When is the best time to prepare for a power outage--before a storm or after? Bad storms and power outages can happen anywhere and anytime in the Midwest. A whole house generator will help you fight back when your house goes off the grid.

What You Should Know About Generators

Generators range in size and price--it all depends on the size of your home and how much of it you want to power. Smaller, portable generators usually cost between $300 and $400 for a 3,250-watt model. A 10,000-watt model might cost about $1,200, whereas, a standard whole-house generator could cost you around $5,000.

Why Are Generators Beneficial?

house powered by a generator in a snow stormA lot can go wrong when the power goes out. Your heating or air conditioning systems won’t work, any medical supplies that require electricity to operate will be out of commission, pipes can burst, and food can spoil. Not to mention, you’ll have no TV, phone, or computer service. With a generator, you’ll be able to run a few or almost all of your electrical devices depending on the size of generator you purchase.

It is important to consider the electrical devices in your home that are crucial, especially in the case of an emergency. Call Jake Electric and we’ll help you choose the best generator for you and your family's needs.

What Else Should You Know?

If you do want a generator with enough wattage to power your whole house, experts say a 3,000-square-foot home with an electric range might require as much as 25 to 30 kilowatts. If you want a generator that can power everything in your house, just not all at the same time, you might just need 20 kilowatts.

Time to Decide?

  1. Before you go shopping for a generator, decide what critical elements in your home you are trying to back up -- things like refrigerators, freezers, and furnaces -- because that will determine what you wind up buying.
  2. Don't forget that most portable generators under 5,000 watts use a pull cord to start the engine. If this will be hard for you physically, you might want to consider a different model.
  3. Whole house generators operate with the use of fuels such as natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. Permanent standby generators can be connected to your natural gas service or propane tanks can be put in to provide the fuel.
  4. Most people prefer generators with a built-in transfer switch so that you don't have to turn the unit on by hand when and if your power goes out.
  5. Remember that installation will require a large space to place the unit, near the electrical service into the house.

Beyond the cost of the generator itself, you'll need to hire a plumber to connect the unit to its fuel source, and an electrical expert like Jake Electric, to hook it into your house's power supply. Jake Electric is licensed and certified for the type of equipment you are installing and familiar with local codes that govern such issues as how close the generator can be located to the house, and whether or not you need a permit. Also be sure to check with your utility company -- some require approval before installation.