The Events Of This Weekend Have Us Considering A Whole Home Generator

This past weekend was a little bit crazy in the Linauer household, with super high heat index temperatures, crazy thunderstorms, a power outage, and a scramble against the clock (or the sun) to get Matt out of the house. And now, we’re considering a whole house generator so that we don’t have to scramble like that again.

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Friday was really hot. I don’t remember what the actual temperature was, but the heat index (i.e., the “feels like” temperature) got up to 120 degrees, according to Weatherbug. And let me tell you, a 120-degree heat index in Waco, Texas, feels nothing like the dry 120-degree heat of Arizona. In central Texas, the humidity is awful, and it was about 80% humidity on Friday.

If you’ve never felt a Texas summer day with 80% humidity, the only way I can describe it is stifling. You walk outside from your air conditioned house into the heat and humidity, and if you wear glasses, they fog over immediately. The air feels thick, and your skin feels sticky and clammy. And if you’re not accustomed to high humidity (or even if you are), it can be hard to breathe. It’s awful.

I grew up in central Texas, and so I was pretty accustomed to the humidity. In fact, when I was young and older adults around me would talk about how humid it was, I had no idea what they were talking about. I was acclimated to it, so it didn’t bother me at all. Then in my late 20’s, I moved to Istanbul, Turkey. After about a year there, I flew back for a friend’s wedding, and I’ll never forget stepping out of DFW into the Texas air. At that moment, for the first time in my life, I understood what humidity was. The air felt so thick that it was hard for me to catch my breath.

And that’s what Friday felt like — stifling heat and humidity. It generally doesn’t bother me as long as I’m inside in the air conditioned air, but I always know when the humidity is high without even stepping outside because high humidity really affects Matt even when he’s inside. Because of his M.S., his body doesn’t regulate temperature very well anyway, but when the outdoor temperature is hot, and the humidity is high, he has a much harder time, even if he’s indoors in the air conditioning.

So Friday night, I was sitting at the little desk in the bedroom, working at my laptop computer, and watching/listening as a thunderstorm rolled in.

guest bedroom - finished - closet nook

There was so much wind and lightening and continuous rolling thunder with the occasional HUGE thunder clap that it was a little eerie and scary. I sat and watched through the window as the lightening danced all around the sky, and I saw the high wind take down a pretty large branch in our big oak tree that’s directly in front of the bedroom window. I was anticipating a tornado warning and the civil defense sirens to start blaring, but that never happened.

What I wasn’t anticipating was for our electricity to go out. We’ve been in this house almost ten years now, and I could count on one hand the number of times our electricity has gone out. And until Friday, I’m pretty sure the longest it’s ever gone out is about an hour. But most times, it’s just 30 minutes or less.

We even had electricity all through Snowmaggedon of 2021, when winter storm “Uri dragged an arctic wrecking ball southward” into Texas, causing everything to close down for days, and leaving and untold number of Texans without electricity for a week during the coldest winter in 30 years. But our electricity held out.

So Friday, when our electricity went off at around 7:00pm, I didn’t think much of it. I figured it would be like the other times, and it would be back on in an hour or less. Then we got a text message from the electric delivery company that it would be two hours, but it should be back on by 9:00pm. That was fine. It wasn’t great, but our house is pretty well-insulated, and we always keep the thermostat set to 67 (again, because of Matt’s heat intolerance, that’s the temp he needs), so I knew we’d be fine until 9:00pm.

In fact, I was so unconcerned about it that I spent that time scrolling on my phone. Then 9:00pm came and went, and Matt said, “You might need to stay off your phone and save what power is left.” So I put it down, grabbed a flashlight and a book, and started reading, still expecting the power to kick on in any minute.

Well, at 11:30pm, we still didn’t have electricity, but I decided that I had had enough of reading by flashlight, and was ready to go to bed. I had no idea how I was going to sleep since we always sleep with a ceiling fan, a floor fan, a small air purifier, and a white noise machine, all of which work together to drown out ambient sound, sound from Cooper and Felicity, outdoor sounds…everything. But Friday night, we didn’t have any of that, so going from sleeping with all of that white noise to sleeping with no sound at all made it nearly impossible to get sleep. Every little sound from inside and outside the house kept me awake.

But I figured that the electricity would come back on at any minute. So I lay there in bed, in the deafening silence, just waiting. At some time after 3:00am, I did manage to fall asleep, and then woke up at around 6:00am in a complete panic. We still didn’t have electricity, and there were no updates. I was panicking because from that point, I knew it was a race against the clock (and against the sun) to get Matt out of the house and into a cool place where he could lie down.

My mom’s house would be the obvious choice, but I couldn’t get in touch with her by text, and the last I had heard from her, she didn’t have electricity, either. So I thought my only option was to start calling hotels and see if any of them had a room we could get into immediately. I knew that would be a challenge since they might be filled up with other people who had lost power, and most check-in times are after 12:00pm anyway. And then I realized that my phone was down to 7% power.

I went and sat in the van, started the engine, plugged in my phone, and tried to come up with a game plan. And while I waited for my phone to charge a bit, I decided to drive around the neighborhood to see just how far the power outage went. The other end of our street (about three blocks away) had power. Other streets around us had power, but we didn’t. My neighbor told me that the power delivery company was reporting that our neighborhood had power restored, but it definitely didn’t. I saw on Nextdoor that people all over the city were reporting power outages, but it was all very hit and miss. One street over, homes would have power. Two streets over, homes wouldn’t.

Around 6:30am, I finally got in touch with my mom, and her power had been restored. So we could pack up everything we needed for the day (and potentially an overnight stay) and head over there. But even with the issue of where to go resolved, it was still stressful. The sun was already up (although, thankfully, it was a cloudy day!), the heat was already starting to rise, and the humidity had already fully infiltrated our house.

