If you’ve lived in the area for any length of time, you’ve probably suffered through at least one blackout. They’re not fun. Sure, if they only last a day or two, you can get by and maybe even convince yourself that it’s a bit like camping indoors.
The longer a blackout grinds on, however, the more difficult life becomes. You’re instantly cast back in time more than a hundred years. No alarm clock to get you up on time. No coffee maker to jumpstart your morning. No stove or microwave to make meal preparation fast and convenient, and of course, when the sun goes down each evening, that’s it. Unless you’ve got a flashlight with plenty of batteries or a lantern of some kind, your day stops when it gets too dark to see.
Then, of course, there’s the problem of no running water and no flushing toilets, which can quickly turn your normally cozy home into a genuine health hazard.
Do you have a plan for dealing with the next outage that occurs? Does that plan include a backup generator installation on your Great Falls, VA property? If it doesn’t, it probably should, and in this article, we’ll explain why. In addition to that, we’ll give you some details on the best way to proceed.
Before we do that, let’s talk about the three most common strategies people tend to rely on when faced with an outage. Rather than considering a backup generator installation in Great Falls, VA, most people do one of the following:
Ride It Out – As we mentioned, this is possible if the outage is relatively short, but of course, when an outage begins, you don’t usually have a clear indication of when it will end. At best then, this is a roll of the dice.
Stay With Family And Friends – If you have family and friends outside the area impacted by the outage, this can work, but as Benjamin Franklin said, “fish and visitors smell after three days.” The longer the outage lasts, the more you’ll wind up straining your relationships with the people you’re staying with. More than one relationship has been permanently damaged by situations like this. Honestly, it’s just not worth the risk.
Stay At A Hotel – This is another common strategy employed in the face of an outage. It can work, sure, but there are a couple of important caveats: First, you’ve got to find a hotel that’s outside the outage zone but still close enough that commuting back and forth to work is a viable option. Second, it’s expensive.
Hotels tend to raise their rates when there’s an outage, and chances are, lots of other people have the exact same idea as you. Finding a room will be a challenge, and if you’re lucky enough to do so, you’ll pay a premium for it. If you’ve got plenty of spare cash, it can work, but given how much you’re likely to spend, you’d be better off just springing for a backup generator installation on your Great Falls, VA property.
One of the worst things you can do, though, is just run out and spend money on a generator. There’s some groundwork and research that needs to happen first so you can ensure that the generator you ultimately buy will meet all of your needs. Here’s the process we recommend:
Before you dent your savings account or put a big expense on your credit card, the first necessary step in right sizing a backup generator for your home is to conduct a home energy audit. Don’t let the fancy-sounding name put you off. At the root, this is simply the process of stepping through your home and measuring the energy usage of every electrical appliance you have.
Doing so paints a picture of your home energy use, allowing you to spot the biggest drivers of your monthly energy bill and figure out how much generating capacity you’ll actually need in the event of an outage.
You can find forms and instructions online if you want to conduct the audit yourself, but if you’d prefer to outsource the duty, that’s something we can help with. Over the years, we’ve conducted hundreds of home energy audits for the clients we serve.
Whichever route you decide to go, when you’ve completed the process, you’ll have some good, useful data about the state of your home energy usage. If you like, you can simply use this number when determining how big a generator you’ll need to ride out an outage, but that’s not the most efficient approach.
It assumes that you’ll run every appliance you have while the outage is ongoing. Odds are that if you spend some time combing through the data you’ve collected, you can find some energy fat to trim. There are no doubt a few appliances you can either live without during the outage or use only sparingly, which will reduce the amount of generating capacity you need.
That matters because the smaller you can make that number, the less money you’ll have to spend when you arrange for the backup generator installation on your Great Falls, VA property. That then is your next step. Look at the data and start making some decisions about what appliances you’ll actually need during an outage and what you can live without.
Once you’ve made some decisions about what specific appliances you’ll want and need to run in the event of an outage, it’s time to start looking at generators capable of meeting your outage power needs. You’ll find a dizzying array of options available, and even more than that, you’ll find generators that run on a wide range of fuels.
There are generators that run on gas, propane, diesel, and even some generators that are capable of running on a variety of different fuels. You’ll even find solar-powered generators if that’s your thing!
At this point, some people simply get overwhelmed. There are just too many options available, and it can lead to a kind of analysis paralysis.
If you’re struggling to narrow the search and settle on a particular make or model, we can help with that. We carry a full line of world-class Generac generators, and if you share the revised energy audit information and the details of your power needs during an outage, we’ll be able to make a specific recommendation about which generator is the best fit.
In addition to that, we can handle the backup generator installation on your Great Falls, VA property and instruct you and your family on its use. If you like, we can also enroll you in our preventive maintenance program.
Consider this to be cheap insurance that gives you tremendous peace of mind. By giving our experienced electricians the opportunity to inspect your generator at periodic intervals, it ensures that when you need it, it just works. That’s huge.
Nobody likes power outages. Even shorter ones can be highly inconvenient, and if the power company can’t get the lights back on for days, or even weeks, it can be a real nightmare to contend with if you’re not prepared.
Worse, it’s not a question of if the next outage will occur, it’s only a matter of when. It’s a statistical certainty. If you’re not ready, you and your family will struggle.
You don’t have to do that. There’s a better way. By taking the time to conduct a detailed home energy audit and make some decisions about which appliances are most critical, then investing in a backup generator, you and your family will be able to ride out the storm, no matter how long the outage might last.
Don’t let the next, inevitable outage catch you by surprise or unprepared. If you’re too busy to conduct the home energy audit yourself, let us help with that. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of generators available on the market today, rely on our expertise to help you select the right one for your home. When you’re ready to begin, just give us a call.