Extreme weather is here to stay and is becoming the norm rather than the exception for many regions of the country. According to Climate.gov, a record 22 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters occurred across the United States in 2020, costing the nation $95 billion in damages.
So, what can you do to give your homebuyer peace of mind when the power goes out? Install a natural gas backup generator. During a power loss, such generators can avoid:
- Wasting $200 to $500 worth of food when the refrigerator goes off.
- Spending thousands to renovate a flooded basement after the sump pump fails.
- Losing several days of work in the home office until power is restored.
Comparing natural gas to other fuels
Natural gas backup generators can keep running for weeks. For liquid propane, operating time is limited by the size of the fuel tank; for a larger generator, a larger tank is required. For instance, a 500-gallon tank is required to operate a generator 24 hours per day for over a week. With natural gas, there are no hassles with storing or refilling fuel tanks.
A permanently installed generator also provides numerous advantages over a portable generator running on gasoline or diesel:
- Minimal risk of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Less expensive to operate than gasoline and diesel.
- No refilling of fuel tanks or storage of flammable fuels.
- No need to run extension cords throughout the house.
- Automatic operation and protection 24/7.
Depending on the price of natural gas, it shouldn’t cost more than $4 or $5 per month to run the unit in exercise mode. During a power outage, costs can run around $20 to $30 per day for a load under 50%.
Generator cost and features
Standby generators typically range in cost from about $2,000 up to $15,000, depending on the size of house and the power load. In general, the most critical household equipment (well pump, refrigerator and lighting circuits) can be operated with a generator rated at 5 to 7.5 kilowatts. To operate these appliances simultaneously, at least a 7.5-kilowatt or higher capacity generator is required.
Installation costs vary by system size, local building codes and other parameters. Typical generator features include:
- Automatic transfer switch, providing power in as little as 10 seconds.
- Noise levels comparable to a central AC unit.
- Remote monitoring using a smartphone, tablet or PC.
- Comprehensive five-year limited warranty of parts, labor and travel.
- Approximately 3,000 hours of use or more than 30 years of service.
- Power management function to reduce required size of generator.
Some models also offer rust and corrosion resistant aluminum enclosures, wind rating of 181 mph for hurricane-prone areas, and management of up to 32 modules for high-voltage appliances.
For builders who invest in natural gas generators, homes are usually easier to sell, especially in outage-prone areas. They can also be marketed with an increased value of about 3% (on average).
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