Understanding Generators

Part of living in Minnesota means we get our fair share of storms. Depending on their severity, these storms can leave our homes without power for hours or sometimes more. Even just a few hours without power can leave a big impact. Food in your refrigerator or freezer can spoil and your sump pump can’t perform its job to keep your basement dry.

Thankfully, backup generators can help you stay comfortable and protect your home through the times when Mother Nature has other plans.

What is a Generator?

Generators are devices that can supply electricity to your home in the event of a power outage. They can power many appliances and devices including heating and/or air conditioning, refrigerators, lighting, the septic system, sump pumps, medical equipment, Internet, and more.  Generally, the size of the generator will determine the amount of power it can supply.  

Portable vs. Permanent Generators

There are two main types of generators: portable and permanent - or standby. Portable generators, like the name implies, can be moved from location to location based on the appliances or fixtures that require power.

Portable generators are best for homeowners who do not want to spend a great deal on an emergency backup, but these gasoline powered alternatives do require a manual start, so if you are not home when the power goes out, important items like your refrigerator or sump pump won’t be protected. Additionally, they can be rather heavy and difficult to move around, as well as noisy to operate.

Standby generators, unlike the portable kind, are installed outside your home and connected directly to your home’s electrical system. These units traditionally run on propane or natural gas and automatically start as soon as a power outage is detected– which is ideal for times when you’re away from home. When the power outage is over, the unit will shut itself off.

While standby generators can cost more upfront, they are quieter and supply more reliable backup power, capable of powering beyond is possible with a portable unit. Unlike portable generators, standby generators do need to be installed by a qualified and licensed electrician to assure safe and reliable operation.

Do you want to know more about backup generators and what kind is right for your home? Contact one of Mister Sparky’s expert electricians online, or schedule a free in home estimate for a standby generator today.    

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