I wasn’t worried about myself, although I was pretty miserable and hot and sweaty as I ran around gathering up everything we needed, getting Matt dressed, getting him into his wheelchair, etc. But I was fine. I was worried about Matt. He woke up feeling strong on Saturday morning, but the longer he stayed in the hot and humid house, the weaker he got. And by the time I got him dressed and in his wheelchair and ready to go, it was like trying to wrangle a 219-pound, 6’2″-long piece of cooked spaghetti. He just got weaker and weaker with every passing minute.

I finally decided to put him and his Hoyer lift in the van (this was the first time I’ve tried fitting his Hoyer lift in the van with him, and I was so pleasantly surprised that they both fit!!) with the engine running and the air conditioner on full blast while I came back in the house and gathered up the rest of our stuff.

We finally pulled out of the driveway around 8:30am, and headed to my mom’s house. Thankfully, her house is wheelchair accessible (for the most part 😀 ), so I was able to get Matt inside, get his Hoyer lift inside, and get him settled on a daybed where he could cool off and recuperate.

Our neighbors texted us around 3:30 on Saturday afternoon to let us know that the electricity was back on, so then I had to repeat all of that process to get Matt, his Hoyer lift, and all of our stuff back home. But at least that time, he had been in a cool air conditioned home for hours, so he wasn’t so weak.

It was just such a stressful 22 hours. Had it just been me, I probably would have stayed home and just dealt with the heat. I’m not heat intolerant (although I don’t love it when it’s that humid), so if I were on my own, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. It was just 22 hours. Healthy, able-bodied people can endure much more than 22 hours without electricity in a hot, humid climate.

But when I add a wheelchair-dependent person with M.S. and severe heat intolerance into the mix, that changes everything. If Matt gets too weak, he can actually get so weak that he can’t even drink water. And when that happens, the only option is to go to the hospital. I was trying desperately to avoid that, but I knew that would be his fate if I didn’t get him out of the house fast enough on Saturday morning.

So now we’ve been talking about getting a whole house generator so that we don’t have to deal with that again. It’s not an easy decision because whole house generators aren’t cheap! They cost several thousands of dollars for the unit, and then you have to pay for installation, which includes having a little concrete pad poured. And it’s so difficult to part with several thousands of dollars for something that might happen. I mean, again, this is the first time in 10 years that we’ve been without electricity for longer than an hour.

But for the peace of mind it will bring in the event that it happens again, I’m thinking it might be worth the cost. The brand we’re looking at is Generac, and it seems to have really great reviews. I think a generator for our house runs about $6000, plus installation. I have no idea how much installation costs.

The units run on either natural gas or liquid propane, and it would sit on the side of our house on its little concrete pad like this. (Photo from a customer review on the Home Depot Generac generator product listing)…

I’d love to hear about any of your experiences with a whole house generator. If you have one, have you ever had to use it? If so, was it reliable? Did it work properly? Did it come on as it was supposed to? And what brand do you have?

Matt is all for it. Once our electricity was back on, and we were back home, and he was settled comfortably in bed, he said to me, “I didn’t want to say anything this morning because I didn’t want to stress you out even more, but I was scared.” He mentioned it again later, and used the work “terrified”. I don’t doubt that for a second. I could tell he was scared, but was trying to hold it together for my sake. I don’t want him to have to go through that again.



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  1. My family members and some friends have told me to never buy Gererac. Honda is the way to go, according to them.

  2. Glad Matt is okay! Sounds very scary.

    My mom lives in Houston and with hurricane season and snowmaggedon finally broke down and had a natural gas generator installed two years ago. She got one of the Honeywell units from Costco. I think the generator itsef was about $5k or $6k, but with installation and permit fees to the gas company and such, it was around $10k fully installed. But, her peace of mind and sense of safety is definitely worth it!

  3. Do it! Everyone I know in the Ft Myers area of Florida that had a Generac were the luckiest people there last September. Other brands were failing right and left after very few hours, even if they made it through the hurricane. If I lived in an area with storm issues of any kind, I would consider it money well spent. Anyone with health issues must do what they can for the protection.

  4. Sister and husband installed a large propane tank along with a propane powered generator and love it. They chose propane because even natural gas pressures are dependent on electrical devices.
    Two of my neighbors installed natural gas full house generators. And a country friend a year ago installed a second propane tank along with their whole house generator which has worked well to keep a family member from experiencing what Matt did from over heating.
    All four generators automatically activate within seconds of electric power outage. All 4 families are happy with their choice and purchases.

  5. Kirsti – I live in South Africa – go Google Power Outages or Load shedding !!! Our country’s electricity supplier is basically bankcrupt (due to wide spread state corruption) so we know all about being without electricity – fortunately it is for a like 2 hours off 4 hours on 2 hours off 4 hours on. But still – working from home we need uninterrupted power.. so installed a generator that ran our whole house. We had a severe fire in the store room as the generated overheated as it ran for too long during the night (in an enclosed space without sufficient ventilation I should add) – Luckily the alarm went off and I managed to extinguish the fire but still extensive damage and loss of property!
    Would a Solar battery setup not be better ?(and cleaner as there are no emissions) – Our whole house now runs off Solar power if there is sufficient sun, and if not – we switch over to mains electricity to charge the battery (all automated) From a cost point of view – The other option is to just isolate an area of your home that needs to be kept cool for Matt in stead of a major installation for the whole house

    1. Isolating one room for Matt with a small window air conditioner is a less expensive way to go for awhile. A small generator costing a few hundred dollars would accomplish this purpose, as well as running lights, refrigerators and freezers, and computers and games. Just be sure you have the proper fuel stored, and that you know how to connect everything. If this is too much to have to deal with, go for the whole house generator.

