home generator can take right over when the main power goes out, and take note that in flood-prone areas, this generator will run better if it is designed to work when submerged or exposed to water. Residents of coastal or low-lying areas may want to look into this. Also, consider small portable generators as well, which can be taken along during camping trips and similar outings. They can power items such as a laptop or cell phone recharge cable, or a set of lights in a cabin. Small generators are also used to power TVs and sound systems for a tailgate part in a pickup truck’s bed.