Homeowners affected by power outages here in southeast Virginia often say they feel helpless and cut off from normal activities. Those with children are generally anxious to keep kids busy and continue usual routines for eating, playing and sleeping if possible. One of the best ways to keep at least basic household necessities going during a blackout is with a standby electrical generator.
Whole-house standby generators connect to natural gas lines or propane and must be installed by a qualified contractor. Most whole-house generators give families peace of mind by starting up automatically when there's a power outage and shutting off when electrical services are restored. It's what happens in between those actions that makes the various types of generators unique:
- Essential-circuit generators provide cost-effective backup for critical devices, from eight to 16 circuits of your home's electrical panel. A 16-circuit generator should cover basics like refrigerator, lighting, stove, one A/C unit, microwave oven, garage door opener and other essentials that in total won't exceed the maximum kilowatt rating.
- Smart-circuit generators cover the middle ground. They may power your entire house if you keep electricity usage on the low side. These air-cooled generators require that power-guzzling items run alternately including electric stoves, clothing dryers and hot tubs.
- For large homes with high-tech equipment and amenities that must keep running during any power interruption, you could invest in a commercial-grade model. Since U.S. homes are built with 200-amp (max) electrical service, you could back up everything with the top-end 48-kilowatt system, although that might be overkill.
Look for whole-house generators that feature:
- Weather-and-rust-resistant, sturdy, aluminum or steel enclosures.
- Surge-protecting capability for vulnerable electronic items like computers.
- Quiet operation (your neighbors will thank you) perhaps with a car-like exhaust and/or acoustic foam lining.
- Remote system status, allowing you to check generator status without going outdoors.
- Automatic shutdown if triggered by too-high coolant temperature or other safety issue.
- For larger models, look for fuel-efficiency and lower-speed options to extend generator life.
Need professional advice about standby generators? Contact the experts at Russell's Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about standby generators and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Russell’s Heating & Cooling services the Chesapeake, Virginia and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!
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