Question: Having a business in Toronto has been rough this last year. Is it worth investing in a backup generator for my business?

Answer: If there’s something to take away from 2013, the year of the power outages — it’s that getting a backup generator for your business is likely a wise investment.

Welcome to Toronto in 2014 — a city that survived a flooding and an ice storm in the last 365 days. The natural disasters resulted in energy failures and huge power outages. Some folks went without power for over a week. Homes and businesses had appliances fail, food go to waste and fish die.

So there are pros and cons to getting a backup generator for your business — but according to some folks, the advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages. So let’s take a look into the wonderful world of backup generators in today’s episode of Ask an Expert.

The 101 on backup generators

When the energy grid you rely on fails you — backup generators are something you can count on to maintain the necessary juice you need for your business. They come in different sizes (starting from generators for your home at roughly $3,000 and commercial installations under $6,000) and different fueling options. The most common forms of fueling options are natural gas, liquid propane and standard diesel.

Commercial generators should be installed by a professional and remain on standby until a power outage — when they will automatically become your source of energy for your business within a few seconds after you’ve lost power.

When it comes to deciding whether or not you should install a backup commercial generator for your business — it’s important to assess your needs. If you’re in the food (retail or restaurant), service or accommodations sector, you need to consider what your losses would be in the event of a black out. If food or some kind of digital service is your business, can you really afford not to have one?

Any business that relies on power around the clock — whether it’s to keep appliances and pumps going or just crucial to your system to have constantly running, a commercial back up generator is something you should consider.

Let’s get some details on a commercial backup generator

During power outages, your business is at risk of shutting down without one. With a backup generator, you can keep your revenue stream up, maintain your inventory, power your computer systems, have security systems running and keep all the basics up and going (lights, heating and cooling, etc.).

Kohler produces commercial generators that can power everything from industrial freezers and security systems to gas pumps and heat/air-conditioning. Their generators are installed outside of the building (much like an AC unit) — and even offer a diesel-fueled towable option for remote locations.

For folks in Ontario, Generac has standby generators that pay for themselves after one power outage. With the option to fuel with either LP or natural gas, Generac also offers a wireless remote monitoring option. This Canadian company says these generators can take on the elements with its weather protection finish.

Eaton also offers standby generators with a great range of sizes and voltages for homes or small businesses. They offer a contractor-friendly feature that makes the installation easier and less costly. Their 24-hour tech support is also a great advantage (they even have a neat online chat feature if you have any specific inquiries)!

Additional things to consider

Before you run out and invest in one of these gems, you should probably contact both your local building departments and your utility providers to see what their policies are on backup generators.

As mentioned, a professional should really handle the installation.

Curious about your company’s energy consumption? Check out our interactive Energy Audit! Businesses can also enjoy sweet incentives here.


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