Recently we had the necessity to get a home generator for our home near Chicago. When my mother-in-law moved in with us a few months ago, she brought along with her a respiratory device that absolutely needs to be able to function all the time. Which means it needs electrical power all the time. And that means, that we cannot lose our electric service even for a few minutes in an emergency situation.
The simple thing to do is to have a portable generator stationed just outside her window and if the power goes out, we just run a cord from her machine to the portable generator. It doesn’t draw too many watts so even a small portable generator would do the trick. It would cost maybe $300 to $400 for a generator that would provide enough power to get the job done.
The problem with that solution is that someone must be home to plug it in, and someone must be there all the time to make sure the generator doesn’t run out of gas. Even if we hooked it up to a propane tank, which was one option we considered, when that tank emptied, someone would have to replace it meaning that 1. someone would need to monitor the supply in the propane tank, and 2. someone would have to be able to replace that tank within minutes of it being empty. This is not always possible or quite frankly, practical.
If you live near Chicago, you know that the winters are brutal, the ice storms are famous, and summer storms fell trees and power lines with regularity. All of which cause massive power outages as all our utilities are above ground for the most part. That is, of course, unless you are talking about natural gas.
And that provided the solution to our problem. Natural gas around Chicago is reliable and it is underground. We don’t have to worry about a storm interrupting the supply or some truck hitting a power pole a mile from our house. We installed a standby home generator in our backyard next to our air conditioner condenser…they are about the same size and are a perfect pair. This unit turns on automatically once it senses that power is interrupted. It shuts itself off when power is restored. It works when we are home, and when we are not. And, most importantly, we had the circuits in my mother-in-law’s room directly wired to the generator system so that she, nor we, will ever have to worry about her machine not working. And that is peace of mind worth the price.