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Your Home

Energy Matters

Posted: 1/11/2013

A standby generator, like this one from Kohler, can automatically power an entire home during a power outage
A standby generator, like this one from Kohler, can automatically power an entire home during a power outage.

(NAPSI)—We live in a “plugged-in” society. Our lives are filled with dozens of electronic devices and gadgets, not to mention the critical systems that keep our homes up and running. With our ever-growing dependence on electricity, the need for reliable backup power is more important than ever, especially for those who operate home-based businesses or people with medical needs.

What To Do

Fortunately, even in the event of a power outage due to severe weather or other emergency, you do have options:

1. A portable generator is great for camping, tailgating or other situations where temporary power comes in handy. If used in a home setting, a portable generator can power a few items like a refrigerator or sump pump, but is not designed to power an entire home. A portable generator is manually operated and runs on gasoline, which means you have to fill it every few hours during a power outage. All electronic items must be plugged into the unit using properly rated extension cords and the unit must be kept outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

2. A standby generator, which many experts feel is the best option for homeowners or small businesses, permanently connects to your home, similar to a central air-conditioning unit. It runs on propane or natural gas and connects directly to existing fuel lines. When utility power is lost, a standby generator automatically turns on, typically within 10 seconds—you don’t have to be home to operate the unit. Depending on the size, a standby generator can power an entire home or a few key systems or appliances.

“A standby generator is basically a power plant in your backyard,” said Ed Del Grande, a home improvement expert and host on the DIY Network. “No matter what Mother Nature brings, you can rest easy knowing you have access to safe, reliable power.”

What To Look For

If you’re thinking about getting a standby generator, there are a few things you should look for:

• A commercial-grade engine for durability and clean, consistent power.

• An attractive design. The unit will be installed outside your home, so looks matter.

• An extended warranty. Look for a standby generator that is backed for a minimum of five years.

Where to Learn More

Leading manufacturers like Kohler make it easy to research, size and price standby generators. You can find informational videos, sizing calculators and other helpful tools at


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