How to Buy a Cost-Effective Generator

Hundreds of thousands of people were without power this past Christmas in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, as winter storm Harold slammed into the Northeast on Christmas Eve. Heavy rains and damaging winds left power lines down and families were now left waiting on when power will be restored. They were without heat, hot water, refrigeration, lighting and, in some cases even plumbing.

We were one of those families, actually. We live in the Northeast and learned last year how important it was to have a generator. Just in case. It actually makes going through the rest of the winter a bit easier…and, best of all, you can buy a generator without breaking the bank.

How to Buy a Cost-Effective Generator

When the power goes out, the only solution is a generator or battery backup. Both can be extremely expensive. Big generators that can power an entire residence and start automatically as soon as power is lost are quite costly, ranging from $6,000-$10,000+ installed, depending on size.

There is a more cost-effective alternative that will range in cost from $1,500-$2,000 installedThese are portable generators that can power the essentials of a household including heat, hot water, and refrigeration. Depending on your home’s power requirements, a portable generator for $700 to $800 like this on Amazon may even be able to power the house.  

The additional, essential cost is having a licensed electrician wire a generator panel to your primary electrical panel, installing an outside connection to plug the generator into the system.  This can range in price from $700 to $1,000+.  

To activate the generator and restore power:

  1. Roll the portable generator outside and place it in a well-ventilated area.
  2. Start the motor. 
  3. Follow the instructions on turning off the main power breaker into the house. 
  4. Plug the generator cord into the outside receptacle on your home and plug the other end into the generator. 
  5. Then, follow the instructions to turn on the generator breakers.

It’s critical that your licensed electrician walk you through these steps so that you’re well prepared ahead of any storm.

You now have temporary power to see you through the outage until city power is restored.

I suspect this will come in handy at my home both this winter and during the summer. It’s not uncommon to lose power for extended periods where we live, so I’m hopeful that this will be a cost-effective solution.


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