Emergency Backup Generators: Choosing the Right Kind

An emergency backup generator can be your best ally in times of crisis. Be it extreme weather, technical failure, or a major disaster of some kind, when the power goes out and you’re left in the dark, it can be a frightening and potentially life-threatening situation.

Most of us can manage for a few hours when the lights go out, especially in the daytime. But when the night comes and the temperatures drop in particularly cold climates, living without electricity can be a bigger challenge. The elderly are more susceptible to the hazards that can come with these types of difficulties and nobody wants to be without the basic amenities for any length of time.

Having an emergency backup generator means that you don’t have to, these units come in a variety of styles, sizes, and wattage limits to keep the juice running no matter what comes your way. You need to know which one to select, get one too small and you won’t be able to power everything necessary, get one too large and you are just wasting money. With so many options out there and confusing jargon like “interlock kits” and “standby generator” it can be tough to know what you really need.

So with that in mind, here are some of the factors to consider as you select the right emergency backup generator for your home.

Inventory Your Power Needs

This is the first place to start, do an assessment of your home and all of the essential items that you need to keep powered should something happen. Take everything into consideration so the generator is as effective as can be in keeping you and your family in total comfort.

Some things are obvious; lamps, the refrigerator so your food doesn’t spoil, and chargers for your cell phone. But think about the other items that are important like any medical equipment that must always be running and heat sources that can run on electrical power when your primary sources of heat are inoperable without a current.

Having a generator for these uses can make living without power manageable for however long you may find yourself in the dark.

Once you know all of the items that will need to be powered on, tally all of their wattage requirements into one grand total. Be sure to factor in the running wattage of everything and the starting wattage on the item that has the largest load requirement as that will usually represent a number that’s three to five times more than the running wattage.

After you’ve inventoried all of these items together, then you can start to research which emergency backup generators are sufficient enough to get the job done.


If you’re living in an urban area that is close to the major grids that provide electricity for larger city environments, then you may be among the first to have your power restored in the event of an incident. City centers are typically restored quicker due to the sheer number of homes and businesses that are left without electricity.

However, if you live in a more remote location you may be without power longer than if you reside near a higher concentration of people. Rural regions are often left powerless for extended periods of time due to the accessibility of power sources in these areas. It can sometimes take longer to diagnose a problem that is further out from the cities.

Which of these places is your home or office? Factoring this into the equation can play a role in choosing the right kind of emergency backup generator.


Do you want a generator that is stationary or do you need something you can move from one location to the next? Sometimes a backup generator is more than just an emergency necessity, it can also provide you with useful power outside of the home. Whether you want to bring it into the backyard or to the job site or the beach, a generator can be a very useful item for anywhere you need some additional electrical power at the ready.

Portable generators come many sizes and capacities so if you’re planning on going with something that can be easily transported from one place to another, you will really need to know your inventory of essentials.

The alternative to a portable generator is having a stationary unit built into the home and hardwired into the electrical system. When the power goes out, you don’t need to worry about wheeling the generator up and connecting everything to it, just switch the unit on and you’re back in business!


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