BE READY UTAH

Range of options to power a house in times of emergency

Aug 3, 2022, 5:00 AM | Updated: 9:09 am
Ford F-150 Lightning...
Photo credit: Ford Motor Company.

SALT LAKE CITY — During times of emergency when there is no power, there are a range of options for power at home. Perhaps the least expensive — for about $25, you can get a fold-out solar panel that can charge your cellphone.

Small gas-powered generators can help keep food cold and some lights on in the house. However, those types of generators don’t have enough capacity to power an entire house. 

Additionally, there are some potential safety issues with those types of generators. 

According to Mike Telford of Intermountain Wind and Solar, those types of generators just can’t be plugged into the house wiring. 

“The main reason for that is you don’t want to push power back on to the grid if the grid is down and there’s power workers on that line,” he said.

Small gasoline or propane-powered generators also emit carbon monoxide, so they can’t be used indoors. Storing gasoline also presents safety hazards.

Natural gas generators and large batteries such as the Tesla Power Wall can cost more than $10,000 with professional installation. They typically include systems that disconnect from the grid automatically when the power goes out and reconnect when it comes back on.

Ford Motor Company is offering another option for home backup power – its new F-150 Lightning pickup truck. The truck has a big battery that connects to the home through a system that includes an inverter and wiring interface. That goes for about $4,000 installed, while the trucks start at about $40,000.

But Ryan O’Gorman with Ford says they can keep a typical house load going for three days, or longer if it’s running only critical house systems.

“”So if you’ve left your truck plugged in and you’re on vacation, and there’s a long-term power outage and you can’t really get home to service maybe a sump pump or some other kind of critical thing in your house, you can go up to ten days,” he said.

Good luck getting one, though. The current model year’s run of Lightning pickup trucks — 200,000 units — is sold out.

Be prepared for all emergencies and disasters at BeReadyUtah.gov.

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