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How a power outage can cost you money and what you can do about it

(BPT) - From the aging power grid to severe weather events, power outages lasting over an hour or two are increasing, no matter where you live. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity customers experienced an average of eight hours of power outages in 2020, causing many to seek solutions like home standby generators.

'While storms have historically played a big part in the demand for home standby generators, things like aging grids, rolling brown-outs and the work-from-home trend are just a few of the reasons that we continue to see significant sales growth in standby generators in recent years, and this growth is expected to continue,' said Michelle Gross, senior director, marketing of energy solutions at Briggs & Stratton.

During longer outages, what might have been merely inconvenient can become a real hazard. Virtually everything in a home today relies on electricity. Beyond the lights, HVAC and refrigerator, homes may also employ smart home technologies, security systems and electric water pumps - all of which depend on electricity.

If you don't have a home generator to keep your power on during an outage, what consequences could you face?

How a power outage can impact your pocketbook

Losing power creates problems you may not anticipate. This can include community-wide issues like disruptions to communication, transportation and business as well as individual household issues that are a major inconvenience to your family. An extended power outage could result in:

  • Food spoilage including meats, dairy and eggs
  • No lights, heating, air conditioning, running water or sewage pumps
  • Repairs due to flooding/frozen pipes
  • Mold and necessary removal
  • Risk of intrusion if your security system is inoperable
  • Interruptions to work/study
  • Cost of hotel stays for comfort and safety

As an outage extends from hour to hour, so does the strain on a family's time, comfort and finances. However, solutions exist to help you and your family mitigate - and even avoid - the impacts of a home outage.

How you can prepare for an outage

Being proactive can help restore your peace of mind. Here are three steps to take so you'll be ready for severe weather or other emergencies that could lead to a power outage:

1. Create a home emergency kit

Preparedness experts recommend using a waterproof container to store clean drinking water, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries, a first aid kit and more to be prepared for any emergency. See recommendations at Ready.gov/Kit.

2. Assemble a 'go bag'

In some emergencies, evacuation is recommended or even required, so have a bag ready with items you'd need if you had to leave in a hurry. Some things will be similar to your emergency kit, plus personal hygiene items that you might need for staying in a shelter or hotel. It should be small enough that you can carry it.

3. Protect your home with a standby generator

Home standby generators differ from portable generators. Portable generators are designed for portable power needs, require manual set-up, do not turn on automatically and must be monitored for refueling every few hours. A standby generator, however, is permanently installed outside your home and connected to a natural gas or liquid propane fuel source.

Unlike portable generators used for camping or tailgating, home standby generators are designed to supply power for your entire home. They include an automatic transfer switch that seamlessly shifts your electrical circuits and appliances to the standby generator - within seconds of an outage.

With home standby generators, you don't need to go outside or do anything to get it started. You don't even have to be present, making them ideal for vacation homes or for those who travel frequently. They are set up to work automatically, day or night.

Learn more about home standby generators at BriggsAndStratton.com.


June 24, 2022
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