but there are some things you should consider
News of people who have been without electric power for a week or more following a major storm on the east coast has sparked increased interest in home generator sales in San Antonio, but electricians warn that home generators are unique and should be purchased with care, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The major decision, according to electrician Joe Harner, is how much you should pay for a device which may only be used once every several years...or even less.
"You have to decide up front, how much are you going to be willing to invest for a piece of equipment which may sit there two to three years and not be necessary," he said.
Harner says a so called 'complete whole house coverage' generator for a medium sized home, which will run all circuits including central air conditioning, can run $15,000 to $20,000, a lot to pay for a unit which may not be used for years.
He says smaller, 'essential circuit coverage' generators are a lot less expensive, and a basic unit that can keep a few lights, a home computer, and a small refrigerator working can cost a lot less.
"You can get a pretty nice generator that will run a handful of loads for $500 to $1,000, and that will handle most household loads," he said.
The more expensive generators, Harner says, will automatically come on when the lights go out and automatically turn themselves off with line power returns. He says while cheaper units are powered by gasoline, the more expensive units are powered by the natural gas line running into the home.
He warns that generators should never be situated inside a home. Every time there's a major power blackout, there are reports of somebody dying from carbon monoxide poisoning after they attempted to fire up a generator in their home.