Standby Generator 300 x 225‘Tis the season for winter storms. And all that ice, snow, and wind can cause power outages. One way to keep the power on is with a standby generator. Unlike portable generators, propane-powered standby generators automatically kick on in the event of a power outage, so your electricity-fueled activities won’t be interrupted.


But they’re not for everyone. Installation requirements, noise, and other factors can make them an undesirable option, depending on your needs. Here are some pros and cons of installing a standby generator, courtesy of Popular Mechanics.


  • Kick on automatically, providing uninterrupted power. That’s especially helpful if you work from home, own a business, have medical needs requiring electricity, or have small children.
  • Can power your home for days
  • Are permanently installed


  • Can be loud. Some systems run about 65 decibels, which can violate a city’s noise ordinance
  • Building code specifications require they be installed about 5 feet from a house and anything flammable, which can make city installation tricky.
  • You’ll need to hire a professional to assess your standby generator load needs and installation restrictions as well as install and maintain the generator.
  • They’re costly, starting at around $3,000.

If you experience frequent outages, or depend on power for your medical conditions or to make your living, the advantages of a standby generator may outweigh the drawbacks. If a day or two without electricity won’t affect you that much, or you only need a limited amount of power, a smaller, more affordable portable propane generator may be a better option.

Learn more about how standby generators work, and whether you’d benefit from one by reading the Popular Mechanics article.

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