Use Backup Generators to Prepare for Spring Storm Power Outages

Spring StormSpring storms can wreak havoc and cause major disruptions to daily routines for homes and businesses. Being prepared in advance for spring storms that can cause power outages is critical to maintain operability, mitigate production losses and prevent injuries or even fatalities. Whether you’re caring for a home or managing a commercial facility providing a backup power source through a residential generator or an industrial generator can help keep everyone safe and productive without interruption. Following are some general tips on how to be prepared for spring storms at home or in a commercial business environment.

RESIDENTIAL

There are several ways in which you can ensure your home and family are ready for spring storms. Being prepared is your best defense against a power outage. The precautions outlined in the following checklist are important to maintain in the event of an outage.

  • Develop a family emergency plan. It can include phone numbers of doctors and family members, an evacuation route and a location that is agreed upon prior to meet.
Home disaster kit in preparation for a spring storm.
Prepare your Disaster Kit
  • Create your own disaster kit. This kit can also be a simple Emergency Storm Bucket, which contains important items such as sharpies, tape, flashlights, first aid kits, Ziploc bags, matches, candles, batteries, radio, landline phone, safety gear like goggles, and camera to document damage in a storm.
  • Turn off major appliances such as microwaves, TVs, and computers. This will prevent damage to appliances and overloads to the power system when power is restored. Leave one light switch on so you can be alerted when power is restored.
Unplugging your appliance from the wall in a spring storm.
Unplug appliances to prevent damage to appliances and overloads to the power system
  • Familiarize yourself with the main electrical panel. You may need to turn off the main breaker or reset circuit breakers after an outage.
  • Keep away from fallen wires, flooded areas and storm debris. You should treat any downed wires as though they have electricity running through them.
  • Consider installing a Kohler Standby Generator to protect your home. Standby Generators are installed permanently on the outside of your home. More information on residential generator options is provided later in this article.
  • Use caution when operating a portable generator. Use properly rated extension cords, and don’t place them in your home or enclosed space like a garage. Don’t connect them directly to the home’s electrical system, as electricity can flow back into the power lines and serve as a liability. Plug appliances directly into the portable generator.
KOHLER portable generator
Portable Generator

Many homeowners are now installing an emergency backup power generator. The number one issue people are faced with after a storm is lack of power, cutting off communication and other essentials. There are two main types of residential generators to choose from – portable generators and automatic standby generators.

Some homes opt for portable generators when planning for storm power outages. The benefits include ease of mobility and economical options. They are designed to run a select number of appliances as opposed to the entire home, so there are trade-offs to the benefits as opposed to a standby generator.

A portable generator must be positioned outside a home away from doors and windows in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Homeowners must run the correct extension cords to the generator and need to be present in order to operate and refuel the generator manually.

Kohler Standby Generator
Automatic Standby Home Generator

Automatic standby generators are installed outside the home. Standby generators rely on an automatic transfer switch, which automatically switches on the generator when it senses the main source of power has been lost, and unlike a portable generator, they offer the added benefit of being permanently installed outside the home.

They run on natural gas or propane and run on existing gas lines. Once power is lost in a home, standby generators are turned on automatically within 10 seconds. These generators can power all critical systems and appliances within a home. Homeowners will NOT need to be present to operate and refuel the generator.

A 20 kW KOHLER generator, ideal for homes during and after spring storms
Kohler Home Generator

It is also important to properly maintain your generator by having a professional generator repair technician service the unit periodically. Steiner can help you maintain your generator and keep it running optimally. You can call Steiner at 847-956-3098 anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for generator repair and maintenance services.

In addition to protecting residential homes Kohler also offers commercial and industrial generators that reliably power your business.

COMMERCIAL

Like homeowners, businesses need to make contingency and safety plans ahead of time in preparation for a power outage. The actual protocols vary on the type of commercial facility, however. For example, some buildings have elevators or escalators that may need to follow specified state or municipal regulations. Escape routes, stairwells and exits should be clearly marked. Emergency lights can also be installed to provide visibility by automatically switching on during a power outage. You can get more information on power outage regulations and safety requirements from your local fire department and government offices.

Businesses can benefit, too, from emergency kits. Flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, tools and even food and water are some ideal items to keep in your emergency kits. Having food available serves in the event that employees are confined to the building for an extended period of time.

