Choosing Between Portable or Automatic Backup Generators for the Winter Season

Posted On: October 6, 2017

Automatic backup generators can be a great thing to have in a power outage, however, portable generators offer portability for convenience for homeowners. Choosing a generator for your home can be a tough decision. There are a multitude of different makes and models, and it’s up to you to pick the best fit. It’s important to start with the basics, and considering what’s at risk if your home were to lose power this winter. Outages are bound to happen, and typically the issue is resolved relatively quickly. There are extreme cases, however, where you may be without power for several days.

The winter season brings snow, wind, ice, and storms that can easily cause you to lose power. While these situations aren’t preventable, you can lessen the impact they have on your home and loved ones. There are two basic types of generators available; automatic backup and portable. Each has their own benefits, but which one is the best for your home?

Portable vs Automatic Backup Generators

A portable generator comes with a significantly greater amount of risks than its automatic backup counterpart. After considering these risks, it’s highly likely that you will choose an automatic backup generator to provide service to your home in the event of an emergency. Here are some issues you may encounter with a portable generator:

  • CO: a portable generator shouldn’t be used inside your home, as it’s like the output of a car. The fuel it burns is converted to CO (carbon monoxide) gasses as they exit. This can be harmful or even deadly to those who live in your home. You should never put your loved ones at risk by using a portable generator indoors, simply forgetting to shut it off could be fatal. Running a cord to one outside may seem like an easy solution to the problem, but doing so causes another set of problems. The elements outside can negatively affect a portable generator, causing it to malfunction.
  • Manual activation: unlike an automatic backup generator, you need to manually turn on a portable one. If the power goes out, you will need to find and activate it. This can be tricky in the dark, or especially in the event of a weather emergency. If you’re away from your home when the power goes out and no one is available to turn it on, your home will continue to remain powerless. This can cause pipes to burst, perishables to expire, and several other issues. We rely on electricity to keep our homes functioning properly, and a backup automatic generator will provide you with power until the problem is fixed.
  • Refill: portable generators most often run on gasoline. As you know, gasoline can get used up pretty quickly. If you don’t have extra gasoline stored, how are you supposed to refill your generator in an emergency? It could be late and gas stations may be closed, or roads could be blocked due to a storm. Once you run out of gasoline, your power goes along with it. An automatic backup generator runs without gasoline, so running out will never be a concern of yours.
  • Overloading: while both generators are capable of overloading, an overload with a portable generator will cause more damage. This can cause serious damage or fire to your home or inlet box. An automatic generator is less likely to overload because most models will come equipped with preventative protection build in. In the rare event that it does in fact overload, it will simply turn off. this won’t cause any damage and can be easily fixed.
  • Noise: Standby generators are generally noise free. Portable ones are being powered by a motor, and you can certainly hear the difference. If you need to power your home at night, you certainly won’t want to be bothered by the noise.
  • Installation: this is the only time that a portable generator may win. Automatic backup generators need to be installed by a professional electrician, which can be costly. However, the wellbeing of your home and loved ones are at stake, so you want to choose the safest option instead of the cheapest when it comes to generator installation.
  • Durability: once installed, your automatic backup generator will last for years. It can even increase the resale value of your home in the future.

Now that you have the facts, you should buy a generator with the option that best suits your needs. When it comes to safety and efficiency, an automatic backup generator is without a doubt the best choice. It will give you peace of mind knowing that your home, and those who live in it, will be kept warm and safe in the event the power goes out. If cost is your only deciding factor, you may want to go with a portable generator.

Call Reliable Power Systems today for more information on portable or automatic backup generators!