Experiencing a hurricane first-hand is often the tipping point for homeowners to prepare for the kind of long-term power outages devastating storms can bring. After Hurricane Charley struck Florida in August 2004 — a Category 4 storm estimated by the Insurance Information Institute to have caused about $7.5 billion in damages — Guy Stewart decided enough was enough.
“After going through Hurricane Charley in Orlando (Fla.), I knew that when I built a new home, I would install a whole-house generator,” Stewart said. He made good on that intention when he installed his 17 kW Generac home standby unit in 2005. Stewart was glad to have it when Hurricane Irma struck last year.
“Hurricane Irma left us without power for four days,” he said. “My generator started right up and ran during the storm. Everything in the house had power. This generator has been a lifesaver.”
With the 2018 hurricane season nearly upon us — and the extremely active 2017 season still fresh in mind — Generac Power Systems (NYSE: GNRC) is urging homeowners to use Hurricane Preparedness week, May 6-12, to begin preparing before facing the specter of a tropical storm or hurricane.
“Preparation before storms arrive is absolutely critical,” said Russ Minick, chief marketing officer, Generac. “Once a storm is en route, the last thing you should have to worry about is how you will deal with a long-term power outage. Hurricane Preparedness Week is a good time to begin exploring your emergency power options, so you can invest in the system that best suits your needs in time to be ready for a storm.”
The 2017 hurricane season was the costliest on record, eclipsing more than $200 billion in damage. This isn’t surprising, because for the first time, three Category 4 hurricanes made landfall in United States territories. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused massive flooding, power outages and infrastructure damage. For 2018, the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University currently projects a slightly above-average season, with 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major (Category 3 or above) hurricanes.
According to Jake Thomas, director of product management, Generac, homeowners have many options available when it comes to emergency power.
“Backup power systems are not ‘one size fits all,'” he said. “It’s important to consider what your emergency power needs are as well as your budget. Many people invest in portable generators to back up a few appliances, but automatic home standby generators offer exceptional piece of mind because they can back up your entire home, if you so choose, and can run continuously until utility power returns.”
Thomas said that one useful tool available to homeowners is Generac’s sizing calculator. “When shopping for a portable generator, the sizing calculator will help consumers determine the right size generator for their needs,” he said.
As for automatic home standby generators, Thomas recommends a free in-home assessment with an independent authorized Generac dealer. “There are some key decisions that go into selecting and installing a home standby generator, and our dealers are a homeowner’s best resource in that regard,” he said. “An in-home assessment is absolutely free, and it’s an opportunity for the homeowner to ask questions about generator sizing, placement outdoors, installation costs — everything related to having an automatic home standby generator protect their home.”
Planning for power outages is only one way to get ready for the upcoming hurricane season. Generac also recommends taking the following steps to make your home storm ready:
Fuel: Don’t Stay Home Without It: When the power is out, chances are gas pumps will not be working. Your car needs fuel, and if you have a portable generator, that will require fuel, as well. Gasoline and diesel fuel become precious commodities in the wake of storms, so keep a fresh or stabilized supply handy in approved containers, away from any sources of heat or combustion. When it comes to refueling a portable generator, make sure you allow the unit to cool before adding additional fuel.
Weather-proof Your Home and Property: It’s wind speed that separates a tropical storm from a hurricane and also determines a hurricane’s severity on the Saffir-Simpson scale. That’s why you should ensure your roof is in good repair, windows and doors are sealed against driving rain and trees are trimmed to minimize damage from flying branches.
Assemble Your Emergency Preparedness Kit: Every emergency preparedness kit should contain food and water to last for several days. Make it easily accessible from the ground level of your home or business. The kit should also include a flashlight, first aid kit, battery-powered radio, a whistle to signal for help, a portable cell phone charger and an assortment of hand tools. Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, should also be part of your kit, so that you and your family can ride out the storm. Finally, don’t forget pets. Make sure your kit contains food, water and medication for them, as well.
Stay Safe: If you choose a portable generator to back up your home, make sure you always operate it outdoors, far away from windows, doors or other openings that could allow carbon monoxide from the engine exhaust to enter your home. You should also consider a model with Generac’s carbon monoxide (CO)-detecting feature, COSense™. A category-first technology designed for use with portable generators, COSense automatically monitors the area for carbon monoxide and shuts down the generator when CO levels become unsafe or rapidly increase. Also, always use extension cords that are in good repair and rated for outdoor use.
A detailed list of power outage safety tips for homeowners and businesses can be found at Generac.com/hurricane-prep.
Generac Power Systems, Inc. (NYSE: GNRC) is a leading global supplier of backup power and prime power products, systems and engine-powered tools. Back in 1959, our founder was committed to designing, engineering and manufacturing the first affordable backup generator. Fifty-seven years later, the same dedication to innovation, durability and excellence has resulted in the company’s ability to expand its industry-leading product portfolio into homes and small businesses, on job sites, and in industrial and mobile applications across the globe. Generac offers single engine backup and prime power systems up to 2 MW and paralleled solutions up to 100 MW, and uses a variety of fuel sources to support power needs for our customers. We are proud to be named, in back-to-back years, the Frost & Sullivan 2014 and 2015 North American Natural Gas Generator Set Company of the Year. Visit Generac.com for more information.
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