Generators: Emergency Backup Power
Thanks to the hard work of your local utility here in New York, your household electricity supply is seldom interrupted. Everyday life, of course, is accompanied by curveballs and there will always be unforeseen circumstances that will leave your home powerless and your important appliances inoperable. At any point, an errant tree limb could take out your neighborhood's transformer or a direct lightning strike could overload vital equipment. There is one way to ensure that emergencies won't put you in the dark. Backup generators start up when your New York electricity goes down, showing the neighbors who plans for the unexpected. (A generator will also serve as a beacon to let your neighbors know that your air conditioning might still be working.)
A backup generator is actually an electric turbine powered by an engine that runs on fossil fuel, usually natural gas, propane or gasoline. While there are many different generators available in the marketplace, two of the most popular kinds are portable and permanent. Portable generators are set inside thick, strong tubing and are often on wheels, allowing you to take it where you need it. The same generator can keep you in the twenty-first century during a camping trip and can be wheeled out in front of your home during the occasional blackout. A permanently installed generator can't be taken anywhere, but is much easier to fuel, as it can simply be connected to your home's New York natural gas supply.
Backup generators may be most attractive for their convenience; after all, being in the dark is an unpleasant experience. Even if you can't use all of your appliances, you can still use the essentials. Perhaps the best reason to have a backup generator is to keep your refrigerator and freezer running, reducing the chance that your food will go to waste. Many people purchase meat in bulk amounts to save money. In a matter of hours, all of these savings could simply melt away.
As Consumer Reports points out, it is crucial to have a generator that will power all of the appliances you will want to keep juiced up. A small portable generator will probably not be enough to keep your central air conditioning going. If you invest in a large enough unit, however, it is possible you might not even notice the rest of your neighborhood is dark. If you purchase a portable generator, you will have to locate it, fuel it up and connect it to your home properly and safely. This might not be the easiest task in the middle of a late-night rain storm. Permanently installed generators, on the other hand, can be set up to spring to life when the unit senses that the municipal supply has been interrupted.
When debating where to install your generator, bear in mind that these units can sometimes be as loud as they are powerful. If you sleep soundly, don't have it installed it near your bedroom. Briggs & Stratton, manufacturer of generators, also produces vibration mounts for their units. These rubber housings soften the rumbles caused by the motor's RPMs.
There are some safety concerns that come with the use of backup generators. In addition to connecting the generator through a transfer switch, it's essential to make sure you don't use the generator too closely to your home. Popular Mechanics reminds readers that, on average, dozens of people each year die from carbon monoxide exposure that results from generator exhaust. (Permanently installed generators are more likely to be fueled by natural gas, reducing this concern greatly.) As with any complicated electrical machine, there are great risks to improper installation, so it's probably a good idea to call an electrician to do it for you. Having a professional take care of it for you will cost a little bit more than if you install it yourself, but it could bring you peace of mind. Additionally, if you purchase a gasoline-powered generator, you will need to store a significant amount of fuel. You will also have to add fuel stabilizer to make sure the hydrocarbons don't chemically deteriorate during storage.
Temporary blackouts are unpleasant but inevitable. Thanks to the wide range of emergency generators on the market, it is possible to find one that suits the needs of you and your family. With a little bit of preparation, the next time your New York electricity company has a temporary blackout, you can continue your evening with your relaxation and your electricity uninterrupted.