Pros and Cons of Having a Standby Generator for Your Anchorage Home
After two winters of little to no snow, this winter is a bit of a shock to all of us. Oh! That’s right! We do live in Alaska! Normally it does snow a lot here in Anchorage. As the snow keeps mounting the risk of a power outage increases. Wouldn’t you rather be out playing in it instead of worrying about what happens if you do lose your electricity in the middle of our real Alaskan winter? If your answer is yes, then you might want to consider a standby generator.
What is a Standby Generator?
Standby generators are installed permanently, usually on a concrete pad just outside your house. They are connected directly to your home’s electrical system so they can provide uninterrupted power for days if needed. They run on natural gas or propane and depending on their size; they can run just a few essential systems or all the creature comforts you could enjoy.
These systems should be installed professionally and will have an automatic transfer switch. When an interruption in service is detected, the switch disconnects you from the municipal power grid and starts up your generator. The switch can also detect when the main power comes back on and will shut down your generator and reconnect to the municipal grid.
Benefits of a Standby Generator in Anchorage
- Seamless switching between systems means it is worry free. It means no fumbling around in the dark looking for gas and trying to get the portable generator going. Also, portable generators must be pulled outside, and long extension cords must be run back inside the house because carbon monoxide is given off by the motor
- The continual flow of power is of particular importance for people who depend on powered, home medical equipment.
- Dependable electrical power can be critical for people working from home who need to stay connected.
- A regular power source ensures food doesn’t spoil in refrigerators or freezers.
- Having power during outage means you can continue to use any of your electric appliances to prepare meals.
- Since the power and therefore the heat stays on, you do not have to worry about frozen pipes!
- The transfer switch acts as a surge protector and prevents back-feeding electricity, which is potentially lethal since it can start fires.
- You may be able to get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance if you install a standby generator.
Cons to Owning a Standby Generator in Anchorage
- They are noisy so check the noise ordinances in Anchorage for installed generators.
- Installation requires advanced plumbing and electrical skills and should not be done by the weekend DIY’er. Contact your local Anchorage plumbing expert to make sure the installation is done right.
- Standby generators can be costly, especially for ones large enough to run an entire house.
- They depend on a fuel supply, so it is important to make sure you have enough propane or have the generator hooked up to your natural gas line.
- They need regular maintenance. Your generator is an engine, and it needs the same consistent maintenance your vehicle would need. It will be critical to have it serviced following 24-48 hours of continuous use.
Standby generators can be a significant upfront investment, but go a long way toward peace of mind on these cold and very snowy Anchorage evenings.