Just this last week I was asked by a potential customer about installing a generator at their house. I'm not sure what is going on out in the community as I am getting asked this question more frequently as of late.
Now, you maybe tempted to purchase one of those small, 4K, (4,000 watt), generators at your local home improvement store. There are some issues with going this route for emergency backup power and they are:
1) You have to lift or roll out these generators to the side of your home to run 'em. No, you cannot run it from inside your garage! In Florida after the major hurricanes in 2004, several people died because they ran their generators from inside their garage because they were afraid someone would steal them if they were positioned near the house.
2) Small gas tanks means you will have to constantly make trips to fill up the tank...Which also means that you have to store multiple dangerous containers of gas in your garage or storage shed.
3) Most of these small generators will give you just enough power to keep on the lights, run your fridge, run a coffee maker, and a few other small electrical items
4) Oh, and you maybe faced with the dangerous task of trying to tie-in the generator to your main electrical power...Not safe!
I prefer an in-line whole-house standby generator rated between 15Kw and 17Kw will take care of most of all your needs. For fuel, I recommend getting hooked up to a large Liquid Petroleum, (LP) tank, or natural gas line. Other than changing out the motor oil every 50 hours of operation, you won't have to shut it down. (You can supplement the generator with an Uninterrupted Power Supply, (UPS) to take care of the moments you have to shut down your generator.
The advantages of this system are obvious. Give me a call and I can give you a ballpark estimate over the phone on how much a system would cost.