      1. I agree that a small generator snd sur conditioner would work. I live in a suburb of Kansas City and lose power frequently (last week for 8 hours). A small generator bought from Costco and small air conditioner has worked for me

  6. We have had a Generac whole house generator since Hurricane Sandy came through the east coast. It’s wonderful. Very reliable (though keep up with your annual service). We’ve had power outages in hot weather and freezing weather, and life just goes on as normal. Heat, AC, electric ovens- everything works.

    Only problem we’ve had is mice chewing on the wiring. We’ve had to replace the control panel twice in five years – now we have a contract for rodent control. Never have had a problem in the house, but in a woodsy area field mice are around.

  7. Hi, we live in the Northeast and several neighbors have whole house generators. Generac is the brand many electricians here recommend. Whole house generators are wonderful they kick right on almost to the point you don’t realize the power went out. I believe you can somewhat pick and choose how much you want the generator to run and it can be sized based on that. Since you are planning on staying in the house it may be the best “insurance” policy that you ever buy. If you never need it, it would still be worth the cost for that piece of mind.

  8. Hi Kristi,
    We just had a Generac Stand by Generator installed on May 1, of this year. We’ve been in our house (near Albany,NY) for nearly 40 years. Finally decided that we were getting to a point in our lives, when we didn’t want to drag our portable generator from the shed at the rear of our property up to the house, and then attach all the electrical cords. We are surrounded by wetlands, and depend on a sump pump to keep our basement from flooding. The need for the sump pump to work, was also a concern, especially if we happen to be away. Our house is a 1400 sq.ft, 3 bedroom, 1 bath ranch. We ended up going with an 18kw, whole house generator, with a surge protector(which is guaranteed for life, and protects all your electrical from lightening strikes). The concrete pad was preformed, so no need to have concrete poured. Installation was one day. However we did need to have our gas meter upgraded to a larger unit, because of natural gas usage and the ability to have all of our gas usage be available while generator is in use. We have a gas water heater, gas stove. Interestingly enough, we lost power the very next day, after installation. It was absolutely amazing! When the generator kicked in, there wasn’t even a blip with the television, or the computer(which I was using at the time). And I believe most installers have financing available. We went with a local outfit that only does generators. Our original pricing was right around $11,000, however we did get a 2% discount for paying with cash. We were fortunate in the fact that my husband had recently retired, and had money available from getting a buyout for all of his accumulated vacation and sick time. But I highly recommend a stand by generator, and Generac is definitely a trusted name. Good luck, you won’t be sorry.

  9. We have a gas-powered Honda generator that plugs into our house when we need it. Husband installed, at a fraction of the price you’re talking about.

  10. Have you registered Matt’s medical necessity with the power company? This would prompt them to push you to the top of the queue in restoring your power and to directly communicate restoration times to you. Protocols may also provide assistance from fire departments or hospitals to assist in a power emergency. While these services are usually noted for those on electricity-dependent devices, Matt’s situation may also qualify.

    1. Seconding this. Growing up I lived three houses down from a woman who was on oxygen, and had registered the medical necessity with the power company. Like you, rarely did we ever lose power, but our side of the street was almost always one of the first to have power restored. It’s definitely worth looking into, even though you will likely get a whole house generator. Just one more thing to give both of you peace of mind.

    2. THIS is a good idea. Critical infrastructure (like hospitals, nursing homes, etc) are prioritized. I worked for a non-profit which is considered a critical healthcare partner for a while and was responsible for getting this prioritization with utilities in place for our organization.
      I’d still get the generator too. When there is a widespread outage there are only so many crews available.

  11. This is a big decision to be sure. Since Matt is disabled is there a way to get a break on buying/installing this unit from a county agency?
    Good luck with your research.

  12. I live in Northern California, land of the planned power outages due to high wind. I’ve lived here my whole life and the wind thing is new as of 2017 when it blew a wildfire many miles right into our counties largest city taking with it over 6000 homes and 22 lives. Since then we have had other major fires and electricity AND natural gas gets shut down right quick.I know a number of people with backup whole house generators that were natural gas powered and it took longer for the natural gas to be turned back on than it did for the electricity! If we were to get one we would go for propane powered and have a tank installed. I just bought a solar “generator” for emergencies. It can also be used for camping etc. so it is the best fit for us.

  13. Living through Hurricane Katrina and being without power for THREE WEEKS was what decided us to get a whole house generator. It’s a used commercial diesel generator that will run our 2,000 square foot home, including the air conditioning, lights, internet, water well, and even hot water heater for a short time. I’m sorry I can’t tell you what brand. But the idea of having a generator, even a small gas one to run the lights, refrigerator, freezers, tv, and ceiling fans, plus a small window unit for our bedroom, has been well worth it to us. It’s not just major events like hurricanes, but even occasional storms, that cause power outages. It is WELL worth the expense to have that backup, and with someone in Matt’s situation, I’d make it a priority. We have freezers full of meat and home grown vegetables that we could lose (and did, after Katrina, before we got the generator). In southern Louisiana, I consider a generator to be a necessary expense.

  14. I had a generac installed 5 years ago when my husband was put on oxygen! He has since recovered from lymphoma but the generac has kept us many times from losing electricity. We lost in the past lots of food from the freezer and fridge as well as not having to evacuate. Highly recommend!!

  15. Have had generac generators in three houses. Always turns on when you need it, but be sure to have it have it maintained regularity. (Usually every six months…you can get a contract for that). Do you have natural gas? If so, great but if not, you will also need a propane tank.
    I do question your estimate, though. It seems low. Our first one was in a suburb of NY, we had natural gas, and 12 years ago, it cost $10,000 installed. In VT, six years ago, we had to get a 500 gallon propane tank, fill it, and installed, the total was $15,000. Just in the past April, we had one installed in our current home in NH. We have natural gas and it cost $16,000 installed.
    Installation requires plumbers and electricians, lots of wiring and gas lines. It is very expensive, but whoever you buy from should provide all services. Make sure to use a certified dealer. It also needs to be inspected during, and after, the job is complete.

