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The Power Play🪫

Should You Invest in a Home Backup Generator?

The flickering lights, the fridge groaning in protest, the desperate search for candles—power outages can turn even the most idyllic home into a scene from a survival movie. Enter the home backup generator, a beacon of hope promising light, heat, and (most importantly) Netflix during those dark times. But is this electrical knight in shining armor worth the hefty price tag? Let's weigh the pros and cons of owning a home backup generator to help you decide.


  • Peace of mind during outages: Power outages can be inconvenient, scary, and even dangerous, especially in extreme weather or if you rely on medical equipment. A generator ensures you stay warm, safe, and connected.

  • Keep essentials running: Say goodbye to spoiled food and freezing nights. Generators can power essential appliances like refrigerators, heaters, and lights, minimizing discomfort and potential losses.

  • Flexibility and independence: With a generator, you're not at the mercy of the grid. You can choose when and for how long to have power, giving you a sense of control during unpredictable situations.

  • Increased property value: Some studies suggest homes with generators can sell for higher prices, especially in areas prone to outages.


  • Significant upfront cost: Installing a generator can be expensive, ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars depending on size and features.

  • Ongoing maintenance: Generators require regular maintenance, including oil changes, filter replacements, and testing, adding to the overall cost.

  • Fuel expenses: Generators, especially those powered by gasoline or propane, add to your fuel bills. The cost can vary depending on fuel type, generator efficiency, and runtime.

  • Noise and environmental impact: Generators can be noisy, potentially disturbing neighbors and wildlife. They also emit pollutants, contributing to air quality concerns.

  • Limited usage: In most cases, generators are used infrequently, making the initial investment harder to justify compared to daily necessities.

The Verdict: It Depends

So, is owning a home backup generator cost-effective? The answer, like most things in life, is a complex "it depends." Consider these factors:

  • Frequency and duration of outages in your area: If you experience frequent or long-lasting power cuts, a generator can be a worthwhile investment.

  • Essential needs: If you rely on medical equipment or have young children, the peace of mind provided by a generator could be invaluable.

  • Alternative options: Explore backup battery systems, which are quieter and cleaner, but may not handle longer outages.

  • Budget and usage: Be realistic about how often you'll use the generator and whether you can afford the upfront and ongoing costs.

Ultimately, the decision of whether a home backup generator is cost-effective depends on your individual needs, budget, and priorities. Weigh the pros and cons carefully, and do your research to choose the right generator for your specific situation. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer, but with careful planning, you can find the solution that keeps your lights on and your mind at ease, even when the grid goes dark.

If you haven't checked out my PennyWise Financial Podcast, watch a look at a clip from one of our shows with guest Liz Biehler from The Liz Harley Agency with Allstate in Victor, NY. Scroll down to watch the entire episode. It's available on all major podcast platforms like Apple, Google Spotify, and YouTube.

👇Or click below to watch the full Episode

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