OK maybe this contraption provided the original spark for my life-time fascination with alternative energy....
Recent extreme weather events, growing concerns about transmission system integrity, and our Yankee passion for self-reliance have induced many Upper Valley residents to install standby generators in their homes. We endure our neighbors' derision, we pretend to ignore the ugly box mounted next to the patio, and (some of us) learn how to overcome the temporary panic that strikes at 9:00 AM on Friday morning when the noisy beast springs to life for its weekly system check.
Should you take the $5000 - $8000 plunge? A new car or a trip to Europe might do more for your marriage. A remodeled bathroom will definitely do more for the value of your home. If you're still in that slippery category called "middle-age," socking the money away for retirement would be a much smarter financial decision.
Still we are tempted to plunge forward. We think of it as another form of insurance against frozen pipes, a bulwark against the nightmare memories of recent ice storms, of eating Spam by candle light and going to work without taking a shower. We are all so safe in the comfort of our own homes until we aren't - the moment the power goes out.
Personally, I would start by taking stock of your current backup options. Do you have a woodstove to keep the house warm? Do you have relatives or (very) close friends in the area you could bum meals and showers from? Do you live in town near an electric substation, or are you at the end of the transmission grid and regularly are the LAST one whose power gets restored after a storm? If so, maybe a new bathroom or central heating system is a better choice.
Here's a list of web links for those of you who want to at least get a quote on standby generators:
Good luck. My choice was easy: my wife would shrivel up and die if she couldn't take at least one long shower a day!