For many years now just about anyone living in a remote location, or those in locations susceptible to extreme weather – such as high winds, snow or ice – will have a standby generator in case the power lines to their home are brought down. Others, sometimes portrayed as being rather fanatical in the press, firmly believe that some sort of catastrophic day is approaching and all the services we take for granted will be denied us; so they quite rightly see it as being prepared for the ‘worst case scenario’ to have standby generators.
A third group of people who will automatically decide to have a standby generator are those people living in locations where they’re trying to be self-sufficient in energy; using wind, solar, geothermal, alternative sources of power. In having standby generators such people aren’t going against their desires to live a more eco-friendly and energy conscious lives – but are quite rightly ensuring that in the event of their ‘green’ energy supply failing they can at least have a temporary/standby reserve.
How Much do Standby Generators Cost?
Like many things in life standby generators come in all shapes and sizes. However, they can broadly be split into two categories – portable and fixed. For most home owners; and certainly for the DIY/home enthusiast – a gas, or gas oil, powered standby generator will be a relatively small affair that whilst being heavy, can, nonetheless, be lifted and carried.
These portable standby generators can cost anything from a couple of hundred dollars upwards. Again, like many things in life, the more you pay the more power you’ll get out of a standby generator, although typically most standby generators are sold around the $2000 mark – that price being a good balance between cost and effectiveness. Let’s look at what you could expect for a low cost and a more expensive portable standby generator.
Options for Portable Generators
At the $200 level you can expect to get a standby generator capable of producing about 650W and rated at 0.7kVA, for about 4 hours from a full tank. Not a lot of electrical output from a machine weighing in around the 50 pound mark. This sort of unit would be capable of running things like a few lights and a laptop computer, or even a small electric heater.
However, if you want a standby generator capable of doing those things and keeping your freezer going and even a washing machine then the price you’ll need to pay will be nearer the $2000 dollar mark. The fuel tank for these more expensive models will keep the generator working for up to 10 or 12 hours and produce something like at least 5kW at 7.5kVA. However, weighing in at over 150 pounds – you may well need some help moving it about.
Fixed Standby Generators
Any standby generator will be noisy and will produce exhaust gases, so where you use and locate them needs a bit of forethought. If you should decide to have a fixed standby generator also remember it will use a lot of fuel – which you’ll also need to have standing by; a factor that is complicated by the quality of modern gas and gas oil deteriorating after about 6 weeks.
When it comes to fixed standby generators you could have one installed to provide all the electrical needs of everything in your home – it’s simply a question of what you can afford. As a rough guide a 15kW generator, capable of keeping all of your essential domestic services running, will cost around $10,000.