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Warning about portable generators

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Not usually a topic for a Renovator advisor, but I do bring up installing a  power backup for folks to consider as they plan a reno.

The massive storm that hit Vancouver Island, BC caused portable generator sales to skyrocket as folks scrambled for heat as well as keeping fridges and freezers cold.

But these generators produce ‘Dirty electricity” which refers to the quality of voltage, frequency, and waveform.

I won’t bore you with what all that means just know generators are fine for fridges and freezers, but not for delicate electronics to run. Before you hook up your computer, circuit board rigged furnace, a home dialysis machine, and perhaps that ‘Gas fired on demand hot water heater’ (loaded with circuitry) check with the generator manufacturer first to find out the quality of power output.

There are alternatives: invest in a UPS (uninterrupted power supply). Basically, a battery backup that converts to clean power.

Another alternative is to invest in a non-portable, high-quality generator that can run the entire house. They provide quality electricity, run on natural gas or propane and come on automatically when the power goes out. Do your homework as these units come with various levels of quality. These are an investment from $ 4,000 plus install and transfer switch.

The last choice is what we do: use a portable generator, keep the chilly bins going and actually have conversations with your significant other. I know it sounds weird, but is very wonderful!

Having seen the vast destruction from only a wind makes a generator worth considering. Gives a good prospective if we are hit by a powerful earthquake!