There’s a lot happening in 2020 that feels outside of one’s control. And the steady forward march of
climate change, bringing increasingly catastrophic hurricanes, tornadoes, snow and ice storms,
wildfires, and related natural disasters to residential neighborhoods all over North
America is unavoidable.
One way to regain at least a small sense of control is to invest in backup electric power
generation capacity for your home. From portable to permanently installed, home backup
generators run on propane, diesel, or natural gas fuel and can cost anywhere from $500 up to around
$12,000 (not including installation). That might seem like a lot, but it can quickly pay for itself when
you consider the financial and other implications of going without power for days or weeks.
Imagine, for example, the costs and/or risks of spoiled food. Add up the value of food you have currently
stored in your fridge and freezer. Just a few hours without power can force you to toss hundreds of
dollars’ worth of perfectly good food (or put your family at risk of food poisoning). Now add in the cost
of purchasing takeout or premade foods because you are unable to cook for a week due to lack of electricity.
Having a generator on hand means you can always boil water should
sources in your area become undrinkable. It’s even more essential to have backup
generation capacity if you rely on electricity to pump water from your own well.
Being unable to work or learn from home. Think no WIFI. No big-screen
desktop computers. No printers. No ability to work after dark. Even phone service can
be interrupted when there is no consistent means of charging mobile and handheld
Flooding. Even if you don’t live in a flood zone, there are dozens of reasons — poor
drainage + frozen ground, frozen pipes, and so forth — that can suddenly flood a
basement or room. You need to be able to pump the water out quickly and to use
electric-powered fans for drying to minimize structural damage and long-term costs
associated with mold or mildew accumulation.
Fragile health. Imagine being asthmatic and going seven to 10 days without air
conditioning in a severe heat and humidity wave. Or being diabetic and unable to
properly refrigerate your insulin. For people with specific health conditions, having power
at all time is a necessity.
Even if investing in a backup generator seems impossible at the moment, it is still a
worthy long-term goal to start saving for. Climate change is here to stay. The peace of mind knowing
you can comfortably survive an extended power outage? Priceless!