Every year, it gets a little more difficult to live without power – even for just a little while. Every year, we rely more and more on electricity to stay connected to friends, family, and the world we live in. So, it’s no wonder that more and more of us are taking steps to stay powered up in the event of an outage. We’re turning to generators to keep us connected and comfortable when the power goes out.
But deciding we want a generator is just the start. We also need to decide what we want and need to use during an outage, and how much we’re willing to pay for the privilege. Let’s take a closer look at two types of generators that provide distinctly different solutions.
Generally speaking, stand-by generators are intended to power entire homes in the event of an outage. These generators are large, stationary, and always connected to the home.
As their name implies, stand-by generator systems are always at the ready. They monitor the flow of energy into your home. When an outage occurs, and utility power stops flowing in, the stand-by generator will switch on automatically. You and the devices and systems in your home won’t miss a beat.
While stand-by generators offer unparalleled convenience during an outage, they’re not for everyone. Thanks to their robust size and power capacities, these systems typically cost several thousand dollars. Many would opt to forgo a bit of convenience in favor of a less expensive option.
When most people think of generators, they envision backup generators. Relative to their stand-by cousins, backup generators are much smaller; thanks to their portability, backup generators can be moved to where they can be of best use – alongside a home, on a camping trip, or even a tailgate party.
Because they are smaller, backup generators can rarely power entire homes. But backup generators can often power several critical household devices – enough to make any power outage more bearable.
Unlike standbys, backup generators aren’t designed to plug directly into a home’s electrical system. In order to connect a backup generator to the home, an electrician will need to install an interlock kit or a manual transfer switch. These devices let homes draw power from a generator without risk of damage; they also let you draw power from household outlets.
While backup generators can’t often power entire homes, interlock kits and transfer switches allow you to select which devices are powered. When you’re done using a device, you can allocate power to another one. While backup generators may not match the convenience of stand-by generators, but they are a more budget-friendly alternative – particularly if you don’t need to use them regularly.