Keeping the Lights On

Illinois as a state is not the warmest region of the union. The mid-west is notorious for freezing temperatures during the winter onslaught. It comes like clockwork year after year. More than once a month in the high season before spring, the airport is closed and people get stranded. In fact, many dread the word “winter” more than anything else. They learn to be prepared for the worst or face the consequences.

When the power goes out, it can be a matter of life or death. While many homes and offices have backup generators, many do not. I had to make the decision recently after a few bouts with failed electricity. I had not thought about it much prior to one particular episode. I just got out a ton of blankets and got into a cozy bed.

After a particularly bad winter storm, however, when people were snowed in, I realized the importance of this handy item. It doesn’t cost that much relative to the suffering you receive at the hands of Mother Nature, but it will run in the thousands. Manufacturers offer a bevy of models, ranged from the small portable generators suitable for camping through to huge systems that are designed to power your entire home or office. A home unit provides quiet, reliable power in a pinch. You should know your needs before buying. Let’s say you decide, or get a consultant to suggest, about a 40 kW unit.

Here is what you will get: an emergency standby model suitable for larger homes and small commercial buildings. It will run on natural gas. The sound level approximates that of an idling car and not more as it has an acoustically-designed aluminum enclosure. The generator is akin to an automotive engine and it may be designated as 5.4L V8—pretty powerful. It will also have a digital control system that facilitates service and maintenance. The LCD display will tell you what you need to do at a glance and can be tied to your computer, tablet, or smartphone—super convenient. The unit is resistant to corrosion.

There’s more! This particular generator as an auto shut off feature, high coolant temperature, low oil pressure, and what is known as overspeed. You can add on a transfer switch and generally customize the system for easy use. It comes with forklift delivery to your door. It is the Generac Protector and it does the job! There is only one drawback and that it does not have its usual tax advantages in the state of Illinois. Elsewhere, check with your dealer as this feature saves you money.

So, this is but one example, but it shows how you can take charge, fork over some big bucks, and secure your safety and well-being during the winter. If you have a family, it is a requirement to be sure. If you have children or elderly people in your home, it is that much more important. Many older structures do not come with such wonder machines, and any upgrades and renovations to them should include one in the budget. It is important for posterity, of course, but also a mandatory action of the moment.