How to be ready for the next power outage — part 3


Chances are, you’ve been through it — when severe weather hits, there’s nearby construction or just out of the blue, your power suddenly goes out.

Portable generators

Having a portable generator handy gives you an easy-to-use, low-cost option which offers you some peace of mind in case of a temporary outage. One benefit to portable generators is that they can be used for a variety of outdoor activities like camping and tailgating.

Portable generators supply enough power for a handful of individual products or systems in your home, like your refrigerator or lights. They are manually operated, which means you need to be home to get them started and keep them fueled throughout the power outage.

In addition, to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, you need to be sure your portable generator is placed at least 20 feet away from your home outdoors, and not inside a garage or screened-in porch. Having a carbon monoxide detector in your home is a highly recommended safeguard.

When using a portable generator, make sure all the systems and appliances you’re backing up from your home are plugged in with properly rated extension cords that run from your home outdoors to the portable generator.

Automatic standby generators

For a more permanent solution, you could choose to have an automatic standby generator permanently installed outside your home, similar to a central air conditioning unit. These generators can power everything in your home, and they run on propane or natural gas supplied from your home, with no refueling necessary.

One big advantage of an automatic standby generator is that you do not need to be present to start up and operate the system. When the power goes out, an automatic transfer switch shifts power from the main utility to your generator within seconds — whether you’re home or away.