With hurricane season and summer thunderstorms rapidly approaching, you may be considering getting a power generator for your house. Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision.

Home power generators have come a long way in the past decade. Their use and availability in the north Houston area has greatly increased since Hurricane Ike knocked power out to our region back in 2008, leaving 2.6 million customers without electricity, some for up to two weeks. And while Hurricane Harvey didn’t cause massive power outages, many Houstonians are still scarred from that experience and want to do everything possible to prepare for another storm.

Most home power generators run on diesel, natural gas or propane. The type of generator you get will best be determined by the amount of power you would need in the event of a utility outage. Keeping a backup supply of generator fuel on hand is highly recommended.

When you have a generator installed in your home, it will be placed outside, possibly near your A/C units. The generator itself is roughly the same size. The generator comes with a transfer switch that is connected to your utility line and monitors power flow. If the switch detects a power outage, it turns the generator on automatically, usually within a few seconds. When utility power is restored, it switches the generator off. Most generators run weekly self-checks to ensure they are in proper working condition should you need to use them.

The benefits of having a home generator are many. Being able to run your air conditioner in the summer is paramount in our area. Home generators can also power your security system, wi-fi, refrigerator, stove, and almost anything else in your house. A home generator is more convenient, more powerful, and quieter than a traditional gas-powered generator and does not require extension cords. They can also provide peace of mind knowing that in the event of a utility outage, you can still run your household.