Cost and Manufacturers

What is Standby Generator
A miniature power station, fueled by natural gas, diesel, or propane, that automatically turns on in the event of a power outage. Operates continually until electricity is restored (or fuel runs out), then shuts itself off.

Why you'd want one
It continues to power house systems even when you're not there, preventing frozen pipes, a flooded basement, spoiled food, and mold infestations.

How it works
When the power fails, the automatic transfer switch instantly shuts off the main supply, fires up the generator, and directs its electrical output to the designated emergency circuits in the house. When the power returns, the switch shuts down the generator and restores the house's connection to the power grid.

What it costs
You can pay as little as $1,700 for a 7-kilowatt air-cooled system or more than $10,000 for a 35-kilowatt water-cooled unit big enough to run a McMansion. Prices include transfer switches but not installation, which could run as high as $1,000.
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