Don’t lose power this winter with the right generator investment

Last year, winter storms cut off power to more than 600,000 people in the Chester County and South Eastern Pennsylvania area.

Power outages are more than inconvenient – they can be costly for your home. Don’t let potential power blackouts spoil your food or leave you in the cold for days. Installing a backup propane gas generator is an investment that gives you peace of mind and can help save money in the long run.

Calculate wattage to determine the size generator you need

2014 winter storms cut power to more than 600K homes in South Eastern Pennsylvania

The first step in deciding to purchase a generator is to determine the appropriate wattage your machine must output.

Make sure your critical appliances and energy needs are met by choosing a model with a wattage equal to the total of what you need to power. It is also a good idea to pad your estimate to accommodate higher surge watts for powering on.

Use this home wattage calculator from Consumer Reports to determine what size machine your home requires.

According to the calculator, a home backing up basic energy to power lighting, a refrigerator, gas heating unit, and water heater would require a 6,150 watt machine. A medium portable or small stationary unit would be a good choice for these needs.

Choosing between portable propane gas generators vs stationary propane gas generators

After you calculate the appropriate wattage for your needs, you must weigh the pros and cons of a portable generator vs a stationary model. Your wattage calculation will be the bottom line in choosing what size generator you need. Considering budget, convenience, and longevity of your energy backup needs will help you decide between these two types of models.

Cost & Energy Power Comparison

Portable Generators Stationary/Standyby Generators
Cost $400-$1,000 $5,000-$10,000, plus professional installation
Energy Power 3,000-8,500 watts 5,000-15,000 watts
Fuel Supply 20-30lb propane tank Hooks up to existing propane tank

Portable generators are less expensive, more versatile

Portable generators provide adequate energy to back up a few appliances and lighting to most homes for a shorter period of time. The lower price point and make portable propane gas generators a popular choice for most home owners.

However, they run on a smaller propane tanks and require frequent tank replacements to continue to operate. Therefore, for extended power outages or large energy loads, portable propane gas generators are not the most economical option.

Small portable models generate enough energy to power your:

  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Lighting
  • TV
  • Sump Pump

Midsize models can power your heating system, additional lighting, and a space heater.

Standby/Stationary generators power longer, are more low maintenance

For whole-home energy back up, a stationary propane gas generator is a more efficient investment. Stationary models are installed permanently on your property and can hook up directly to your existing propane supply so you don’t need to worry about supplying additional fuel.

This low maintenance back-up power source kicks in automatically when needed. Stationary propane generators generate enough energy to power an entire home on the existing propane supply, making them a wiser investment for larger energy loads, homes in remote areas, and those prone to power outages.

However, stationary models are more than double the cost of portable generators. Professional installation and maintenance costs are an additional expense.

Small stationary enough to power your:

  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Lighting
  • TV
  • Sump Pump
  • Portable heater
  • Computer
  • Heating system
  • Second pump

Large stationary models give you the additional power to operate your washer and dryer.

Compared to diesel and gasoline, propane gas generators are more reliable

If you decide to purchase a portable generator, you will also have to determine which type of fuel source will power your generator. Portable backup generators can run on diesel, gasoline, or propane gas.

  • Diesel machines are typically the most expensive. However, they are the most efficient and have the longest engine life.
  • Gasoline powered generators are the least expensive. Gasoline generators require more upkeep such as periodic oil changes to keep the engine at its peak.
  • LP Propane Gas portable generators are more expensive than gasoline models, but still less expensive than stationary models. Compared to gasoline or diesel, propane gas generators are more likely to start in extremely cold weather, making them a more reliable choice for emergency power.