Depending on where you live, the days and weeks following Hurricane Ike were either uncomfortable, or downright miserable. Most people had no way to stay cool at night and no way to keep their food from going bad. Many stores sold out of generators in the first few days.
Since then, sales have continued to stay above normal as people, who may never have given it much thought, are now looking for back up power just in case. This is Michael Sanders, a salesman for Generators of Houston.
“I think people had their first taste of what a storm can do. I think Houston has been fairly lucky over the years without having too many storms. Once they saw what the power outages look like, I think it really renewed their interest in looking at generators.”
Sanders’ company sells the larger more expensive units. They can run anywhere from 9 thousand to 50-thousand dollars. But they’ll power up almost the entire house.
“We can run one or the other of the air conditioners and most of the rest of the house on a small kW air cooled generators. It’s natural gas powered, so there’s no fuel issues.”
For those that don’t have the budget for the bigger units, the smaller portable ones seem to be the best option. They start at around 300 dollars and go up to about a thousand. The smaller units don’t have the strength to power up an AC unit, but they will get you out of the dark.
“Most people will run a portable generator, around a 55 watt generator, and be able to run a refrigerator, a couple of lights, that’s really about all they will handle. They wont’ handle any air conditioners, sometimes a room a small window unit you can run off a portable, but anything over that requires a little bit more power when you’re running a central air conditioning.”
Another benefit of the portable units is you can take them outdoors and get power for tailgating or camping trips. But whether it’s the small or bigger units, more Houstonians have generators than this time last year. For them, the power may go out, but they’ll be able to crank it right back up.
Bill Stamps. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.