A standby propane gas generator helps you ensure safety and convenience during a power outage. But is it worth the investment?

Every year, folks in South Eastern Pennsylvania can count on at least one major storm that knocks the power out.

Unfortunately, people often hit the hardware stores a few days before a storm is expected, leading to:

  • Higher prices – stocks run out fast and folks scramble to find the last generators around.
  • Poor installation practices – it’s too easy to overlook something, especially in the dark!
  • Not quite knowing how to use your standby generator or get the most from it.

Long story short, the best thing to do is plan, compare, and buy your generator early.

You’ll get a better deal and enjoy peace of mind, too.

When Buying a Generator, Start With Your Power Needs

At Kauffman Gas, we’re big advocates of saving money on energy. This usually means getting the smallest device that will meet the needs of your home and family. With a little forethought, you can reduce cost of ownership by picking the perfect generator.

Just add up the wattage of the items you expect to need during a power outage.

Some standard estimates:

  • Refrigerator – 600 watts
  • Sump Pump – 750-1,500 watts
  • Portable Heater – 1,500 watts
  • Window Air Conditioner – 1,000 watts
  • Lights – 60 to 600 watts
  • Computers – 60 to 300 watts

Not sure what you need? 5,000 watts is a good baseline to shoot for.

A Standby Propane Generator Will Be There When You Need It

When choosing a generator, you have a choice of a stationary (standby) or portable model, but a true propane standby generator is your best bet in most cases.

A standby generator costs a little more and may require some permitting. That said, it’s safer, easier, and more convenient when you actually need it – in the middle of a storm.

Standby generators start instantly when the power goes out, and are stronger than portable models at similar sizes. You don’t have to worry about carting them from place to place safely.

One of the coolest features of modern standby generators is self-diagnosis. The device will actually tell you or your dealer when it needs to be maintained – by email or text. Wow!

A propane standby generator usually pays for itself in just one storm season. That said, there might be some situations where you want to use a portable model. To learn more, check out one of our most popular posts: How to Choose Between Portable and Standby Generators.

How Much Can You Expect to Spend on a Standby Generator?

The big question for any major home investment is: How much does it cost?

Consumer Reports has a great Buying Guide for Generators you can check out.

(For those willing to join a mailing list, it offers ratings and comparisons of popular models.)

The most important things to know:

  • Standby generators usually provide between 5,000 and 20,000 watts.
  • They cost between $5,000 to start and $10,000 for the top of the line.

The Weather’s Great: It’s Time to Start Looking for Your New Standby Generator

To find a good deal on a generator, you can start by contacting your propane supplier.

Not only can this help you find the generator you want, but it’ll give you a head start on the logistics of installing the equipment. To run your generator safely, you’ll usually need a transfer switch, which regulates the flow of power from the generator to your circuit panel.

Work like this should always be done by a licensed and bonded professional.

A propane standby generator is a great home investment, but it’s important to look into it well before you need one. Naturally, propane models are much safer than gasoline-based ones and have a lower cost of ownership, too.

Choose your standby generator today – you don’t want to get left in the dark!