When Only Full Power Will Do

If your neighborhood seems to be the last to have its power restored or you just like the idea of having all circuits available without even venturing out in inclement weather to start your generator, you might want to consider getting a whole-house, standby power unit installed.

Standby generators offer the ultimate in blackout protection by supplying electricity to your entire house, not just to a few selected circuits. These personal power plants come in various sizes up to 40,000W, and run on natural gas, propane, or diesel fuel. They get installed outside on a concrete slab or pier blocks and are wired through a transfer switch to the main electrical panel. When the power goes out, there's a slight delay of 15 to 20 seconds, then the generator automatically kicks on and continues running until power is restored.

Of course, you pay a premium for all this convenience and peace of mind. The average-size home will require a 12,000W to 15,000W generator, which costs $6,000 to $8,000. Installation can easily run another $2,000.

For specific information regarding generator size and installation costs, consult a local electrician or check out www.generac.com.

And, finally, the installation of a whole-house generator must be specifically designed for your home. Disregard any price quote given by an electrician who hasn't personally inspected your electrical system and site.

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