  16. My husband bought a large generator in November 2020, thank goodness. It was not a whole house, but it was large. The freeze in February 2021 if ran all our needs for a week. We had no electricity for a week and it was cold. And we had no water either. We had the refrigerator, coffee pot, television, lamps, my electric recliner and my heating blanket all hooked up. Our neighbors came over one night because they were freezing. Other neighbors gave us water out of their pool to flush the toilets. I’m saying all of this because the generator was a life saver. To buy a whole house generator for our house would be well over $10,000. We can’t justify that, but the large one did the trick. If you can manage the cost for a whole house generator, please buy one. Peace of mind is worth a lot. Buy it and then pray you never have to use it. We have used our several times because our power is out a lot here in the country outside Waco, TEXAS.

  17. Kristi, I understand your concerns and frustrations and all that goes into the decision-making process of a whole house generator. When we moved to our retirement home 12 years ago, that was the first project. We live on 110 acres in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee, in the middle of nowhere and we are surrounded by almost nothing. The electric company told us when they were hooking up the power to the house for us, that we are on our own little spur, which means that they will be working very hard to get a line of 300 houses back up with power before getting to us. They know we have a generator and that we are on propane, natural gas was not available here for our generator, so they do have some urgency, but again, they get to us when they can. Ours is a GE, Generac at the time did not have all the components that we would have had to purchase anyway just for installation and our contractor really loved GE, so do we. But Generac has come a long way since then and is now the leading seller down here. Ours works like clockwork and because we are on a well and have animals, no power, no water, so no power was never an option. I have Lupus and understand the not being able to regulate one’s body temperature, makes using the tractor and the mower in the summer slightly more than miserable but I keep singing Green Acres and I get through the day. Whatever generator you go with, make sure that there is a reliable company out there that can service it. That is the biggest thing. Our entire installation just under 12 years ago was $21K and some change. That included bringing up propane and getting that installed, having the generator installed, and ours sits on a little fiberglass pad, no concrete needed, all the transfer switches, and the panels that handle all the loads coming back on separately so as not to overload the generator. Pricey, yes, priceless youbetcha. It paid for itself in under a year when we lost power for 11 days during an ice storm. Life continues as normal in all kinds of weather. When our generator fires up on Saturday mornings for its weekly check of all systems, it gives us great comfort knowing that we are covered, the freezers full of meat, the HVAC, the well pump, everything is as normal as can be in that situation. Check with your utility company, when we were stationed in Virginia, they offered a generator install and it all came off your utility bill, at the time for the house we were living in was about $15K and it was a Generac. They would maintain it and service it when necessary. It is an easier way to go than parting with the money all at once. I would like to think most utility companies offer this as a service.
    Another thing to consider is that Matt and you are NOT getting any younger and I know that when we first moved in here a 50 lb. bag of grain moved a lot easier than it does now as I edge ever so closer to 60. I also know that you are Wonder Woman in disguise, but the less you have to practice a Chinese Fire Drill the better. I never like it when people tell me to spend my money, but in this case, this baby will pay for itself before you know it, even if it is just peace of mind. Makes me enjoy our vacations when we get away from the farm for a little bit knowing that the generator will kick in and everything should be running smoothly should we lose power. I hope this helps. Knowing that Texas has an ancient electrical grid would make me start calling around for quotes.

  18. This is actually something I know quite a bit about! I am generator product manager for an OEM (Generac is our competitor). We only do prime power though, so we don’t manufacture stand-by generators.

    Your 2 primary choices are Generac and Kohler. You will need an automatic transfer switch, and you’ll need to decide between LP and diesel. I would suggest LP if you have access and something already in place to be able to get it refueled.

    With installation, you’re looking at about $11k (give or take $1k). This is market (ish) pricing, but I know someone who installed a 22kW Generac last week with LP and an automatic transfer switch at this price. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have. If I can’t answer it, I can find out an answer quickly.

  19. Glad that particular ordeal is behind you. After Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012, our area of NJ was almost impassable (huge trees down on every street) and we had no power for 9 days. Sandy happened in an unseasonably cold late-October and we wore layered outdoor clothes all day, sleeping in coats and hats under every blanket and cover in the house. We used kerosene lamps and candles for light and an old battery-operated radio to try keeping up with the news (there was no landline or cell phone service). Luckily, we still had water and our gas lines still worked, so we could light our stove burners with matches and cook, make cowboy coffee, and boil water for makeshift hot-water bottles (we filled up old milk jugs and hugged them or sat them on our feet). Two distinct noises provided the soundtrack of that period — endless chainsaws during the days (all those trees to move), and the small-aircraft sound of portable generators running day and night.

    I write all that because (1) I sympathize with what you and Matt went through this past weekend, and (2) Irene and Sandy put generators on my radar for the first time. Almost overnight, Generac whole-house generators (WHG) started appearing next to neighbors’ houses. I got two quotes (one $10K total, one $12K total) and decided to defer purchase. My next-door neighbors initially invested in some kind of water-powered generator that only keeps your sump pumps emptying (houses here have full basements that easily flood without sump pumps), but they upgraded to WHG after Sandy, as did much of the town. All new construction her now includes WHG. And Generac is the only brand I’ve seen.

    We haven’t been without power for more than a few hours since Sandy, so going on 11 years now. But those “temporary” outages are happening with more frequency and our weather overall is shifting noticeably to something more severe and unpredictable. So my compromise plan is to buy a portable generator capable of powering my heat/AC, sump pumps, fridge/freezer, and key electrical outlets. If we’re hit with another big outage, we should be able to get through it in moderate comfort and not feel like we’re living in the 19th Century.

