Do you have a backup generator installed to help see you through the next power outage? If not, and it’s something you’ve had on your radar for a while, you’ll like this article very much, as it outlines the best way of right-sizing and buying the best generator for you and your family. If you haven’t considered buying one and taking advantage of our backup generator installation service in Mclean, VA, this article may change your mind.
Before we start talking about the best way to buy a generator, let’s talk about why it’s a good idea. That part’s easy. Let’s face it, sooner or later, the lights are going to go out. You don’t have to subscribe to conspiracy theories in order to understand that.
The next winter storm or severe thunderstorm is likely to knock the grid out for at least several hours, and possibly several days or more. We’ve even seen cases where traffic accidents involve knocking down a power pole, which leads to a power outage that could run twelve to thirty-six hours.
The point here is that it’s not really a question of if, it’s a matter of when. There’s a 100% chance that it’s going to happen. When it does, if you haven’t taken advantage of our backup generator installation service in Mclean, VA, you’re left with three basic options in terms of dealing with the outage:
- Toughing it out
- Camping out with family and friends
- Or fleeing to a hotel
We’ll talk more about each of those next, and as you’ll see, none of them are great options.
Toughing it out – This actually isn’t much of a strategy, but it can be effective if the outage you suffer through doesn’t last too long. It’s like camping, but not as fun because you still have to wake up early and go to work. It’s just that you have to do that without coffee, a way to cook food, no alarm clocks, no way to charge your phone, no running water, and no flushing toilets.
That’s okay for a day or two, but imagine what your house is going to smell like by day three if you can’t flush a toilet? Imagine what you will smell like by the end of day five with no shower? You get the idea.
Unfortunately, when the lights go out, it’s not always immediately obvious how long the outage will last. Maybe you’ll get lucky, or maybe the lights will stay off for two weeks. Since you don’t know, this isn’t the best plan.
Camping out with family and friends – Ben Franklin summed up the big weakness with this idea: “Fish and visitors start to smell after three days.” You may think you have a good relationship with the family member or friend you decide to crash with if there’s a power outage, and maybe you do. Maybe everything will be just fine.
We’ve heard more than one horror story, though, about friends and family who aren’t on speaking terms anymore because an outage ran on longer than expected, and too many days living on top of each other was more than the friendship could bear.
The real question is: Is it worth the risk? For many people, the answer is an unequivocal no. Preserving longstanding relationships with family and friends isn’t a commonly cited reason to take advantage of our backup generator installation in Mclean, VA, but it’s as good a reason as any!
Fleeing to a hotel – People often use this as their go-to solution if they don’t have a backup generator. It’s relatively easy to implement, with the biggest challenge being finding a hotel with rooms available that’s outside the outage impact zone and close enough that you can get to work every day until the lights come back on.
The problem here is that you’re not the only person in town who’s thinking along the same lines, which means that area hotels are going to fill up quickly. Worse, those hotels are going to be charging a hefty premium because the rooms are suddenly more in demand.
To make a long story short, the hotel solution can get expensive very quickly, especially if the outage runs longer than a few days. In fact, you’ll quickly find yourself spending more on hotel bills than you would have if you’d just purchased a generator and taken advantage of our backup generator installation service in Mclean, VA, which would have allowed you to ride the outage out in style and at home.
With those things in mind, buying a backup generator starts to look increasingly attractive. Of course, it’s never a good idea to just rush out and spend a ton of money on something. If you do, you’re essentially rolling the dice. Maybe you’ll get a generator big enough to be useful to you and maybe not. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that will guarantee you get the right generator for your home and family. Here’s an overview of the process we recommend:
Begin By Conducting a Home Energy Audit
Before you even think about spending hundreds of dollars or more on a backup generator, it’s important to understand exactly how much power you’re using. A home energy audit accomplishes that goal for you. It’s a careful assessment of every appliance in your home and how much power each one uses.
Armed with that information, you’ll have a clearer picture of how much generating capacity you’ll need, but it also gives you a number of other valuable insights. For example, once you’ve identified the most power-hungry appliances in your home, you can make medium and long term plans to retire certain appliances when they reach the end of their useful life and replace them with much more energy-efficient models, dramatically lowering your energy footprint and thus, your generating needs.
Making Hard Choices
Once your home energy audit is complete, you could buy a generator capable of running all of your appliances, but that would be an incredibly expensive approach. It pays to spend some time looking at the numbers and making hard choices about what you can live without and what you’ve simply got to have when the lights go out.
Odds are that before you call us to take advantage of our backup generator installation in Mclean, VA, you can make significant cuts to your overall power usage, which means that you won’t have to spend nearly as much on a generator.
That’s a very good thing, and it brings us to the next part of the process.
Time to Go Shopping
Once you’ve completed your home energy audit and culled the list, coming up with a shortlist of appliances you absolutely need in the event of an outage, you know how much generating capacity you need, and it’s time to go shopping.
This is the fun part, but it can also be a bit daunting. You will find an absolutely staggering number of options available. So many, in fact, that it can leave some prospective buyers with a bit of analysis paralysis.
If you’re bewildered and overwhelmed by the number of options available, we’ve got you covered. We carry a full line of world-class Generac generators and would be happy to review your home energy audit results and your outage appliance shortlist and make a professional recommendation.
Once you’ve settled on the generator you want, we’ll install it for you and teach you how to use it. If you like, we can even put your new generator on our preventive maintenance program, which ensures that any time you need it, your generator just works. There’s tremendous peace of mind in that.
Here’s the bottom line: The next outage is coming. It’s inevitable. If you don’t want to find yourself miserable and camping in your living room, praying for the lights to come on, camping out on a friend’s living room floor or paying a hefty premium for hotel rooms, buying a backup generator just makes sense.
If you have any questions about the energy audit, want us to conduct it for you, or need a recommendation on the best generator for you and your family, just give us a call.