Five Reasons to Have a Home Generator

Friend Terri Nakamura and I have been talking (via tweets, mostly) about home generators and power outages lately. And she said she thought I should write about having a generator, which never occurred to me! But many people could use a home generator right now. If you’re thinking about getting one, here are some reasons you should. While I haven’t written about home generators before, I’ve written about emergencies. You might like How Natural Disasters Can Make Us More Grateful.

Peace of Mind

Knowing that you can keep your appliances going (especially if you have medical appliances such as a CPAP machine), your refrigerated items cold, and your heat on for your babies gives you peace of mind. Now a generator won’t necessarily run everything in your home, but you can get by with one. A whole-house generator will cost you a lot more, but give you even more peace of mind if outages are really bad where you are. For me, a home generator is just the right size.

Climate change is getting worse

When we first moved to the Santa Cruz Mountains, we rarely had power outages. Even though it seemed like we lived in the middle of nowhere, the power stayed on. And even though I could’ve gotten a Tesla Powerwall, I didn’t. Now of course I wish I had! Because they were around $5,000 then and now the price has tripled, if they’re available at all. And our power outages are happening all the time. To give you an idea of how often the power goes out, we sometimes don’t even bother resetting the clock on the microwave after it goes out. If we’re having a bad storm, we’re certain the power won’t stay on, and we’ll just have to reset it again. This time around, the power only went out for a few minutes, but we still didn’t reset the microwave clock.

Independence during storms

As I write these words, we just went through a pretty bad storm. Our area got about 10″ of rain. We were warned to stay off the roads, and watch for fallen trees and downed wires, which we did. With a generator, we could stay home, be able to cook and charge our devices, and stay out of the way of the emergency vehicles. Police and fire departments were out mopping up debris, downed trees, and helping people who got stuck in the storm. Even though we didn’t have to use the generator (this time), it was a godsend knowing it was there .

Five Reasons to Have a Home Generator

Losing food, even if you get reimbursed, is a hassle

You really don’t want to lose everything in your frig. Even if your local power company reimburses you, do you really want the hassle? Filling out forms, saving receipts, and waiting for reimbursements? Don’t we already do that with insurance claims? Who wants more bureaucracy? A generator costs relatively little when you measure what your time and the hassle cost you. Mine cost around $500, by the way. And also, if you don’t have food you’ll have to run to the store during a storm or emergency, which is not fun–and that’s if you can find one that’s open and has the supplies you need. During the early days of the pandemic, some of our local stores didn’t have much fresh food, and many lost their frozen food as well, since they didn’t have backup generators!

You can set up a home generator!

There’s no reason you can’t set up a generator. If I can do it, you certainly can, too! It’s really not that difficult. You may need some additional things, such as the following:

  • A heavy-duty extension cord to go from the generator to the frig;
  • A gas canister (make sure your generator uses the type of fuel you’re buying!);
  • Gasoline or some type of fuel (check which type of fuel your generator needs–I know I said it twice, but it’s critical);
  • Some fuel stabilizer so the gas doesn’t go bad when you store it. Bob Vila has a good article on gasoline and keeping it fresh.
  • A place to store your generator when not in use. You can get a shed if you don’t have an ideal spot to store your generator.Other than the above supplies, a generator is fairly simple to operate.

There are people to help you

Odds are one of your friends in your neighborhood already has a generator and can help you set it up and learn to use it. When there’s a storm, walk around your neighborhood and listen for who has one. There is also YouTube University, where you can learn more than you’ll ever want to know about this or nearly any other subject. Luckily for me, my friend Annie and her wonderful husband offered lots of help. Maybe you have an Annie in your life who could help you! Actually, she volunteered her husband and that worked out perfectly!


  1. During the ice storm that hit Virginia in February 2021, we lost power for ONLY 30 hours. I know how lucky we were. But I was still cold and still restless about how long we’d be without power. Purchasing a generator was on our “home improvement” list, and after that storm, we saw how necessary it is where we now live. The “Peace of Mind” factor was huge for us, and for that alone, it was worth the investment.

    • Hi Tess,

      I’m aware of how terrifying and unsettling that can be–to have no power and not know when the outage might end! Thank goodness we have access to home generators! I’m curious if you got a smallish one or one that can power your whole house. I now wish I’d gotten a Tesla Powerwall–and that might still happen given the instability of our power these days!

      I’m glad you have some peace of mind now!


  2. I actually thought about a generator until my neighbor got one. True, the security of having power seems like a good thing to have. But the one she bought turns itself on to do… something… and every time I hear that noise my ears perk up and I have to investigate it. lol

    Overall I’m lucky. My house has only had the power out for more than 8 hours twice in 21 years. The first time was an epic ice storm that shut the area down for about 36 hours. The second time was closer to 12 hours, but it was easy to deal with because we had kerosene heaters for warmth, a gas stove to cook foods, and we put a few things outside for a short while (you know how our winters are lol).

    • Hi Mitch, As long as you have heat and food, you’re doing alright! And only 8 hours twice in 21 years? You are doing ok. I can’t count the number of power outages we’ve had here. Like I said, why even bother resetting the microwave clock since it’s bound to go out during a storm? If we put food outside a mountain lion or raccoon would probably get it! So it’s a little different. And I hope you never need one! But if you do, they’re not *that* difficult to operate.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  3. Carol, I am SO GLAD you wrote this. Thank you for coming up with a topic that will probably be well referenced and saved. I know a ton of us out there are going to be looking into how to shop for, and deploy, a generator. I think it’s great that Mitch hasn’t had much trouble. In Seattle there are notorious storms starting in November – wind, rain , falling trees and power outages. We live ONE BLOCK from the underground wiring. Those guys never lose power. It’s eerie to be on our street where it’s completely dark and see warm and happy house lights glowing on the next street. Thanks again!

    • Hi Terri, thank you so much for the suggestion! It never occurred to me to write it. But I’m very happy I did now. I’ll probably add to it, too. Yes, Mitch is lucky that he hasn’t had much trouble where he is. Those people with the underground wiring are very lucky. We’ve talked about getting it here for years. That is, the power company talks about it, but nothing ever happens!

      I think probably the best place to live is close to a fire station. When there’s an emergency, those guys get their power back first! It would be handy (except for the noise from the sirens!).

      Thanks again for the suggestion!

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