    For you and Matt, however, who live with a chronic health condition, plan on staying in your home indefinitely, and have recently paid off your mortgage, I say go for a WHG. The peace of mind it will give you and the benefits it will provide if/when the next outage comes will make you and Matt much more comfortable. It should also increase your property value — a WHG is a big selling point for houses here.

  20. Without a doubt, THE best purchase I’ve ever made for my home was a Generac generator. I’m in Florida, and the power goes out pretty regularly…most times it’s off for a few minutes, others a couple of hours.

    I priced the unit in 2021, it was $8,000 installed (including permits, excluding gas connections). I dragged my feet for awhile, but when I received a letter from my power company offering Generacs in 2022 for the same price, I jumped. Their program was to pay just under $100 a month (added to my electric bill) for 10 years…this includes an annual maintenance service, most companies charge $300. All I had to do was secure the propane. The electrician was contracted by the power company and they took care of the permitting. There are many options for propane…rent vs purchase, bury vs unburied, size and placement. I purchased a 120 gallon stand up unit that sets next to my house, unburied. This amount should last at least 4 days running 24/7. (If you bury a tank, there’s the added cost of burying it and an added cost to unbury it if something goes wrong with the tank itself.)

    The unit automatically conducts a test run every other Monday at noon, I get a text with the results. If anything is wrong with the test, the power company’s tech assigned to my area also gets a text, and he contacts me. Twenty six test runs each year uses about one gallon of propane.

    The Generac automatically kicks on if the power is off for 5-10 seconds. The whole house generator is a million times more convenient than dragging the portable out when the power goes out. Not having to store gas is a blessing, too.

  21. Having a whole house generator gives a peace of mind that can not be explained if you live in an area of high power outages as I do. I have had to file on my Homeowners Ins. so many times because of total loss of freezer content. Our power has been out for one and two weeks on numerous occasions. We installed a whole house GENERAC several years ago and the peace of mind is immeasurable. I give a quiet “thank you” when I get a weekly phone alert just before the company gives it a test run. My area is saturated with GENERACs both residential and commercial. Any whole house units are pricy but, a price tag can not be put on “peace of mind”.

  22. We purchased a Generac in 2021 – I lived 5 blocks from the Fire House and right off a main road . Still we have lost power for more than a week 4x over the last 10 years & other short outages in the winter, summer, spring, fall. If a rain/snow storm is involved and our sump pump can’t work , we are in trouble. It is worth it – it’s loud and an investment but worth it. Our electrician offered a 10 yr full warranty ( 3 addl years more than Generac). Make sure you get a whole house system – and when needed there is nothing you have to do- all automatic . I’m sure you’ll do your research & pick the company & electrician( not all electricians specialize in them) that’s right for you.

  23. We recently built our dream retirement home and knew after all the outages we have here in Florida because of hurricanes we wanted to add a generator to the house. It was the best decision we made. Last hurricane it ran for 5 days without a glitch. The only thing I would recommend you looking into is that it power the whole house including the a/c. Most are not powerful enough to run everything at once. We bought a Kohler one since we were in the plumbing business for years and we trusted that brand. It runs on a propane tank buried in the yard. I was surprised when they filled the tank the next time that it really didn’t use that much gas to run it for those couple days. Expensive to purchase and have installed but so worth it.

  24. Oh Kristi…I am sooo very sorry you had to go thru that….. moving down from New York State to North Eastern Florida over 31 years ago…. We endured Power outages for the first 2 years… not only from hurricanes… but just frequent overloading of the newly built neighborhood circuits…! ….. we have had a whole house Generac generator sitting on its own concrete pad for almost 25 years now…. It is propane fed from a buried tank in the back yard…. If the the power goes out for more than 10 seconds it kicks on automatically. For one of the more recent hurricanes, I had no power for 12 days…. That generator chugged along and kept me comfortable and my freezer food ..frozen for all 12 days. I have a separate electric panel for it that sits right next to the regular electric panel. So you will have the added expense of an electrician I believe. The generator panel has rocker switches that I can individually shut down various rooms in the house if I need to conserve propane. It is a godsend… I have it FAITHFULLY serviced once a year. And call to have the propane tank topped off to 80% in June, the beginning of hurricane season here… for you it would be a life saver…. I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOUR MATT…. You ABSOLUTELY do not need to ever go thru that terrifying ordeal again!

  25. I’m so sorry to hear about your misadventure and I’m glad you and Matt are okay. I was stressing out just reading about it. I have a Generac whole house generator 24KW for our 3155 square foot home (size given for context).
    We decided to go whole house after the crazy winter storm on New Years 2022. We were without power for 4 days and it was stupid cold. It got down to 53F inside the house – even with layers of clothing on that is too cold.
    We spent $7G on the generator itself and another $7G for installation by NeverDark. It was a wonderful experience. They were professional, respectful of our property and made sure we understood everything very well. Ours is hooked up to our inground propane tank. The generator comes on automatically to test every week for about 15 minutes. We have lost power a couple times since getting it, though not for more than a couple hours. It worked great! We have no regrets and are glad to have the peace of mind.

  26. Glad you’re both safe & comfortable again.
    Not going to chime in about generator, clearly you’ll source a great option but going to share something else. Someone I know, also heat intolerant, uses IV Hydrate packets in water. Sounds silly but the electrolytes/minerals in them gives them tremendous support, can feel immediate relief. Heat is nothing to mess with as you well know. The fact that they have added this to their toolkit of support to avoid medical dramas means they must be truly impactful. They just aren’t the same as Gatorades, things like that. This person also references eventually not being able to drink water too but if gets these in their system has avoided more serious diminished function.

    all the best!

  27. We had a Generac in Maine. We lived in a very small town on a lake. It can easily get 40 below and stay at that temp for several days. The Generac always came on immediately. Only once a neighbor called (we were in Waco) that it had not come on (they are loud!!), the battery needed replacement. We called our wonderful electrician. He trudged through feet of snow, took care of the issue and we never had a problem again. So they do need maintenance.

