Imagine days without access to refrigerated food. Without heated or air-conditioned shelter. Without hot water … or any water. Without access to a cell phone or the internet.
When it comes to power outages, the struggle is real. Central Virginia’s summer temperatures can exceed 90 degrees for days on end — sometimes too much for the power grid to handle.
Winter weather causes storm damage that leads to downed powerlines and outages in both rural and urban areas. In January 2022, for example, hundreds of thousands of Dominion Energy customers lost power after a snowstorm, some for more than a week.
And they lost more than just electricity. A refrigerator and freezer full of spoiled food can cost hundreds. Lost time for those who work remotely can mean lost pay. And staying at a hotel (if you can even find a room during a prolonged outage) adds up quickly.
Those of us lucky enough to keep the lights on during those times still wonder: Could this happen to me? Should I install a generator?
Our response is yes and yes. But make sure it’s the right generator for your needs.
Whole-House, Standby, or Portable?
When the power dies, the ideal scenario would be for your generator to come on automatically. You want to be protected with a backup when you’re home, and also when you’re not — so no returning to a stinky freezer full of spoiled meat or a flooded basement due to a disabled sump pump.
Both standby generators and whole-house generators fit this bill, but there are key differences to consider before you buy. A portable generator does not meet these specs but may be worth considering depending on your desires.
Whole-house generator. With this type of generator, your electrical system won’t miss a beat — automatically powering your entire residence in the event of a blackout. Professional installation ensures safe and efficient operation. A whole-house generator is quieter (think car engine versus lawn mower engine). It is also more fuel-efficient, tapping into your natural gas or propane source or connected to a propane tank. And it is higher quality, requiring less maintenance. It is a long-term power option. It’s also the most expensive.
Standby generator. This type of generator comes on automatically also, but it’s limited as to what it powers since it can’t handle a full house — just critical elements like A/C, the refrigerator, sump pump, and some lighting. And it’s noisy (like a lawn mower engine versus the whole-house generator’s automotive-type engine). A standby generator is also professionally installed, but it may require more frequent maintenance than the whole-house option.
Portable generator. If your concern is just to keep a couple of appliances working — say, your refrigerator and microwave — for a short time, then a portable generator may appeal. This type of generator runs on gasoline, which means you’ll have to keep some on hand for emergencies, and you may need to refuel several times a day. It’s noisy and emits carbon monoxide fumes. A portable generator is only suitable for limited use, but it is the least expensive type and one you can purchase and set up on your own.
Ask the Charlottesville Generator Experts
Knowing your options is step one before you install a generator. Step two is determining which one best suits your needs and budget. That’s where Fitch Services can help. As generator installation experts, we
- Identify your fuel type
- Discuss your budget
- Review equipment that you’d like to have powered by the generator
- Calculate your wattage requirements (total house or whatever equipment you want to power)
- Discuss possible locations for the unit (and propane tank, if needed)
- Recommend one or more generator models that fit your needs and budget
Your free estimate includes the cost of parts, labor, and any permits — which Fitch Services will take care of. Once we install the generator, we’ll show you how it works. In years to come, you can count on us for routine maintenance to keep your home humming so things never go dark.
In Charlottesville and Central Virginia, power outages are a part of life. But they don’t have to affect your lifestyle. Contact Fitch Services at 434-296-9980 or use our Contact form for a free estimate or to schedule an appointment for generator installation.