Posts Tagged backup power

It Isn’t Only Hurricanes that Cause Power Outages

power outagesFlorida and hurricanes go together like peanut butter and grape jam. But, as you know only too well, your home’s power connection can go down because of other reasons. And if power outages are extended, you run the risk of losing all the perishable foods in your freezer and refrigerator. You won’t be able to run the air conditioner. If you have a home business, you won’t be able to work. Forget about going anywhere else to work, because the loss of power affects others in your community.

Other Weather Events

While Florida isn’t in the middle of Tornado Alley, it’s not unreasonable to believe that the state is vulnerable to excessive wind storms spawned by extreme thunderstorms. Given the vulnerability of the electrical grid to excessively high winds, it’s reasonable that you worry about a power outage.

Wind speeds can be high, rivaling those of tornadoes – or tropical storms. Power companies, water companies, businesses and residences are going to be greatly affected by these storms. And, in the event of a strong hurricane, tornadoes can spawn off from these bigger storms.

Excessive Demand for Power

If outside temperatures go excessively high, the demand for electrical power can overwhelm the electrical grid. Businesses and residences turn air conditioners and refrigerated air on early in the day, which puts too much stress on the power company’s stores of electricity. Before you know it, brownouts and rolling blackouts become the order of the day.

When situations like this affect your South Florida community, backup power is necessary. For families with someone whose life relies on a constant, reliable flow of electricity, a standby generator is mandatory.

It’s always warm and humid in Florida. During the summer months, the temperatures will go up. You and your family don’t want to be in the dark, enduring high humidity and temperatures, waiting for the power company to restore your power.

How This Affects Your Family

No matter the cause of the blackout in your South Florida community, you need to have a reliable backup source of emergency power. A source of backup power can help you:

  • Keep perishable foods from spoiling
  • Keep your A/C humming
  • Provide security and protection from looters
  • Keep power going to your home computer
  • Keep lifesaving medical equipment operating

Blackouts and brownouts are happening more and more frequently, sometimes from unexpected or unknown causes. If you have a family member whose life relies on electrical current, a commercial standby generator can give you peace of mind.

Backup Generators

You wouldn’t think that a source of emergency power would be necessary, but it could be. More and more, families and businesses are turning to backup generators and commercial standby generators to remain functional during a disaster or even just during a widespread blackout.

Chronically ill family members aren’t the only concern. Your youngest family members are as well. They need to feel secure and safe and, to do this, you need to help them maintain as normal a schedule as possible. While candles and camp stoves are an option, if you have very young children, these are actually more dangerous. Having a backup generator can help you avoid emergencies.

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Need Backup Power for a Big Family Event?

backup powerYou have a big family event coming up. At this point, it really doesn’t matter whether it’s a huge family reunion set in South Florida, or if it’s a destination wedding. You’re responsible for setting up activities and entertainment. You’ve secured entertainment for the kids in your family. You gave in to your son’s suggestion and hired a rock band – that needs electrical power for their mics and speakers. Clearly, you’re going to need a reliable source of backup power, because your mother suggested buying a bagful of power strips and extension cords!

Reasons to Choose a Home Generator

You are blessed with consistently good South Florida weather. Because hurricane season ends at the end of November, as long as you schedule your celebration at the right time of the year, you won’t have to worry about anything more than heat and humidity.

Because you’re planning so many outdoors events to make the most of Florida’s sunny weather, you’re thinking of sources of backup power to have energy running to all the electrical equipment you’ll be using. Don’t forget – your community or neighborhood can experience a power outage unexpectedly. It’s during these times that a home standby generator can help rescue your event from an unnecessary disaster.

Drawbacks to Extension Cords and Power Strips

Your mother might believe that her suggestion of setting up a series of extension cords and power strips is a good one. These items can be put to limited use because the National Electric Code forbids their use in certain circumstances.

Extension Cords can’t be used under the following circumstances:

º Where they are vulnerable to damage

º Extended through windows or doorways

º Placed in wall, ceiling or floor holes

º To substitute for fixed wiring

º For equipment that demands more than 15 amps

º Can’t be connected in a daisy-chain or piggy-back fashion to other cords or power strips

The use of power strips is also limited:

º All surge suppressors are power strips

º Not every power strip has surge suppression capability

You are probably beginning to realize that you need a more-reliable source of emergency power. You want everyone to have fun at your family event – nobody needs to be needlessly hurt. In the event of an unexpected power outage, you want to be sure that nothing electrical stops functioning, either inside or outside your party venue.

The Safety Risks

All surge protectors are power strips. Not every power strip is a surge protector. Should you have all those power strips and extension cords daisy-chained together, a power surge could short out the equipment being used. Not only that, the surge and resulting short out could result in a fire. If you’re relying on a power strip and extension cord to keep crock pots and electric frying pans powered, you need to know that power strips are not supposed to be used with anything that has a heating element.

If the price of a new commercial standby generator is beyond your family’s reach, a pre-owned generator or one available on sale could help you solve that problem.

Having a Safe Family Event

Now that your event is nearing, you need to have a reliable source of emergency power. The right-sized generator can fill your needs for this family event and, when everyone has had their fun and gone home, you have a generator available for the next hurricane and blackout.

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Know How Generators Work to Prepare Financially for a Disaster

how generators workWhen disasters hit, such as the recent tornados that hit the Mid West, there’s often no time to think about whether you’re prepared financially for the situation. This makes it imperative that you consider ahead of time what you will do in those circumstances, how you will react and what steps you should take ahead of time to minimize your risk.

