If you are living in Pennsylvania, south Jersey and northern Delaware, you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief right about now. There were a lot of scary predictions about winter storm Juno, but they largely amounted to a few inches of snow and a slightly longer commute. Considering the forecasts, that’s pretty darn good! But what about next time?
You’ve been considering a generator for a few years now to help out during snow-related power outages, but now that you are looking into it, you noticed that there are actually two main types – one that is portable and one that is permanent. Which one should you get? The clear winner is the automatic standby generator (the permanent one), and we at Gas Tec are here to explain why:
While portable generators can handle some appliances, they are generally made to power a lot less than standby generators. The largest automatic standby generators can basically ensure that your whole house is working when everyone else on the block is in the dark; however, there are several sizes based on what you think you will need. Make sure to check the wattage of all the appliances you will want and add them up to see what size to get. And don’t forget to include some extra wattage to cover the power up process, as appliances require more energy when first turned on.
By far the best thing about automatic standby generators is their safety. These systems are installed by professionals and use propane from your existing supply or from an independent tank set up with the generator (recommended so that you don’t use up a big chunk of your regular supply in a few days in the event of emergency). They are self-contained and don’t require any work or cable setups on your part.
In contrast, portable generators run on gasoline and require you to connect the individual appliances you want to power to the generator via extension cords. This presents several major safety hazards:
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – The exhaust from the portable, gas-powered machine is deadly, so the generator must be kept at least ten feet away from the house, windows, and doors, or any enclosed spaces that people might go, such as garages or carports.
- Electrocution – Being in the open air presents an electrocution risk if it rains or snows, so you basically have to build your generator a little mini tent and make sure your kids don’t climb under it! In addition, plugging your generator directly into an outlet – instead of into the specific appliances you need to run – can literally kill utility workers trying to get your power back online! So obviously, you need to avoid plugging into a wall socket at all costs.
- Fire – If you try to refill the generator’s tank when it hasn’t fully cooled down, it can catch fire, which will provide some heat, but won’t do much for powering your home.
Automatic standby generators offer much greater convenience than portable ones, without question. For instance, most portable machines have a maximum of about four plugs, which definitely puts a limit on how many things you can power at a time. They also emit a constant, loud humming noise, they run out of gas often (which can be inconvenient at night when it’s hard to see), and they have to be turned on in the first place. Automatic generators turn on as soon as they sense an outage, are incredibly quiet, take a long while to run out of propane, and don’t have a plug limit – only a power limit.
In fact, the only advantage that we could really find about portable generators is that they are somewhat cheaper than automatic standby varieties. However, considering the safety, power, and convenience that automatic standby generators provide, we at Gas Tec think there’s really no question. After all, can you really put a price on peace of mind?
Call or contact us today to find out about automatic standby generator installation and residential propane prices in the tri-state area!
There are many propane companies in PA, but some offer more than others. Many people have no idea what the difference is between a good propane company and an average or even bad one, and wish that they had a guide to help them choose. Luckily, we’re providing you with one here at Gas Tec! The following are three things to look for to make sure you end up with the best propane company possible:
1. Prices that are tied to the market – All too many propane companies in PA will offer tantalizing “starter” prices. Unfortunately, these introductory rates don’t last long and then customers find themselves locked into a long-term contract with steep prices and no way out. The best companies don’t do this. All propane companies know that they are selling a product that has a fluctuating cost. Like gas prices, propane prices can fall or rise from week to week. As propane companies already track these prices closely, it should not be hard to adjust the end price that is charged to the customer—in essence, the price should be tied to the market. Before signing up with a company, ask how their normal rates are determined and how often they adjust them to reflect changes in the market.
2. Phenomenal customer service – When choosing a propane company, it’s worth it to hold out for truly phenomenal customer service. Propane companies occupy an interesting position here: you will be dealing with your provider on a regular basis (not unlike a utility company), but there is generally a much wider selection of propane companies to choose from than there are, say, power or cable companies. The result is that propane companies are more competitive and it is possible to find truly good service. Signs of good service include staff members who seem interested and eager to answer your questions, an extreme knowledge of the industry and related equipment, transparency in pricing, plus staff that are happy to explain the contract. Don’t settle for subpar service from a propane supplier.
3. Help for first-time propane users – This may not apply if you’ve been using propane for your home or business for years, but if you are new to it, then a company that provides helpful information is a great asset. Propane is different from other power sources in several ways: it is delivered to your house, it is highly efficient and environmentally friendly, and it can be used in a variety of different ways, including heating or cooking and even power generation. A company that will help teach you the ins and outs of propane is a wonderful ally.
What else do you expect from a propane company? Call or contact Gas Tec today to find the right solution for your needs!