HOUSTON - Business has been revving up for backup home generators since the pandemic forced workers and students to need continuous power at home, and the February freeze left Texas without power for days.
People are rushing to try to get them installed before hurricane season. But installing one isn't quick. It's a long, involved process.
Phones haven't stopped ringing at Grasten Power Technologies, where stacks of generators in the warehouse are already sold.
"After the big freeze, generator demand has been through the roof. We've had about 10,000 inquiries since February," said company president Josh Grasten.
There's such a backlog to manufacture and install home generators, if you ordered one today, you'll be lucky to have it installed before hurricane season ends.
"We're about a six-month lead time from the time you say 'go' to the time we actually put in your generator. The manufacturers being behind is part of that problem. They've seen a 300% to 400% increase in business this year alone," said Grasten.
While you can spend a few thousand dollars to power a few appliances, most people opt to install whole-home generators, with prices starting around $10,000.
"At that point, the installation cost, the product, everything else, it really makes a lot of sense to buy the size generator that's going to cover the entire house," said Generac CEO Aaron Jadgfeld.
Installation involves pouring a concrete slab where the generator will sit, hooking it up to your electric meter, installing a transfer switch, and running a line to a gas line to power it.
"They should expect it's a home improvement project. In most places around the country, there are permits involved, inspectors involved, you have contractors. So our dealers can walk people through that process," said Jadgfeld.
And generators need annual maintenance, which usually runs from $250 to $500 a year.
Installing a standby home generator is a big commitment, but comes with big peace of mind.
"The investment to protect your family is priceless," said Grasten.
Demand for backup generators is growing so much, more homes are being built with generators already installed.