What recently happened in Texas was tragic in many instances and also a wake-up call for many people as far as what happens when you can’t rely on infrastructure.
Freezing temperatures brought much of Texas to a standstill with power outages, floods from frozen pipes, and food shortages.
There were deaths, including that of an 11-year-old boy. Christian Pineda’s family filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and Energy Corporation, accusing them of gross negligence in the death of their child. The family of the child believes he suffered hypothermia in their mobile home when they lost power.
Aside from the loss of life and legal implications, the Texas scenario left some wondering if they should invest in a backup generator. The following are some things to know.
If you’ve been weighing a generator, according to Popular Mechanics, electrical power outages have been increasing in duration and frequency. Around 60% of blackouts are caused by strong storms, but 34% stem from equipment failure because of the country’s overloaded and outdated electrical grid.
A standby generator is an option, and these generators are also called whole-house generators.
You have a personal power source when you buy a generator. Within seconds of your power going out, your standby generator automatically turns on and powers your circuits.
They are expensive, though, which is what makes it a tough decision for a lot of people.
A whole-house generator is different from a much less expensive portable generator. A portable generator is usually powered by diesel or gas. A portable generator is used manually if there’s an outage, and you produce less power than a whole-house model.
If you have a portable generator, along with a lower output, they’re going to mean that you have to store a lot of gasoline in case you have a long outage.
A portable generator has to be run outdoors, and if you were to bring it inside, you could be risking carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are a lot of reasons you should think about buying a generator.
If you live somewhere with extreme weather, a generator might be a must-have. If you have young or elderly people in your home, generators can be important too because they might be more susceptible to the effects of extreme temperatures.
When you have a generator, you can power any medical devices people in your household use.
You can prevent your food in your refrigerator from going bad if there’s an outage, and if you work from home, a generator can help ensure business continuity.
If you have a sump pump, you should seriously consider a generator. Sump pumps keep your home from flooding. If water rises to a certain level, your sump pump automatically gets rid of it, but if your power goes out, it can’t work. Keeping your sump pump working is critical to avoid flooding.
If you have well water and the power goes out, your water goes out too. To make sure you always have access to drinkable water, you might get a generator.
Some of these have been touched on, but with a permanent or whole-house generator, it’s entirely possible you won’t even notice when the power goes out. You’ll get immediate power restoration without having to go outside during a storm or bad weather.
Typically a generator is plugged into your natural gas line, or in some cases, a propane tank.
After your device is installed, you don’t have to do anything else.
You don’t need fresh or external fuel, which can be risky to store.
Standby generators are also programmed to do a test run every month or so automatically, so you’ll know if there’s an issue.
A home standby generator usually has a power output of anywhere from 8,000 to 20,000 watts.
How Much Do Standby Generators Cost?
The primary downside of standby generators is their cost. The equipment itself may cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. Installation and the equipment in total can be upwards of $10,000.
You have to weigh what the risks are to you and your family if your power goes out for an extended period of time. The recent Texas situation is serving as a cautionary tale for many because the 11-year-old child who died is just one of many similar stories from that emergency situation.