A Power Outage During A Storm Brings Uncertainty and Worry about Family Safety
When the power went out on a stormy late fall evening, Evan Johnson did what he usually did. He wheeled his portable generator out of the garage and put it under a patio table about 20 feet from the house where it was somewhat protected from the rain. With the power cord plugged into the inlet box on the back of the house and a full gas tank, they were good for eight to ten hours. After starting the generator, he set the manual transfer switch to the generator position.
The refrigerator and freezer had power, the sump pump kept the basement dry, and the furnace ran occasionally. They even had a few lights and the television. Power outages and flash flooding were leading topics on the late-evening news. Evan and his wife Korie worried about their daughter, son-in-law, and their baby, but they didn’t answer their phone.
The Champion Tri Fuel 8000 Watt Generator runs on Natural Gas, Propane, or Gasoline to provide the most options during an power outage. It is manual transfer switch ready, has electric start, and shuts down the engine if it detects carbon monoxide.
It wasn’t until after three in the morning that their daughter Joanne returned their call. The power was out and their new house was cold. She had the baby in bed with them to keep him warm, but they were starting to worry because the power company still didn’t know when they could restore power. Kori told them to come over because they had the generator to keep the furnace on.
Forty minutes later, Joanne called again. They couldn’t leave their neighborhood because of a downed tree and a police officer told them the road further ahead was flooded. With no other choice, they returned home and did the best they could.
Evan and Kori’s power came back on shortly before nine the next morning after the storm had subsided. Their children’s power was back on too and the furnace working again. Evan mentioned to Kori that maybe they should buy a second generator for the kids so there wasn’t a worry.
Kori had another idea.
“Out in the pouring rain again with an electric generator. Don’t you think it’s a little dangerous? You’ll go out and spend a thousand dollars or more on a good generator to run everything and then just like you, he goes out in the pouring rain to connect it. I don’t want to hear how my son-in-law got electrocuted and I sure don’t want that to happen to you.”
“No one’s getting electrocuted,” Evan countered. “It’s not dangerous if you pay attention and follow the rules.”
Snow brought by the Nor’easter that followed Hurricane Sandy hampered the efforts of emergency responders, utility workers, and residents to clean up and assess damages. Image by FEMA.
“For a little more money, we could have one of those backup generators. They work automatically. No one goes out in the rain or snow and you don’t have to pretend they are safe and dry under a table or worry that someone will steal it.”
Evan wasn’t convinced, but later that afternoon, he added up their power requirements using an online power calculator. The starter home that his daughter and son-in-law had purchased sixteen months earlier was smaller and would require less power.
Even better, the cost of a standby generator for their home was more affordable than either grandparent expected, and if his calculations were correct, one for their children would cost even less. Evan made a few more calls to find out about building codes and installation. His mind was made up. The next day, Evan and Kori ordered two standby generators from Norwall PowerSystems—one for them and one for their children. Norwall scheduled the shipment to leave the warehouse just two days later by truck.
It would be last time Kori worried about a power outage at home or at her daughter’s house. Evan never had to go outside during a storm to connect their generator again.
*Based on a true story.
Home at night on backup power provided by a Briggs & Stratton Standby Generator.
Peace of Mind—The Gift That Keeps on Giving
The story about Kori and Evan and their daughter’s new family is one we hear more often than you might think. It’s no different from any number of different, but similar, stories with the same theme. Parents find out their children are in need and, for the moment, are helpless to do anything about it. After the children manage to resolve the issue, their parents help out to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Not so much later in life, the roles reverse and very often the children take care of their parents the same way—by providing things the parents were reluctant to purchase on a fixed income or tried to make do without.
A standby generator for home provides a measure of safety in so many ways. Some call it the next “must have appliance” for any home. Our reliance and dependence on electricity has grown far beyond the first days of electrification in the early 1900s. Certainly, there are things we can do without, but so many other things we cannot, like heat or cooling, or the sump pump that keeps the basement dry.
An Automatic Generac Guardian Standby Generator restores power seconds after the power outage hits. A Home Standby Generator can power the entire home or only the most critical and essential circuits. Professional Installation Required.
Power Outage Scenarios Where a Standby Generator Makes a Difference
- Away on vacation in late summer, the power goes out at home for a day. All the food in the refrigerator and freezer spoils. In many homes, the replacement cost is more than $2000 for food and cleanup won’t be easy. This could happen anywhere.
- A winter storm after a late season hurricane drops temperatures below freezing. Pipes freeze and burst. Though far from the coast, the home floods causing thousands of dollars in damage. This was hurricane Sandy.
- An elderly couple perishes in a summer heat wave during a week-long power outage—their air conditioner useless without power. Chicago.
- Power is lost as a series of storms moves through an area with a total rainfall of just under two inches. The next day, neighborhood streets are lined with soggy carpeting and wet boxes filled with ruined memories and lost treasures as people empty basements flooded when sump pumps didn’t run. Chicago Northwest Suburbs.
- Every year along the East and Gulf Coasts, widespread power outages from hurricanes, tropical storms, and nor’easters leave people without power for days at a time.
- Across the south, winter storms leave a trail of ice and downed power lines as an arctic blast or polar vortex sweeps down. Texas Freeze. Georgia Ice Storm. Others.
Peace of mind can come in the form of a standby generator. It doesn’t matter if you’re home or not. Just moments after the outage occurs, the generator restores power automatically.
Portable Generators have many uses. Most critical—keep a few essential circuits supplied with power during an outage.
With a Standby Generator…
- Freezer and refrigerator stay cold.
- Air conditioners cool the house in summer.
- The furnace keeps the house warm in winter.
- Medical equipment like CPAP and Oxygen Concentrators keep working.
- Sump pumps keep the basement dry.
- You have lights and can prepare meals.
- There’s no need to take shelter at a hotel or with relatives.
Peace of mind for you, your parents, or your children. How much is that worth?