Generators becoming more of a ‘necessity’ for families during hurricane season

Generators are becoming increasing popular for homeowners to help keep things going if there's a power outage.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – When the power goes down, it powers up. And generators are becoming increasingly popular as people prepare for hurricane season.

Isack Merenfeld, general manager of the Generator Supercenter in Hollywood, gave Local 10 News a tour of some of the generators that could be a fit for your home. They include stand-by generators, which are on hold until the moment you have a power outage.

“Most of the homes in South Florida, like 90% of them, will use generators ranging between 18 kilowatts and 24 kilowatts, he said. “Your average home in Florida is going to have a consumption of about 6 to 7 kilowatts per hour.”

Stand-by generators require permits and installation — not only of the generator but possibly also the huge propane tanks that’ll help keep the power running. And the cost begins at $13,000.

“Most of the homes in Florida don’t have natural gas, and that’s when they require a propane operator, which involves bringing a large tank and burying it underground or having it above ground so that it will give you enough fuel to have power for seven to 10 days,” Merenfeld said.

Merenfeld says that work that used to take between a month and three months is taking longer. Lockdowns and working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic only increased demand for generators.

The power grid outage in Texas this winter also hurt.

Merenfeld says that, including the permitting process, it could take six to seven months before installation.

“Generators were perceived as a luxury item or as an emergency item, and I think right now they are perceived as a necessity,” he said.

Ray Lyons with Home Depot says if you’re instead buying a portable generator it’ll range from $100 dollars for a small one to $1,000 dollars for a larger one.

The different models range from inverters at 2,300 watts all the way up to 6,500 watts, and you have to determine what size you need for your house, Lyons said.

And if you’re buying one of those, make sure to stock up on plenty of oil and have the necessary equipment. It’s also important to have spare items like air filters, and a fuel stabilizer on hand.

“If we are in a storm and it’s running a lot and one of those have to be changed, you need to have it on hand cause you’re not going to get out and get it,” Lyons said.

And remember basic safety.

“At least 20 feet from the house, preferably with the exhaust facing away from any openings on the house, so that you don’t get carbon monoxide,” Lyons said.

CLICK HERE to view and download our 2021 Hurricane Survival Guide.

About the Author:

A native of Sacramento, California, Julie Durda joined Local 10 with extensive knowledge and experience in meteorology from various parts of the United States.