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Tips from Maryland Plumbers: Choosing a Backup Power Generator

powerlineIf you are like most urban and suburban residents, losing power to your house is a big inconvenience. You can’t charge your phone, can’t watch TV, can’t cook and can’t even shower.

At Chesapeake Plumbing, we recommend people living in the areas prone to power outages install a backup power generator.

There are two key types of backup generators: portable and standby.

Portable generators are typically fueled by gasoline and are not designed to supply electricity to an entire house. They can be used for emergency power to run select outlets, so that you can plug in a few appliances and devices. If your sump pump didn’t come with a battery backup, a portable generator can save your basement from flooding when the power goes out.

Portable generators are great for temporarily supplying power to meet basic needs, but they have quite a few disadvantages:

–     You will have to manually hook up the generator after each power outage.

–     A portable generator will eventually run out of fuel, so you’ll need to either have a backup gasoline or be ready to head out to a gas station in inclement weather.

–     Gasoline is expensive and so is running your portable generator continuously for a long time.

Unlike the portable kind, standby backup generators are permanently installed (typically outside) and wired directly to your home’s electrical system. This way, they can detect a power outage and automatically switch to backup power. Standby generators run on natural gas or propane, and our certified and licensed plumbers in Maryland will be happy to install a gas line to power your generator.

This is how it works: you check with your gas provider to confirm adequate gas service to the home and purchase a generator that fits your energy needs. CPI will then obtain a permit from your county official, match approved underground gas pipes, coordinate inspection and correct the piping. Gas lines can be installed in one day, and then county comes out after installation to inspect. Once everything is approved, you have one less thing to worry about – we mean power outages, of course.

Standby backup generators come in various capacities, so if you wish you could use one to power your entire house. To cut costs, opt out of using backup power to run luxury items, such as AC units.

Still unsure what kind of backup generator to get? Consider purchasing a standby type

–     If you travel a lot. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t care about our plans. A wicked thunderstorm can happen while you are away, and no one will be there to hook up a portable generator. Besides, coming back from a long trip to spoiled food and uncomfortably hot home is probably not on your wish list.

–      If you work from home. Working from home is a great convenience, but any downtime means reduced paycheck. Whether you telecommute, freelance or run your own online business, you largely depend on power and a steady Internet connection that you simply can’t afford to lose.

–     If you or someone in your family has medical conditions. For some people, electricity is more than just a convenience. When someone’s life, pain-relief or comfort depend on an electricity-powered device (such as an oxygen generator), losing power is not an option.

We hope we’ve made it a little bit easier for you to understand the difference between the types of backup power generators. Call us (410-437-3888) if you need help choosing the right capacity generator for your home or would like us to install a gas line. We’ll be happy to give you advice and walk you through the process.