Editor's Note: This article was written and submitted by Chris Boyle.
Continued fallout from Hurricane Sandy and pre-emptive preparation for future storms were the focus of this month’s meeting of the North and Central Merrick Civic Association.
Albert Hakim, Vice-President of Al-Lectric Emergency Power of Freeport, discussed the different types of electrical generators that are available on the market and the advantages of having one in your home, calling them the one viable alternative so that we can fend for ourselves until he power comes back on.
“Generators are essentially an engine, and there are different kinds,” Hakim said. “The easiest and most affordable one runs on gasoline. They’re called portables, and they can be a viable tool in case your power goes out, but the downside is the amount of gas they use and carbon monoxide they create.”
“The next level up is a stand-by generator, which is powered by natural gas or liquid petroleum,” Hakim said. “The whole point of a home standby generator is that they kick on automatically when the power goes off.”
According to Hakim, home standby generators must be installed by a licensed company after a variance has been approved by the local municipality, and these devices, through intelligent power management and the size of the generator purchased, can effectively power your entire home for extended periods.
“There has been innovation in power management in recent years,” he said. “We can put a system in place with relays and intelligent management that can designate three specific high-powered items of your choice. We can then power the entire house. But, we can let the priorities that we set decide that, if there isn’t enough power that that time, at least the three items you designated will work. For example, your refrigerator, washing machine and so on.”
Another important area of generator installation was covered by Hakim — cost. And typically, he said, it can be surprisingly affordable.
“With intelligent power management, you can power an entire house with a much smaller unit than you could have just a few years ago,” Hakim said. “In this case, it’s possible to serve your home’s power needs with a unit that only costs three or four thousand dollars. Of course, installation fees and obtaining variances and building permits will increase that price, but generators are the best alternative for true peace of mind.”
What is your stance on generators? Tell us in the comments section below.