How does a whole house generator work?

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In 2020, a derecho – basically an inland hurricane – tore through Eastern Iowa and left much of the neighborhood without power for days. Certainly that can create a real problem from a safety perspective obviously but also from a work from home perspective. so I looked into getting a whole house generator, but of course before making such a sizable purchase, it’s important to understand how does a house generator work?

In a nutshell, the whole house generator is connected to the residence and turns on when the power goes out. It then powers the house as a back up power source. In fact, sometimes it could be so quick that you can barely notice. I went with a Generac.

Whole house generator

You can buy one in many places – including Amazon – , but somebody has to be asked to install it. To me if doesn’t seem like a DIY project to be honest

The basics of how does a generator work for a house

In a nutshell, tie your generator into the gas line of the system of the house. So when the electricity goes out, the generator will turn on and will use the gas to power the house like the electricity is running.

It’s pretty slick though. I don’t know what the financial implications are if you actually power your house on your gas line for a couple days. I assume it’s way more expensive than the electricity would be. But if the electricity is not working it’s certainly better to get more expensive electricity than normal electricity. Especially if you depend on it for your livelihood like I do.

Why a whole house generator?

When the derecho – basically an inland hurricane – hit in 2020 I drove up Highway 151 and tried to find a gas station and a place to work and it was  impossible. The neighborhood and many towns in the area were out of power. And it was a complete waste of time. You know what they say – time equals money and while I personally hate timesheets that is a true statement.

So I started looking into a generator

There certainly are other smaller generators available. Some even now are powered by solar. But they don’t run your whole house. They’re intended to run a few things. So in the world of prioritization, your fridge might get powered, but your home office wouldn’t.

Solar powered small generator

How to get a whole house generator?

They are actually available on Amazon. But you can also get them from places like Lowe’s and other local Generac dealers.

The hard part in my opinion is the installation. Building codes  will have to be followed, it has to be hooked up and set up correctly. In other words, hire a local Generac dealer to do that and also sign them up for the ongoing maintenance.

I put some rocks around ours so it does look a little bit nicer, especially since it’s sitting on the side of the house and can be seen from the road if people look on that site.

Read next: The Era of Virtual Assistance: How to use a virtual assistant

Once set up

Download the Mobile Link app to monitor the status of the generator and ensure to have push notifications turned on so you’ll get pinged when something of importance is going on. The generator also exercises for a short amount of time every two weeks so it’ll let you know about that as well.

Mobile link app for generator

The generator connects to your Wi-Fi network. That is another reason to have a good mesh network through eeros – and sends information to the app that way. Of course, you can also simply walk over to it and read and see what’s going on.

It’s certainly not a cheap investment. But it gives peace of mind just in case of an extended or even shorter power outage. The food in the fridge or freezer won’t spoil and you can keep working like any other day. And when you are done working for the day, you can watch TV or use other entertainment that needs electricity.

Get yours

Whole house generator

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