  28. My electric doesn’t go off frequently, but I have an upright freezer and a refrigerator freezer full of food, and I worried about the electric going off, and losing all that food. So I got a whole house generator and it is a Generac. I have had it about 5 years now and I am happy with it. Also, I no longer stress about the electricity going off. I will tell you that it has to be placed so far away from a window. Mine had to be placed catty-corner from a window. I chose propane for mine, since I was already using propane for my fireplace and cook stove . I have had no problems with it and am glad I got it. They have to be maintenanced once a year to change the oil, etc.

  29. Remember, during an electrical outage, if you have a car phone charging adapter, this an alternative for keeping your phone charged. A good safety measure.

  30. Kristi, if you go for a portable generator of about 10K, go for the Honda. If you’re going for a whole house, go with Generac. I live in the FL Panhandle, we get those lovely hurricanes here. We bought a 10 KW off brand when Opal went thru back in the 90s. It has worked fine and is even hooked up with a transfer switch. My problem is that the company that made ours, went out of business some years ago. My first issue was the loss of the capacitor which kick starts the gasoline powered generator. Found another one and bought it. A knowledgeable friend said NOT to leave the capacitor in/on the generator since it was housed in a steel building and the summer heat killed it. Soooo . . . . it lives in my bedroom closet in the AC unless needed. Still works.
    I am putting a Generac in my new house but just on my daughter’s side. The transfer cases are mega bucks here. The room arrangement between my apt and her house means I just open the connecting door and plug the fridge into her electrical supply. Ditto for the garage freezer! The cats and I will take our happy tails over to a bedroom on her side! We have to get a propane tank since I live in the boonies!
    BTW, my daughter lives in Pearland TX and lost power during the freeze. Did have a gas fireplace so everybody snuggled in the LR. She even figured out how to cook in the FP!

  31. Oh! Forgot to mention, Amazon has solar power chargers for cell phones, Kindles, etc. that are actually reasonably priced. I’m getting one myself. Meanwhile, I have a power bank that I keep fully charged.

  32. Oh my goodness! I’m so glad you had the van and were able to move to a safe location for you two! Imagine if this had happened before you had the van!!

    I don’t think a generator makes sense for most families, but it sure does for you. Good luck as you do your research and find a good person/company to install.

  33. We have friends that had a Generac whole house unit put in. They live in the boonies, and they’re on the tail end of a grid. He had COPD, very severe so needed this. They had a huge propane tank installed out in their side yard. All this to say, we had an ice storm (several years ago) that knocked out power for 16 days in some places, they lost it for 18 days. He’d have had to go to the hospital without their Generac. They love it.

  34. We have one (we live in Arkansas about 30 miles from any town) and found it very important. We got it when my father-in-law was very ill and needed oxygen. We used smaller generators to run equipment but we had a power outage about 10 years ago that knocked out power for a week. Get yourself a small emergency generator that you can manipulate for a few items – our Generac does fine but sometimes it does not automatically switch on sometimes, so my husband has to turn it on at the breaker. We also had a problem with a lightning strike that blew a circuit board on our AC system (ugh) so my husband installed a whole house surge protector for lighting.

  35. We have a Generac generator installed at our cottage just north of Montreal, Quebec. We didn’t get one large enough to power the whole house but enough to power what we deemed would be most necessary. It has been a life saver when power was out from storms that brought down trees to power lines. One storm the power was out for 2 weeks but we still had power because of the generator. Ours is fuelled by propane so we did have to arrange for another fill up
    In the cold of the winter when the cottage is unoccupied and the heat turned way down, the generator has kept the furnace going to keep the pipes from freezing (it can get to below -30*C outside).
    So in my view, you wouldn’t go wrong if you bought a Generac.

  36. While we don’t have a whole house generator, yet, I would absolutely get one if I was in your situation. We have a small one for camping and my husbands welder will also work as a generator in emergencies. Thankfully, we never been without power for too long. We also have our camper that works for a an emergency cold/warm space.

    Something else to consider keeping on hand are jump packs or power stations. Something as simple as one of these can keep your phone and some medical equipment like CPap machines running.

  37. Everything about your post sounds so familiar to me. I live in NE Texas– where the brunt of the storm hit. My home was down for around 66 hours (with the posted expectation of repair being a full week.) However, I do have a whole home generator. I bought it a little over two years ago because of my husband’s declining health. He has since died and it has never run more than about 5 minutes at a time since it was installed. I had shoulder surgery 3 weeks ago and I am currently limited in my abilities. Extreme heat is not helpful! My Briggs and Stratton generator ran like a champ for about 10 hours, then shut down. I purchased it from a local dealer that primarily sells and services commercial generators. He sent a serviceman out within an hour and a half. A circuit board had failed, was replaced (under warranty), and I was back up and running in about 3 hours total. I encourage you to deal with someone that can be there for you! My complete installation including plumbing and electrical was done by the dealer and his licensed personnel.

    Remember, “whole house” doesn’t mean everything at the same time. You will have to be selective about what you are running at the same time as the air conditioning unless you go really big. My best advice though is to buy local!! A quick competent service department should be a key piece of your decision. (*The generator fully installed for my 2K sq ft house was about 10K. The final cost was less than a Generac)

  38. We live in the New England and in the first two years we lived in our house we lost power 5 times, two of which were for 5 days. However, even with that we had trouble justifying a whole house generator. Instead we opted to put in a transfer switch (got on eBay for $200) and bought a portable generator ($700). If you properly size the generator you would be able to run a window AC and a bunch of other circuits, such as the fridge. My husband that does basic electric in the house (wiring new outlets) was able to install himself. Of course after installing the transfer switch we have never lost power for more than an hour…LOL. Here is a link explaining the process.,vid:GLgtFCJlVFQ

  39. I’m so sorry that you both had to endure this.
    My husband installs Generac Generators for the company. Not HD or Lowe’s! It’s much most cost effective to go straight to Generac.
    I will never be without electric since Hurricane Andrew! And I never have!
    Generac will make sure you have the absolute right wattage to supply everything you need. They don’t hard sell anything or anyone. I highly advise using Generac directly. Their direct number is 888-436-3722. Or try 888-Generac.

