A standby generator provides essential access to power during storms, but you'll want to make sure that it's securely installed in an appropriate place on your property. Here are a few things to consider as you begin looking for an emergency generator to use in your home.
Standby generators typically run on some type of fuel, whether it be gas or propane. Placing the generator inside your home can be dangerous, as the fumes emitted while it is in operation won't have a way to escape the enclosed space. Instead, look for a place outside that is both convenient and secure. Some homeowners choose to install their generators next to central air conditioning units. This location is easy to access when needed, and it provides the needed ventilation to operate the generator safely.
Concrete pads made for standby generators provide a secure foundation for the unit. This helps to prevent your generator from sinking into the ground, and it can also help to defend against burrowing animals that might otherwise build a nest under the generator. Ask your contractor before installing the generator, as some municipalities may require the use of a concrete pad. If you aren't planning to use concrete, consider a bed of pea gravel to keep grass and plants from growing near the unit. You may also want to consider adding a concrete slab to the area where your generator and air conditioner are located to provide the same protection for both appliances.
If you live in an area that sees a lot of hurricanes, or if you are concerned about severe storms and tornadoes, consider securing your generator with a storm cage. These metal cages bold down to the concrete pad to prevent your generator from being swept away in strong winds, and the metal bars help to keep heavy flying objects from damaging the unit. This helps to ensure your generator is ready for use when you need it. You may already have a similar cage installed on your air conditioner, or you may have seen cages used to secure AC units in your neighborhood. Talk to your contractor about installing a cage for the generator, and if you don't already have one for your central air conditioner, consider installing cages for both devices at the same time.
Take the time to research different types of generators, and then work with a contractor to ensure your generator is securely and safely installed. These preparations can help to give you the source of power you need when the lights go out.