Frankly, there’s a right way and a (or several) wrong way(s) to deal with a tight budget when it comes to Standby Power Generators.
The primary “wrong way” is to buy less generator than you need to power your whole home, and to then hook it up to your home as if it was strong enough to do the job. That’s a recipe for disaster.
And unfortunately this is EXACTLY the way many cheap-bid generator suppliers operate. First, they don’t actually measure what the home requires, then they typically quote a cheaper bid price because they deliver less generator than what the home actually needs.
The second “wrong way” is simply to put off buying a generator. Now, we’re all for saving up to get the right thing at the right quality level. As the saying goes, buy once, cry once. But the fact is, even if you can’t afford a whole home generator, you probably can afford a standby power generator to power your home’s essential electronics.
In other words, you could power your A/C, your fridge, and a few essential lights. So if the power is cut off, you won’t have to sweat it out, or try to put all your food into coolers, or have a totally pitch-black home. No, you won’t be able to run your clothes dryer and microwave and tv and all that, but the essentials will be covered.
So this is a great option.
But you could still mess it up, because there’s also a wrong way to do this!
The third wrong way is to install this partial coverage generator without planning for future upgrades.
To quote Yvonne Fish, of Standby Power Houston:
“If your budget right now is saying I can only afford to do some partial covering and we can plan for the future at this point where we have one manufacturer where we can actually put on a 20/18KW unit for now, and then later on we can add another one of the same brand, same model, and we can have those two generators actually work as one … We’ve done several of those where… customers have started out with just the 18KW, and then they’ve upgraded to add another one so they do have that full 36KW.”
And that’s great news. You can get an affordable option now to cover your butt when the power goes out, and still have the option to upgrade to whole house comfort and security once your budge twill allow.
But the catch is that you’re installer has to plan ahead.
You simply won’t be able to upgrade as inexpensively as you should, unless you plan ahead. Again, here are some words of wisdom on this from Yvonne:
“If you don’t plan ahead, that’s where additional cost is going to happen. [an upgrade] can still be done, but it’ will be more expensive, and it’s much better to plan for that future to hold your cost down for adding one later on.”
So here are the bottom-line, key take-aways:
- Ensure your prospective generator suppliers and installers come to your house to do a proper load calculation to determine who much your home really needs in terms of whole house standby power supply
- If you can’t afford sufficient generator for whole house, consider getting partial coverage to provide power for your home’s essentials — BUT make sure your provider can “plan ahead” for future upgrades, when you can afford to go from partial to full coverage.