I’m sure you have read the compelling web or magazine content and heard the stories on infomercials or daytime television – which all amount to “Be prepared for the next disaster”! And by watching the local, national or international evening “bad news” at 5 or 6 pm, you are sure to see people who hopefully were prepared for the awful disaster which just came down upon them without warning.
And all of this leads you to the question “How do I prepare my home and family?” There are a myriad of choices, each claiming advantages over the next. So where do you begin? Well, backup power means having your own generator, and thereby producing your own power. Many new high-end homes come with these already installed – but what if yours did not? And if it did, how about for your car, if that breaks down? Well, we’ve got a few simple choices for your to consider. And, keep in mind that although many of these large systems can well run over $10,000, there are many in the $1000 range that will suit you just fine for basic needs. However, whatever you choose, choose at least one!
- Portable Gas powered. Perhaps the most commonly used method, with many in the sub $1,000 range – to be used for camping trips or power outages to power essentials such as a refrigerator and consumer electronic devices. A great idea to have one around – the only downside being that they run on gasoline which can be a problem to store, even with life-extending gas stabilizers added.
- Home Standby Systems. Installed outside the home and wired through an automatic transfer switch to the home’s main electrical panel. These can automatically restore power to your house in less than a minute, and start and run automatically until the power is restored. These also vary in size and power from basic survival needs to enough power for a large house including central air and heating as well as all appliances. They are fueled by natural gas (can be connected to the home’s natural gas line), gasoline or diesel fuel. Standby system capacities range from 6,000 Watts up to 40,000 Watts.
- Solar. We’ve all seen the rise in solar power for homes – and solar powered portable generators are now available as well. But, the generator itself is not enough – as you will need a solar panel, a battery to store the energy, a charge controller to keep the PV panel from overcharging the battery, and an inverter which will convert voltage into home-friendly 120-volt alternating-current (AC) house power.