Spend Money to Save Money

When people look into how generators work and whether they should buy one for their home, money might come into the picture. While the initial investment required to install a standby generator might be significant, there’s something else you should keep in mind: Having a standby generator in your home might actually end up saving you money in the long run.

Why? Well, for starters, if you have a generator, you might not need to leave your home and head to a shelter in the case of a disaster. Looting can be a problem when homes are left empty, so if you’re staying behind, you’ll be able to protect your assets. In addition, being able to run a generator means you won’t go days without power in the case of a major storm, so things in the fridge won’t go bad. Plus, you will still be able to follow the weather reports through the TV or radio.

When it comes to being ready for a disaster, however, getting your important paperwork in order it’s just as important as getting your home ready and stockpiling on food and water.

How to Get Started

The first thing you should do to financially prepare you for an emergency is to select the important paperwork you want to protect. Here’s a breakdown of the most essential documents:

  • All personal documents, including Social Security card, birth and marriage certificates, diplomas and passports. If you have additional paperwork, such as military documents, those should be saved as well. If you have a will or estate planning paperwork, add that too.
  • All home-related documents, including car title, home deed and insurance policies
  • Financial documents: account information for your 401(k) or IRA, as well as any bonds or stock certificates you might own
  • Medical documents: Health insurance cards are a must during an emergency. So are prescription records, in case you need to refill essential medication for a condition

You should also have written record of all your most important phone contacts, including your doctor, a friend or relative you can call during an emergency, a vet clinic if you have pets and your insurance (both medical and car insurances). Don’t rely on the numbers saved in your phone during an emergency — you might not be able to recharge your phone or the lines/towers might be inaccessible, and then you won’t know the numbers to call.

How to Store the Paperwork

Important documents should always be stored in a fireproof, waterproof box. Unless you have tons of paperwork, you can go with the smallest of boxes, which should be big enough to store several full folders.

Waterproof plastic containers are a good second option if you have nothing else available, but keep in mind these will only serve as protection against water, but not fire. Also, always test the container in advance by submerging it under water and confirming that water cannot get inside once the lid is secure.

The Power of Electricity

When it comes to financial planning, keep one thing in mind: ATM machines need electricity to run. Once you understand how generators work, you’ll see that only major places, such as hospitals and some stores will have one in place. Chances are your local bank will not. Small grocery shops aren’t likely to have one either. While they might remain open to sell products, they won’t be able to accept credit cards if there’s no electricity.

The answer? Always keep some cash in hand. Better yet, store it along with your financial papers so you can access it quickly during a disaster. You probably don’t need a lot – just enough to buy you a tank of gas and some extra food and water if needed.

Image credit: CNN.com

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A Year After Sandy, Backup Power Generators Remain Popular

backup powerWhen Hurricane Sandy hit the Atlantic Coast in October 2012, it surprised a lot of people. People who were not prepared to deal with the aftermath of a powerful storm and the destruction it can bring.

Sandy’s devastating effects opened a lot of eyes to the importance of being prepared with an escape plan, backup power and emergency supplies.

In the past, backup power generators were something that only people in hurricane-prone states bought. Since Sandy, however, more and more homeowners are realizing the importance of generators everywhere, according to Generac’s (the leading maker of home standby generators) Chief Executive Aaron Jagdfeld.

Choosing the Right Option

When you’re thinking of a secondary source of power, your first reaction might be to go to solar paneling or other forms of green energy. While that’s a great option, solar systems are more expensive, more difficult to install and take more time to get up and running than standby generators. Plus, solar systems often require unsightly installations on your roof, which might not even be acceptable depending on the building codes in your city.

Standby generators, on the other hand, are located next to the house or in your basement, so they’re not an eyesore. They can also be up and running in just a few hours.

What Makes Standby Generators So Important

In an interview with National Geographic Daily News, Jagdfeld pointed out that Hurricane Sandy was a wakeup call for many when it comes to standby generators. He explained that more and more people rely on the electric grid for power without taking into consideration the increase in severe weather and the ever-aging population. Combined, these things could spell disaster, especially in many large cities and communities, where installing a standby generator has often been deemed unnecessary in the past.

Some Numbers

To give you a clearer idea of the impact of Hurricane Sandy, here are some stats:

  • Over 8 million homes lost power when Hurricane Sandy hit
  • By the time Thanksgiving rolled around almost a month later, 80,000 of those homes still didn’t have power restored
  • According to an article in Time, 10,000 people called their local True Value Hardware in New Jersey in the days before Sandy hit. The reason for the call? They were searching for an emergency generator.

Are Generators More Popular?

They certainly are. Generator sales went up 40 percent after Hurricane Sandy. That’s because more and more people are now very aware of the importance of having backup power, regardless of where they live.

In the past, people were more likely to go with portable generators, but standby units are now becoming more popular. Why? Well, for starters, standby generators don’t require gasoline, which might be difficult to obtain if you’re going through a major storm. After all, if there’s no power, gas pumps won’t work. On the other hand, standby generators run on either LP or natural gas, which can be easily stored in tanks so you don’t have to constantly refill the unit to keep it running.

While standby generators are more expensive than portable units, here’s something you might not know: many home insurance companies offer something known as a “loss mitigation credit” if you install a standby generator. This is a special discount offered to customers who own a unity, based on the fact that having backup power can reduce your losses and damages during and after a storm.

Regardless of whether you were affected by Hurricane Sandy or not, a standby generator can be a sound investment for the safety and the future of your home and your family.

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