  40. We live in southern Ontario and bought a Generac whole house (and barn) generator after an ice storm a few years ago. It is connected to the gas line. We have it maintained yearly, and it does a 10 minute test run each week. We had it installed by an electrician who sells and installs and services them. He only services what he sells, as his experience has taught him that if you buy from a big box store they are sometimes poorly handled and break down due to damaged internal parts. It was not cheap but is a very valuable investment. We had a transformer on our hydro pole hit by lightning which took our power out and the generator was wonderful to have. With your specific considerations I highly recommend a whole house generator and we are very happy with our Generac.

  41. I live in MN where we have power outages, more in winter than summer. We choose not to have a generator (small home, fireplace will keep us arm) but lots of folks we know do own them. First of all, you get what you pay for! Consider the features, e.g., will you be runnng it from your garage and how loud will it be? We can hear our neighbors’ generators, so imagine how loud it is for them!

  42. You probably have no idea how much good you do with raising awareness in your readers about MS and what the patient deals with, as well as what the caregiver deals with. You perform a great public service when you post information like your experiences in this ghastly heat wave. I am very glad that your husband recovered, and that you were resourceful enough to quickly manage the situation.

    I remember well my very first visit to Texas. It was on the eve of my 40th birthday, and I was invited to visit a dear old friend for the weekend. When I stepped out of the plane onto the tarmac (we did that then!) I thought I was going to die! It was midnight, August 1, and it was 100 degrees!! I have no idea what the heat index was. I thought I could NEVER live there. Then I moved down there from Colorado the following October, and lived there eight more years. 😁

  43. We have a whole home Generac generator with an auto transfer switch that runs off of natural gas. My husband is a master electrician and insisted on it when we built our house. He did the install and the HVAC guys did the gas hook up. The only issue we have had is that the regulator that the HVAC guys installed doesn’t seem to stand up to upper Midwest winters and we’ve had a few issues, but nothing too major. There is regular maintenance that my husband has to do every 6 months or so. Totally worth it, it works flawlessly.

    We bought ours with a small pad from Generators Direct, so we didn’t have to have a concrete pad poured.

    1. Oh, and we do eventually want to purchase a propane tank and have that hooked up instead of the natural gas so it’s a totally off grid backup. However for general power outages the natural gas is working just fine.

  44. If your house has only lost power for more than an hour a handful of times in the past 10 years I wouldn’t spend the money on a generator. It would be more cost effective to go to a hotel – as long as you can manage getting Matt into one. Research hotels that have handicap accessible rooms before you need one.

  45. Kristi, we installed a Generac whole house generator last year… and it is the absolute best thing we could have ever done! We don’t have any of the issues Matt has, but being without power days on end during a hurricane is so not fun. So when we renovated and moved into my husband’s childhood home, we knew that would be on our list. Sometimes when the power goes out, I’m not even sure if it came right back on or if the generator kicked on. It works like a dream!

    Particularly given Matt’s MS, I would highly recommend you get the whole house generator. Yes, it is an investment, but it is worth every penny! It is money you will never regret spending!

  46. But do you need a WHOLE house generator or just one to keep the AC (and maybe the fridge) going? If power outages are really rare there, maybe all you need is a portable one (and maybe a portable AC; they have them now that also can heat) at one tenth the cost. Just a thought…

  47. When choosing your fuel, keep in mind that the government wants us to Stop using gas. Here in California, our governor won’t let gas be installed in new housing or restaurants. Much to the dismay of chefs that rely heavily on gas for cooking. Electric just doesn’t cut it for them and installing propane would be a safety issue in our crowded cities. (i.e. San Francisco and Los Angeles) Best of luck in your search.

  48. We had a Generac whole house generator installed 7 years ago. Fantastic decision for us. It was expensive but when the electricity goes out, our generator starts up within 30 seconds and our entire house is fully powered. Wise purchase. When the electricity comes back on, it shuts down immediately.

  49. Do it! My mom has one (hurricane and afternoon storms) and she loves the peace of mind. One time it was on and she didn’t even realize it until she was trying to figure out what the nose was and realized it the generator running. Only heads up is sometimes when she’s out doing yard work it will kick on for it’s monthly “test” and will scare the crap out of her.

  50. I’m from hurricane country so lots of people have both whole house and part house generators. We can be without power for 7-10 days, more in a hard hit area. Last time I checked, with install a whole house was around 10K with installation, depends on the size of your house and how much energy you need to draw. My next door neighbors got a whole house because she has a lung disease and like Matt, needs to stay cool. She also has an oxygen concentrator that will only last so long on battery alone. We only have a portable to run the fridge and freezer as well as a window ac and a few lights for the den.

  51. Kristi, im in Baton Rouge. I had a generac and it was awesome. I have moved to downsize and no longer have it. It was complete peace of mind during hurricanes. Im not on entergy electric any longer and the electric company here is small and ive only not had electricity for an half hour because a tree fell on it. Its worth every dime yo will spend. My research says most people here have Generac and no bad reviews. It’s worth the peace of mind for you dear husband. I have asthma and i know how bad humidity is for me. Prayers for Matt. It seems we are getting worse weather than ever before and it’s not even hurricanes. You may have to be on a waiting list so call them soon. 🙏❤️🙏

  52. We had one in are last house and it was the first thing my husband bought for a house we are remodeling, we live in Florida so are electricity goes out often, so a necessity. We bought a generac are electrician and he is also a friend, suggested that brand. I will tell you you have to have it serviced once a year to make sure it is running well ( the people that bought our house did not and when there was a storm and no electricity it did not come on even manually) also it does test it self once a week by kicking on for a few minutes. A cheaper alternative might be to get one of those large battery packs that charge on solar and electricity and in the summer months make sure it is charged and get a portable A/C, just an idea.

