Why I Invested in a Gernerac Residential Generator for My Home
Standby Generators are Worth the Expense
I, along with a large portion of New England have recently been pounded by a record setting, for October, snow fall that has caused wide spread, and long enduring power outages across several states. Living just south of Manchester, NH in Londonderry, the only thing as certain as the arrival of glad handing politicians every four years is having extended power outages at least once every winter. Knowing this, and having had an earlier than usual extended power loss due to Hurricane Irene, my wife and I decided it was time to take the plunge. It was time to sink some serious cash into a standby generator. Thus far, it has been well worth the $7500 cost for the generator and installation and the $600 to get the liquid propane line and tanks installed. I will save my complaints about the cost of the actual propane ($700.00 for 240 gallons) for another time.
How it Rates!
Hurricane Irene's Aftermath a Moitivating Factor
Not long after Hurricane Irene hit southern New Hampshire in late summer/ early fall, and about halfway through the two day power loss that followed, my wife and I decided to make a call, as soon as the phone lines were back, to a local electrician and generator dealer to get a quote on some options to prevent this sort of inconvenience for the foreseeable future. Up until this point we had been using a small 3500 watt gasoline powered generator to provide us with our basic need of heat during a winter outage which worked out pretty well. For Irene, we attempted to do the same instead to keep our 2 refrigerators up and running. This seemed like a good idea, and from as far as I could tell, 3500 running watts was more than enough to keep these units up and running and our food from spoiling. Where I was mistaken was that I didn’t account for the cyclical nature by which refrigerators operate, meaning, they work on a thermostat and surge power requirements based on need. To make a long story short, we fried both of our refrigeration units, losing all of our food, 3 weeks of time for repair trouble shooting, and ultimately $450 to make them operational again. Lesson learned!
A Good Electrician is Key
After meeting with our electrician, we decided on a 20kw standby generator made by Generac. I must admit, 20,000 watts was more than enough for our needs, but the price point for the next lower sized generator wasn’t significantly lower enough to sway our decision. This behemoth is considered a “whole house” residential standby generator and fulfilled our needs in our 3500 square foot home with typical appliance and other electrical needs for the region. These include but are not limited to our televisions, oil furnace, electric water heater, well pump, refrigerators, range, ovens, as well as all of our other electric outlets, lights and appliances. Needless to say, we would never have all of these things running at the same time when our power wasn’t out let alone when it is. It was however, reassuring to know that it could handle the load.
Hidden Costs to Factor In to Your Decision
After we made our decision, it took a couple of weeks for the Generator to come in followed by a week or so until the electrician could work us into his schedule for installation. The install took about a days time which worked out well because I was able to work from home. Selecting our liquid propane provider was a little more complicated as different companies provided different services. Some would place the tanks, dig the trench, and tie the line to the generator. Others won’t do the trenching. Still others, won’t do the trenching and don’t tell you that until they try to schedule the install date. Needless to say, our choice unfortunately was the latter which set us back another couple of weeks so I could schedule time for our handyman to come by and dig the 30 foot long trench that needed to be 24 inches deep and filled with 6 inches of sand on each side of the gas line before being filled back in with the loam. This of course added another $260 to the total bill.
Installed Just in Time for Old Man "Winter"
This work was finally all done and as it was being announced by our local news station that we had a chance of snow the weekend before Halloween, our gas company informed us that they mis-measured how far the tanks were from where their trucks had access and that they would have to move them about 5 feet closer so the hoses would reach for filling purposes. Saturday arrives, the morning before the now confirmed 10 inches of snow was about to accumulate on tree branches still heavy with fall leaves, and the tanks are moved. The only problem is that the electricians have been waiting for this to be complete before they could do the final programming of the generator and wouldn’t be available until the following Tuesday. Knowing we were sure to loser power in this storm, I gave them a ring and they graciously agreed to come over that day and complete the job. My wife and I were glad they did because no longer than 10 hours later, the lights began to flicker from the lines being increasingly weighed down by snow. Then, the inevitable happened, the power was out and we were, for a brief moment in the dark.
Now on day five of the power outage, our generator is still running making our only inconvenience of being without phone, cable, or internet seemingly minuscule, especially opposed to the many without the luck of having a good generator still struggling through every day to keep themselves and their families warm. Many are able to stay in motels, which are an expensive cost to bear, but many also have to stay in shelters set up at local centers and high schools as a means to bathe, and stay warm. I highly recommend having a standby generator installed if you are able. It really has already paid for itself, not in a monetary way, but by providing stability and ability to stay under our own roof for an uncertain and seemingly unending period of time.
Generac Products on Amazon.com
© 2011 Peter Leeper