With the winter fast approaching – one that forecasters are saying could be more brutal than usual – you want to be sure you’re protected in the event of a power outage. Purchasing a home generator means you can always have peace of mind during storms, knowing you will have power to keep your food from spoiling, heat to keep you and your family from freezing, light to see so you don’t have to worry about candles and flashlights, and even enough to keep the extras going so you can do laundry and cook meals. Whether you go with the basics or a no-holds-barred whole house generator, there are some things you should know about buying this type of equipment.

    1. Consider the ease of use that comes with a standby generator as opposed to a portable one. Standby generators kick on automatically when the power goes out, so you don’t have to do a thing. The price difference isn’t as big as you might think, and you really can’t put a price tag on the peace of mind you get from seamless power transfer. Standby generators are quiet and can don’t require cumbersome extension cords and transfer switches.
    1. Make sure you have a professional in your community in mind for service of your generator. Sure, it’s easy to find an awesome deal online but who will you trust locally to install it and provide maintenance or service? The initial purchase is just one component. You need a local dealer who’s skilled not only in working on generators of all kinds but also one that will be able to get you the parts you need.
    1. Do your research on how much power you want. If you just want a generator that can handle the basics, such as heat and lights, you won’t need as much horsepower. However, if you want to be able to live seamlessly during a power outage, able to operate your lights, heat, fridge, microwave, laundry, shower and more, you’ll need a whole house generator with all the bells and whistles. This way, you can sustain your family for as long as the power is out. To do this, you’ll need to calculate the wattage of all lights, motors and appliances within your home that you want to run. Your generator installation professional can assist you in coming up with the right size for you based on those numbers.
    1. Consider how big you want your generator to be, where you intend on placing it, and how easy it is to operate. Don’t forget that you will need to fire it up every once in a while to ensure it’s working properly. Regular maintenance needs to be done as well. Do you want a simple system or the maximum backup power system money can buy? Make sure you’re trained extensively in how to use it so you can provide seamless operation when the time comes.
  1. Before you opt for a cheap model, consider the cost of the many appliances in your home, particularly with your entertainment center. Using so-called “dirty power” put out by cheap generators can damage many state-of-the-art electronics and appliances. Instead, go with the cleanest, most efficient power possible to avoid any of these unfortunate events.