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posted: 12/30/2012 4:02 AM

Standby generators are a smart investment for a home

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By Ed Del Grande

Q. Like many homeowners in the Northeast, we were affected by the recent storm. While we were lucky and did not get a direct hit, we did lose power for a couple of days. This is the second year in a row we lost power due to a storm and I have decided that I do need to purchase a generator.

As a loyal reader, I know you have addressed the topic of whole-house generators in past articles. So, before I run out and get a generator off the shelf, can you please give me more information on the type of generators that hook up permanently to a home?

A. You're doing the right thing by doing your homework before rushing into such an important investment. The type of generator you're referring to is actually called a standby generator, not to be confused with a portable generator. Standby generators are professionally installed and run on natural or propane gas.

When the job is completed, a standby generator is part of a permanently installed system for your home. If power is lost at the street, a transfer switch included with the system automatically starts the generator and safely switches the electrical-power needs of the house over to the standby-generator system.

Since this process is automatic, the only thing you'll experience before electrical power is restored is a brief down period, usually around 10 seconds.

With that in mind, while a standby generator can be a high-end item, all it takes is just a few seconds to see what a "bright" investment it can be!

• Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and hosts TV and Internet shows. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eddelgrande@cs.com.

Scripps Howard News Service

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