Home Power Backup Options for Every Budget

If you live in an area that experiences frequent power outages, nobody needs to tell you just how important a backup power supply is. 

In order to make sure that the lights are kept on when the power goes out in the neighborhood, homeowners and businesses have long preferred propane, diesel, and natural gas-powered generators.

To make things worse, major outages, according to one study, are now 10 times more common than they were in the middle of the 1980s, indicating that blackouts are becoming more frequent. The transmission grids’ deterioration and the rise in extreme weather events brought on by climate change are thought to be behind this deteriorating power situation.

These power problems come at a bad time. We need a steady and dependable supply of electricity for more devices. And, we also work (and sometimes school) from home more than ever. 

Backup Power Options

The following backup power options can help you make sure that your home’s electrical system will function during extreme weather, grid failure and brown outs.

Portable Generator

A portable generator is perhaps the option that’s most chosen for suburban homes; it’s convenient to store and use in different locations. 

A portable, fuel-powered generator travels with you when you relocate, and you can take the equipment with you, whether that’s your annual fishing trip or your family hunting cabin. 

However, because of its portability, your backup power system is susceptible to theft.

When not in use, lock up your portable fuel generator, and think about taking precautions to keep it secure during a power outage. 

A consistent source of fuel (most frequently diesel or gasoline) is needed for portable generators. This fuel does emit emissions when used, so proper storage is required. 

Additionally, noisy, portable generators must be installed outside your house to operate.

When used to power your home’s electrical system, a portable generator should be properly grounded as well as wired into an auxiliary breaker panel. 

This kind of generator can be purchased for anywhere between $600 and $3,000, depending on size, at most hardware chains and rental facilities. While the fuel is available, a portable fuel-powered generator can power your furnace, sump and well pumps, refrigerator, and emergency lighting. This backup power source will be overloaded by the majority of other appliances.

Permanent or Fixed Generator

A permanent or fixed generator makes sense when space and money allow. 

This type of system, can only be stationary and is powered by diesel or gasoline. It functions similarly to a portable generator but can handle heavier loads. 

There’s little chance of theft with this type of generator, and some homeowners decide to add a battery bank for increased dependability during prolonged power outages.

Commercial buildings frequently use permanent generators, which need to be installed by a qualified, licensed electrician. Depending on the size and installation costs, typical costs range from $3,500 to $5,000.

All the same loads, as well as some appliances, can be handled by a fixed generator. An inverter and transfer switch are necessary for this system. In addition, generators with a battery bank need a charger.

Solar Generator

In North America, renewable energy sources are becoming more and more popular. Small residential systems are now affordable. 

A PV (photovoltaic) solar generator can be installed on a single panel, multiple panels, or ground-mount framing. There are portable systems, but their energy generation is quite small. 

DC appliances and lighting should be powered by solar panels, which generate DC electricity. Some homeowners enhance the functionality of this backup power system by adding an AC inverter. 

Systems can be used to effectively power your essential home electrical needs during a power outage and range in price from about $1,000 for a single panel, portable model to well over $4,000 for a twin panel system.

Wind Generator

Wind turbines can be used in areas with the right zoning and weather patterns on larger rural properties. 

Wind turbines are not economically feasible in locations with little exposure to wind, but they offer several advantages for some properties.

Wind velocity is crucial. Test the wind speed on your property or consult a local weather source. A wind turbine can be used as backup energy if the average annual speed is greater than 4 miles per second.

Keep in mind that since the wind does not blow continuously, power generation must be transferred to a battery bank by way of an inverter. 

It is advisable to install a separate breaker panel, though in some cases a reverse meter can be used to feed power back into the grid. Use a wind turbine to generate electricity for well pumps, heaters, emergency lights, and other necessities. 

This system must be designed and installed by a qualified specialist and does require routine maintenance. Prices vary depending on the location and size of the turbine.

Battery Backup System

Depending on the design, battery backup systems can manage both AC and DC loads. While larger battery bank systems or those that use a vehicle battery can provide reliable power for one to two days, single battery systems are best for power outages that last no longer than a few hours.

Inverters and chargers are needed for some battery backup systems. Quality systems also offer defense against overheating, which is a frequent issue with this kind of generator. To find products with greater dependability, look for deep cycle batteries. Groundedness is necessary for safety.

A system with more power capacity costs more than $5,000, whereas a single battery system costs  around $400. Ensure your family’s safety with a backup power system for your home. 

No matter what system you choose, portable fuel-powered generators, fixed generators, solar or wind-powered systems, or battery backup generators, they provide peace of mind in times of need.

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