From Florida to Maine, 2012’s Hurricane Sandy taught some brutal lessons to the entire Eastern Seaboard. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 2.6 million New Jersey customers were without power at the peak of the storm. However, not everyone was without lights and heating, and their deep-frozen food turned to mush. Those with generators were freed up to deal with other aspects of the super-storm’s impact. There’s no debating that generators are handy when the power goes off, but which are best for your home and budget situation – portable or standby?

Design Options

The wisdom of having a generator as a backup power supply cannot be debated. Two styles are available:

  • Portable generators must be bought with your requirements for emergency power and available budget in mind. They’re free-standing units that are located outside, with extension cords that run into the house to select appliances and uses. Even the smallest typically supplies around 4,000 watts of power. You’re responsible for setup and refueling.
  • Standby generators are a hardwired part of your home’s electrical system, “standing” and ready to switch on immediately upon sensing power outages. More expensive and technically complex models can even run entire homes. Further, they’re usually tied directly into your home’s non-electric fuel supply, so there’s no messy refueling at intervals.

So, Which Is Best?

Because whole-house units typically require less maintenance, and their pickup from a dropped mains supply should be seamless and immediate, they are by definition the best alternative. Portable generators, conversely, have to be started by the user — perhaps in the teeth of a storm, and the dark — then connected to individual appliances using strings of extension cords.

As ever, though, finances are likely in part to dictate your definition of “best.” By purchasing even, a relatively inexpensive portable, you can effectively protect yourself against some inconvenience. By installing a top-end whole-house standby generator, you may be able to power up most – if not all – of the circuits in your home.

With so many variables, expert advice is recommended. Serving homeowners in New Jersey’s Essex, Morris, and Union counties, Pipe Works Services is your one-stop shop for advice, consultation, sales, and service.

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