  53. Hi, Kristi,

    We live in west central Georgia, where we get hurricane remnants from the Gulf and thunderstorms and tornadoes coming out of Alabama, so summer power outages are common for us. Then there are the occasional ice storms that can also cause winter outages.

    We had a Generac whole-house generator installed about 8 years ago, and are so happy that we did. You said you didn’t know how much installation runs, and if memory serves, it’s either equal to or about double the cost of the generator itself. That was kind of surprising to us, so I thought I should warn you.

    The other surprising thing was that much like our cars, our generator runs on gas (ours has a dedicated propane tank) and requires a battery to start it. The last time we needed it for hours (after a recent tornado outbreak), it didn’t start, because the battery was dead. Who knew? Batteries last 5-7 years, so we’d never had that issue before. The company that installed our generator provided excellent emergency service to help us diagnose that issue, because these companies understand that if you’re supposed to be running on generator power, you’re in the middle of an emergency.We went to AutoZone and bought a replacement, replaced it in the dark and rain, but were up and running immediately after that.

    In your situation, I would definitely consider investing in a generator. We love our Generac, but I see in one of the comments that someone doesn’t. I’m not sure why, but I know you’re good at research, so I’m sure you’ll come up with the best solution.

  54. It’s probably a very good idea to get a generator – especially since you have a very vulnerable member of your household. However, even your pets are going to suffer some stress in that kind of heat and you do to even if you are more resilient than others.

    Your past experiences with power outages are no prediction of how it’s going to play out in future. Climate change means weather is going to get increasingly erratic and the pendulum is going to swing between extremes more and more quickly. Next time it could be a prolonged outage in the winter.

  55. My parents are 88 and 86 years old and they had one (a Generac also) put in due to frequent power outages. Mom has COPD and Dad has no strength to push up a garage door when they cannot use the gargage door opener.
    They are very happy they purchased this. It is expensive but if it keeps them from ending up in the hospital it is worth every penny.

  56. My neighbor had a Generac and it was amazing for them! Her husband also had MS and it was an absolute necessity in our area (real dirty power). It was natural gas and had an automatic cut on based on a set amount of time without power. They hold their value so well that after a devastating flood hit our area, people were asking to buy her flooded Generac to repair and install at their own homes.

  57. Have you contacted the electric company to let them know about Matt’s medical condition? You would be on the first list of getting your power restored.

  58. I purchased a Generac 14kW Smart Management Module (SMM), model 7000. Mine runs on natural gas. There are three different models. I chose this particular (middle priced) model because I wanted all my outlets to have power. The 7.5kW model only operates 8 total circuits, but after powering the Furnace, Sump Pump, Fridge, Garage Door Opener, it leaves you about four outlets that I guess you choose to have linked to the generator. The cost difference between these two was a little over $2600, install included. I am in Ohio and I paid $9440 total
    The 24kW is the largest, and the cost difference between this and the 14kW was $1500 more.
    I also opt to have the installer maintain my unit so that is a yearly cost (check battery, change the oil etc).
    You may want to purchase a Standby Surge Protector Battery Power Backup (Amazon), we own a desk top computer. There is a slight delay, less than 10 seconds (faster than you can say “crap the power went off,”) and the generator kicks in, but if your computer doesn’t have a battery source it will turn off, so this battery backup is something to consider.

  59. I have an Aunt with MS and that heat deterioration is not minor. Back when she could still get by with a cane, just having sun come through a window and shine on her legs was enough to make her incapable of walking.

  60. I’d go for it; the peace of mind it will provide is incalculable. And, with Matt’s condition, it’s possible there are services available to lower the purchase/installation cost somewhat. Again, when the safety of a person’s life is involved, rather than just extreme discomfort, that should be the priority, imo.

  61. Kristi, after a hurricane here in Fort Myers years ago, and no power for 6 very hot days, we bought a large gas generator. It is enough to run many things, but we have to be selective with the air conditioner/hot water heater. But it is never a problem…just cycle around the usage. But, we stock up on gas before Hurricane Season, so we don’t have to run around looking for gas when there is none…or no stations open. My husband runs it every few months to keep it in good shape. It is a total pain, and a lot of work, and I do not think you want that job. (It truly helped us during Ian.) I think your best bet is a propane system, that just pops on when the electric goes out. Maintenance by a company, and easy for you. Even if you cycle what you want to use, it would make life bearable, and simple, and safe for Matt. It is an investment worth it for you both, and probably a necessity for him. No more worries. Sorry for that nightmare you went through. Glad he didn’t land in the hospital. 💗

  62. My parents bought one of those Generac units to put on their house after Katrina in 2005. It isnt powerful enough to run the central a/c along with the fridge, freezer, lights and maybe a microwave. My dad owns an HVAC company so he just put a window unit in his bedroom and ran that along with fans, fridge and freezer. You would need a mega generator to run central a/c at 67. I live on the gulf coast and am chilly with my thermostat on 73. Using it for 2 days really caused his natural gas bill to be outrageous and he was using 1 window unit. You’ll also need to crank it and let it run every 6 months or so, and half the time they don’t want to crank up and my dad has to repair it. It’s an engine that will need to be maintained regularly. Personally, I would just go to the hospital ER waiting room next time you’re needing electricity – they have extremely powerful generators and Matt would already be in the place that could help him if the need arose.

  63. I think you might be able to get some kind of tax break for medical equipment. You might even be able to have your insurance pay for part of it if Matt’s doctor will prescribe it or make it a medical order to keep his temperature controlled.