In order to help save valuable data make sure employee work stations use UL-listed surge protectors and computers are backed up regularly to a data center that utilizes an uninterruptible power supply to keep its servers running when a power outage hits.

Small Business Commercial Generator
Small Business Commercial Generator

Many businesses install backup power generators for industrial and commercial continuous, prime or standby applications. For small businesses a standby commercial generator keeps power on and allows the  business to maintain operations during an outage. The generator is installed on the outside of the facility, much like an AC unit, and uses an automatic transfer switch to turn on automatically when it senses the main power source has been lost, during and outside of normal business hours so critical computing or machine operations can continue. These standby commercial generators run on propane or natural gas, so there’s no refueling.

A powerful choice for a spring storm generator
Industrial Generator

For larger commercial applications Kohler industrial generators can power large-scale data centers, sports stadiums, concert venues, skyscrapers, office buildings and airport facilities. These industrial generators run on diesel, natural or propane gas. In addition to industrial generators installed onsite Kohler offers towable generators.

Towable generators from Kohler, a great spring storm generator
Towable Generator

Towable generators are designed to be used for powering remote locations, sporting events or concerts. They can power hard-wired systems such as A/C, heat, computers, security systems and refrigerator/freezers. Towable generators run on diesel fuel or LP gas.

Backup power is important for every business; there are many benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Keeping the lights, A/C and heating on to provide a safe environment for employees and patrons
  • Protecting your revenue stream and inventory during an outage
  • Powering your communication, security systems and computing systems
  • Keeping operations running so your customers can rely on you

Power generators are a necessity for any business or homeowner alike. How do you decide which type is the best option for you? A towable or an installed commercial generator for your business? Standby or portable generator for your home? As an authorized Kohler Dealer, Steiner can help point you in the right direction with our wide variety of Kohler Generator options and experienced professional technicians. Whether you need help with installation, maintenance, repair or rental of a generator, Steiner Electric offers 24-hour service by simply calling us at 847-956-3098. An operator will be happy to assist and connect you with a seasoned professional generator technician.

9 thoughts on “Use Backup Generators to Prepare for Spring Storm Power Outages”

  1. I think everyone should have a disaster or 72 hour kit. It is the only way to be really prepared for the worste storms. If you are an avid camper, like me, it is really easy to make one. Just keep your camping equipment up to date and add some more canned food to the kit. However, it is probably a good idea to have a backup generator for your home. This way you can keep your fridge running and will be able to have more food options.

  2. Most people definitely take for granted the reliability of their utility services. All it takes is a tree branch on a power line to knock out services, and if there’s a lot of damage or the weather stays too severe for emergency services to restore the outage, you’re at nature’s mercy. Having a generator on hand, whether portable or permanent, definitely removes some of the fear and frustration when big storms are predicted.

  3. Thank you for such an informative post. Backup generator should definitely be part of your survival kit if you can afford one. for home i personally like gasoline generators as gasoline is easily available and stored.

  4. We recently have had some power outages due to storms. I have been thinking about getting a backup generator. You mentioned that there are two types of generators to choose from – portable generators and automatic standby generators. I didn’t realize that you could have one installed that would automatically turn on when the power goes out. Which type is more common?

    1. Hi Derek – both standby and portable are the most common types of generators, and they are both popular choices. Portable require labor but are affordable while standby are expensive but don’t require labor, so it’s a matter of preference with those factors.

  5. I appreciate your tip about turning off major appliances, I’ve never considered this before. I guess I’m lucky that I haven’t had any issues in the past, but I will definitely be sure that it isn’t just luck that’s protecting my appliances next time. It is also a good idea to develop an emergency plan, and communicate it to the kids as well. Kids feel so much more comfortable when they feel like they are involved. Thank you for all of the helpful tips!

  6. You stated that Once power is lost in a home, standby generators are turned on automatically within 10 seconds. My neighbor called me last night because their power went out and they needed my help. Do most standby generators have to be installed by an electrician? Hiring an experienced electrician install a standby generator could be very beneficial.

  7. Exactly! Loving post. Really we need to use a backup generator for Spring storm power outages. I have covered the buying guide of best dual fuel generator. I’ll appreciate your feedback on my blog. Thank you all for participating this blog. Have a nice day.

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