KOHLER, Wis., May 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2012, the Atlantic hurricane season was among the most active on record, ending with 19 named storms. Several of these storms battered the U.S., including Super Storm Sandy in late October, which affected residents in multiple states in the Northeast and caused power outages to more than 8.1 million homes. As part of planning for this year's hurricane season, which officially begins on June 1, homeowners are reminded to strongly consider automatic standby generators to protect their homes in the event of extended power outages like those caused by Sandy.
"Since 2011, there have been more than 5,000 power outages and more than 50 million homes and businesses affected in North America alone, thus creating more demand for standby power," said Ed Del Grande, a master contractor, nationally syndicated home improvement expert and spokesman for Kohler Generators. "Extended power outages are a real threat to homeowners during severe weather events. When power is lost, it completely changes the way we live our lives."
During Sandy, some people had to leave their homes, which was particularly challenging due to flooded streets, downed power lines and other hazards. For that reason, experts encourage homeowners to have an emergency power plan in place so they can stay put during prolonged power outages if not instructed to evacuate. When severe weather strikes, it may take a utility company days or possibly weeks to restore power. A permanent standby generator is often viewed as the best option for homeowners because it can provide automatic, whole-home power during extended outages.
"A standby generator is like having your own personal power plant in your backyard," Del Grande said. "When the power shuts off from the utility, a standby generator automatically turns on and can power all the major systems and appliances in your home."
What is an Automatic Standby Generator?
A standby generator, like those from companies like KOHLER, is fully automatic and permanently installed outside with a direct connection to the home's electrical system, similar to a central air-conditioning unit. It runs on propane or natural gas and is connected to the home's fuel lines, meaning the homeowner does not have to be physically present to start up the generator and fuel it.
How Does an Automatic Standby Generator Work?
A standby generator works in tandem with an automatic transfer switch that continuously monitors utility power. When power is lost from the utility, the switch automatically transfers the electrical load to the standby generator. The transfer of power to the standby generator usually takes 10 seconds or less and – again – the homeowner does not need to be present during the process.
An automatic standby generator can power critical and sophisticated appliances and systems in a home, including lights, heating/cooling systems, refrigerators, sump pumps, security systems, electronics and more. Depending on the size, a standby generator can power an entire home or a few key devices like a set of lights, a refrigerator and/or an air-conditioning unit. Some units even come with remote monitoring capabilities, which allow homeowners to manage their automatic standby generator from a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Prior to purchasing an automatic standby generator, consumers should fully investigate their options and consult with a local power professional. Key features to consider include: a commercial-grade engine that provides clean, consistent power and can handle heavy loads; a non-corrosive enclosure (especially in areas with salt water); and a minimum five-year warranty.
To learn more about automatic standby generators, homeowners can visit manufacturer websites like KOHLERGenerators.com. This website features a variety of helpful tools, including a sizing calculator, instructional videos and a dealer locator.
"The time to consider your backup power options is not in the eye of the storm," Del Grande said. "It takes time to research your options and install the proper standby generator. Do your homework now so you're ready for the next big storm."
SOURCE Kohler Co.