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Is Your Generator Ready for Summer Storm Season?

Unfortunately, severe storms have affected millions of Americans recently.

This is just the beginning!  During the summer months, thunderstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes and even heat waves can leave many of us without power for days or weeks. In these situations, a generator can be a lifesaver.  If you don't have one, you might want to consider picking one up.  If you already own one, this is the time to conduct some maintenance and make sure it is in good condition and ready to use when you need it.

Do I Need a Generator? 

Obviously, first, you need to consider how prone your home is to power outages. However, our experts have also identified a number of other benefits to owning a generator that you might not have considered.

  • During a power outage, it's a fact that homes with power are less likely to fall victim to a burglary. A generator can help you stay safe and protect your valuable belongings.
  • A generator will also help you power up appliances so you can get heat, air conditioning, prepare food, charge phones and stay in contact with emergency services.
  • Owning a generator may also help you reduce insurance rates.

What is the Best Generator for Me?

When determining which type of generator is best for you, you must ask yourself three important questions:

  1. What is my budget? The cost of a generator will vary greatly from one type to the next. It is also imperative to consider the fuel costs for operating a generator.
  2. How much power do I need? If the power were to go out, what are you looking to keep electricity flowing to? Your entire house? Some small electronics? Large appliances? Think about what you want to keep powered up to help you determine how much energy the generator will need to produce to suit your needs.
  3. Do I want to have my system installed by a professional? Depending on your answer to this question, it may limit your options in terms of the type of generator that will be best for you.

Different Types of Generator

Below we provide a brief overview on the different types of generators, to help you decide which type might best fit your needs:

Standby Generators: 

A large, permanent piece of equipment attached and wired to your home. This generator turns on automatically when the power goes out and can handle multiple appliances at one time.

  • Fuel Source: Usually propane or natural gas, although diesel is available
  • Power Range: 5,000 - 20,000 watts.
  • Requires Professional Installation: Yes
  • Price Range: $2,500 - $6,000 including professional installation.

Portable Generators: 

Small and easily moved from one location to the next.

  • Fuel Source: Typically run on gasoline
  • Power: Range from 3,000 to 10,000 watts.
  • Requires Professional Installation: No
  • Price Range: $300 to $1,500

Inverter Generators: 

A relative newcomer to the landscape of generators. An inverter generator works by improving the quality of power coming into your home.

  • Fuel Source: Usually gas-powered
  • Power: Ranges: 2,000 - 5,000 watts
  • Requires Professional Installation: No
  • Price Range: $500-$4,000

Solar Generators: 

Use the power of the sun and convert it into electricity which is stored in batteries. The two types of solar generators are portable and home batteries such as the Tesla Powerwall

  • Fuel Source: The Sun
  • Power Range: Varies on which type of solar generator you get.
  • Requires Professional Installation: No for a portable generator; Yes, for the Home Battery
  • Price Range: $500-$15,800 (including installation)

Get Your Generator Out for a Check Up

 If you have already invested in a generator, now is a good time for preventative maintenance to ensure that it is in the best working condition should you need to use it this summer.

Here are a few quick tips:

  1. If you have a gas-powered generator, turn it on and make sure the generator engine runs smoothly and the battery is well charged.
  2. If you own a newer model of a standby generator, it will usually automatically test itself once every two weeks.
  3. Be on the lookout for any corroded elements such as frayed wires or a stuck button.
  4. Clean around the perimeter of the machine - debris like dirt and leaves can become a nuisance and can dirty the alternator, jamming it up.
  5. Oil levels need to be maintained, check and see if the oil needs to be topped up

Always Follow These Tips for Operating a Generator Safely

Generators can be a big help, but if not used properly they can lead to injury or CO poisoning. Here are some important safety reminders for using a generator:

  1. Keep generators away from windows, vents & doors:a generator should be placed outdoors at least 15 feet away from the home.
  2. Make sure the exhaust is facing away from the house.
  3. Only use generators outdoors and never in an enclosed space, as this will put the user and family members at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  4. Only use a generator when it is placed on a level surface, properly grounded and in dry conditions.
  5. Never add fuel to a hot engine:gasoline that hits a hot engine can cause a fire or even an explosion.

If you are looking for more tips and advice to be prepared for the summer season, check out our App that provides expert tips, maintenance reminders and even lets you build a complete profile on your home.Learn more about vipHomeLink HERE.

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