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How to I Decide What Size Generator to Buy? A Question From Cocolalla

No one likes to be without power. A storm or disruption to local electrical service can have a major impact on people’s lives and well-being, whether you live in Cocolalla or Priest River. Fortunately, there are safeguards in place to prevent loss of electric power in the event of an emergency. There are no better examples than hospitals that utilize back-up generators to run their electrical systems in the event of a power failure. Electricity is a necessity for these emergency facilities.

Electricity is also a necessity for you in your homes. Many of you can “wait out” a power failure because experience shows that power failures can be as short as a few seconds or minutes. Even ones lasting several hours are tolerable, albeit disruptive and uncomfortable.

If you’d prefer to have back-up power there are some things to consider when shopping around for a gas generator. Many people would like to have this important appliance but simply cannot afford to make the expenditure. The question then is: Can you afford not to have electricity? Will you have to replace a refrigerator or freezer full of food? Are you entertaining guests and can’t reschedule the event? Does someone in your home require electrical medical equipment? If you answer yes to any of these you are an ideal candidate for a generator.

But what size and type?

First of all, how much energy does you home consume? Do you run your air conditioner and furnace a lot? Are your refrigerator and/or freezer set on very cold temperatures? Do you run a lot of computers and televisions?

Typically, the right size generator for a 2,000 square foot home is around 7,000 watts. This generator will power up most appliances and cost in the $900-$1,000 range. If you are on a budget and don’t need to constantly run every appliance, you might consider a 1,400 watt gas generator which retails for around $200. Other gas generators with various wattage ratings run the gamut of pricing between these two examples.

When buying a generator, also determine if you want major appliances plugged directly into the generator or to simply run the main power circuit from your home into the generator. If you choose the later, it is advisable to hire a qualified electrician to tie in the generator to your home.

If you really want instant piece of mind and don’t mind paying for the expense, you can buy a generator that activates immediately after a power failure and runs on natural gas. But now we are talking about big dollars.

If you decide to go the gas generator route, keep one more thing in mind. They don’t run forever. Keep an ample supply of gas on hand to feed the generator, based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.

A power supply loss doesn’t mean the end of the world – if you plan ahead.

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