Choosing Between Standby and Portable Generators

As winter storms fast approach, do you have a plan for when your home loses power? As most New England homeowners know, a storm can strike at any time and loss of power can affect your home for days or even weeks. A generator is the best way to protect your home during these winter months. There are two kinds of generators: portable and standby. What is the difference, and which type is better for your home?

What’s the difference?

Portable generators are designed to be set up and used when the need arises. Because they are not permanently installed, they can be stored in a garage or basement until they are needed. When the power goes out, they need to be taken out of storage, set up, and fueled. They are powered by a fuel such as propane, which must be stored separately from the generator and added only when it is ready to be used. They can typically be used to power the basics, such as your lights, refrigerator, and heating system, and they require very little maintenance. However, they also give off high levels of carbon monoxide when in use, which means that safety precautions must be taken to ensure the gas is not inhaled.

Standby generators are professionally installed as permanent fixtures outside of the home. They are connected to your home’s energy source and constantly monitor your power. When a problem is detected, standby generators automatically switch on, so you’ll only be left without power for a few seconds. They can be used to power the basics, as well as your water tank, furnace, and other appliances, though depending on their size you may need to turn some appliances off in order to use others. Standby generators must be run for about 15 minutes every week to determine whether or not additional maintenance is needed, so it is often beneficial to work with a generator company to perform services as needed.

Advantages of Standby Generators

Though portable generators cost less and require less maintenance, standby generators are the best option for powering your home. Because they are always monitoring your power, you don’t have to worry about switching them on when there is a problem. Conversely, if you are not home to turn on a portable generator when the power goes out, you run the risk of your pipes bursting or food spoiling while you’re gone. Even if you are home when a problem comes up, you will have to go through the effort of setting a portable generator up outside and turning it on, which may be easier said than done during a big storm. Standby generators are typically more powerful than portable generators; while you may not be able to power everything in your home at once, you will have more flexibility to use the appliances you need.

If you want a worry-free way to ensure your lights stay on this winter, a standby generator is your best option. Don’t get left in the cold during harsh storms. Make sure your home is prepared by installing a generator before you’re left without power.