As a resident of Southwest Florida, you understand that hurricanes are a fact of life. And you know that hurricanes will possibly result in power outages that can last for hours, if not days—or even weeks! You know that you need to stock up on water, food, and batteries when the hurricane is coming, but what about a generator?
The benefits of a standby generator are significant. Don’t believe us? Let’s look at the ways that owning a portable or standby generator impacted one homeowner’s hurricane experience to help you decide what kind of generator you might need.
Joe’s Standby Generator Story
Let’s call our real-life homeowner Joe.
Joe and his family are Florida natives, and they understand the kind of damage that a hurricane can wreak. They had to evacuate to avoid living in the dark during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and they weren’t eager to repeat the experience any time soon. After Andrew, Joe asked himself, “What generator do I need?”. Rather than being forced to leave their home the next time a hurricane was spotted near Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral or any other community in Southwest Florida, they decided to invest in a backup generator.
Sure enough, a hurricane hit their home in Cape Coral—and it was a doozy. The storm was intense, and the city’s power was out for a whole week! While most of Joe’s neighbors were evacuated, Joe was able to stay in his home. Why? Because he chose to install a backup generator! “What kind of generator should I get?” was the question at the forefront of Joe’s mind, and the top of his to-do list. So he took action to find the generator that was right for his home and family before a storm hit again.
With Joe’s backup generator, the family stayed comfortable in their own space. They had lights, sure, but there’s a lot more that a backup generator can power when a hurricane shuts down the city. Deciding between a permanently installed standby generator and a smaller generator is important, and “Should I get a portable or standby generator?” is an important question that warrants some serious research.
With either choice, you get big benefits. Most refrigerators are powered by electricity; Joe could rest easy knowing that the food he’d purchased before the hurricane hit would not be spoiled, costing him hundreds of dollars in wasted groceries. Their electric stove was up and running, so the family could enjoy a hot meal in their home.
Joe’s home has an electric water heater, so with a portable or standby generator, Joe and his family had hot showers. Joe’s electric washer and dryer were functioning, thanks to the generator, so they were able to do their laundry without dragging everything to the laundromat.
Bonus? Joe’s kids were able to keep their electronics charged, so he was able to relax without hearing complaints about boredom as they waited for school to be in session again. By seriously taking the time to ask, “What kind of generator do I need?” Joe was able to care for and protect his family better, during a very difficult time in his region.
The Standby Generator Difference
Backup generators come in a number of sizes and can be fueled by natural gas, diesel, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But how do you know how much power you’ll need?
“What generator do I need?” is already an obvious question, but the size of your choice matters a lot too. This calculation is an easy matter of creating a list of the appliances you want to power during the outage. Next, determine the amount of power required to start and run each appliance, and then total the numbers to determine the wattage you’ll need from your generator.
Typically, a home will need between 5,000 and 7,000 watts to maintain essential functions; with this in mind, it’s smart to choose a standby generator, which is rated to offer you anywhere between 10,000 to 20,000 watts of electricity. You will be able to carry on normally without fear of exhausting the generator’s limits.
When thinking about a portable or standby generator, consider the benefits a standby generator has to offer:
- Your standby generator will start automatically.
- You’ll have more convenience from your standby generator.
- You’ll have more safety from your standby generator.
- You’ll get long-term power for your entire home.
- You’ll have higher wattage and can operate more things.
- You won’t have as much maintenance to perform.
The benefits of a standby generator shouldn’t be ignored. When deciding what kind of generator you need, the next consideration should be, “Should I get a portable or standby generator?”
There are important considerations when comparing a standby vs backup generator, but it’s generally better to have more coverage and the ability to operate the systems and appliances in your home. You’ll get that with a standby generator much more easily than with a backup generator.
Operating your lights, refrigerator, and air conditioning all at the same time, for example, provides a lot of value when asking what kind of generator you need. In short, you need one that’s going to help you stay safe, clean, and comfortable during an extended power outage. Most portable generators won’t handle that very well, but a backup generator will.
What Kind of Generator Should I Get, Really?
Southwest Florida Electric is happy to help you determine what size of generator would be best to keep your home up and running during a storm, and we’ll help you with the regular maintenance that will ensure that your generator will be ready to run when you most need it. Still asking, “What kind of generator do I need?” You can compare options and sizes to find what works for you.
Kick off your search with your very own Free Generator Comparison Guide! Then you can choose the right standby generator for your home with confidence.
At Southwest Florida Electric, we proudly serve customers in the greater Fort Myers and Naples areas, as well as all areas between Sanibel Island and Marco Island. Whether you’re looking to power your whole home or if you just need partial home backup, we have the generator that fits your unique needs. Don’t wait to install a backup or standby generator— you might find yourself sitting in the dark.