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Is a Standby Generator a Good Idea?

Major storms during the past few years have made generators into an option that more and more homeowners are looking into. We aren’t subject to hurricanes here in Chicago, obviously—but we’re no stranger to storms that can knock out the power in areas for hours or even days at a time. Grid-disabling disasters have been on the rise since 2011.

Although many people lined up at big-box stores to purchase portable gasoline-powered generators to handle blackouts, these are not ideal solutions to the problem. Portable generators have limited power, and they can also present exhaust dangers. But is it a wise idea to invest in a whole-house standby generator?

The short answer is: yes. These devices offer numerous benefits, some you may not even have thought of before.

Benefits of an Automatic Standby Generator

An automatic standby generator is a dependable way to overcome major power outages. They are permanent installations placed on a concrete foundation, much like the outdoor cabinet of an air conditioning system, and are hooked directly into the electrical system of your house. They can use a variety of different fuel sources: natural gas (if your home has access to a municipal supply), liquid propane, or diesel. They can deliver enough backup energy for a few days at a time. You can also choose a less powerful generator if your home only has a few energy requirements, such as lights and the heating system.

A standby generator detects an interruption of service from the grid and automatically disconnects the home to shift to the back-up energy supply. When the municipal power comes back on, the generator automatically connects the house back to the grid. It’s a simple and very effective system. It also helps with safety, since it prevents back-feeding electricity to the grid which can create fires and even injure utility workers trying to repairing damaged lines.

The only caution here is that you cannot install a backup generator on your own. You must hire a professional who can calculate your electrical load needs and see that the system is correctly hooked up. You must also make sure to maintain your generator, since a generator that won’t come on when you need it isn’t any better than no generator at all.

To find out more about generator installation in Niles, IL, contact Brilliant Electric Heating & Cooling.

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