Winter Power Outages - Buying a Generator

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We've just bought a generator. It took us a long while researching and considering the expense but we finally decided to take the plunge and bought a 16kw automatic propane model at a cost of just over $7000. Ouch…..I hear the intakes of breath and sucking in of teeth…that's a lot of money for additional power that may rarely be used and what's wrong with candle power and a wood stove anyway.

Our main reason was the no-brainer that we run our office from home and without power we lose business, and I appreciate our circumstances may be different because I'm talking about my home here, and not my cottage. But, doing this got me thinking about the cottage because We rent it year round, and in winter it is pretty isolated. We had a power outage just last month that lasted 24 hours, and it meant hauling buckets of water from the river to flush toilets, and the considerable risk of having a large amount of candles burning around the place. In winter, of course, when the lakes are frozen, the water issue moves to a more serious level.

If you rent out in winter, how will your renters cope if there is any extended power disruption? What about if this is due to a winter storm and they can't get out of the cottage for several days because of heavy snow fall. These are serious things to consider before you decide on offering winter rentals given that many of your guests may not be aware of how severe cottage country conditions can be in the winter.

We opted for the automatic style of generator as it does not involve pouring fuel into the system, perhaps in the dark, or in the middle of a storm. Within 5 seconds of the power going out, the machine kicks in and power is restored to the lights, power outlets and appliances you have identified as those that are most important, on installation of the system. We have power to the water pump, septic pump, fridge/freezer and computers in the office as well as to a baseboard heater in a room isolated from the rest of the (wood stove heated) house. In addition we put a couple of bedroom and kitchen power outlets on the board as well.

Our Guardian generator comes in smaller models – 7kw, 10kw and 13kw, so they can be installed for a much reduced cost than the one we needed to power our home and office.

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