GIMME SHELTER- Dark shadows: How to avoid outage ouches

Eddie Medeiros
Never Dark Whole House Generators LLC, 434-975-3275


Q: Several of my neighbors have recently installed power generators in their homes. I'm not bothered by the occasional  need for canned food and candle-lit dinners. Should I invest in a generator? 

A: Yes! Even short-term power loss can result in serious inconvenience and extensive property damage. The cost of a generator will more than offset the expense of a prolonged outage. 

Loss of heat and air conditioning can be very uncomfortable and may lead to frozen water pipes. Extensive water damage or flooding may result if those pipes crack. Your hot water heater won't run, and if your water comes from a well, you gotta have a generator to get water at all.

You'll be without home phones, Internet, security systems, televisions, and computers. Food will spoil in an un-powered refrigerator after several days, a very expensive and messy event. Finally, generators are critical for patients who rely on power medical devices like dialysis and oxygen machines.

When you buy a generator, your dealer will help determine how many watts will be required to run your critical circuits during a power outage. Our most popular model for the typical homeowner is the 16,000-watt model that costs $6,000-$6,500 including installation. It can power your home or business 24/7, for days, weeks, or months, and has a 20-year life span.

Choose a model that can detect a power outage and turn on automatically– especially important if you're frequently away from home.

After one family's freezer lost power, the food thawed, went bad, and then when the power came back on, the mess refroze.

To prevent their water pipes from freezing, another family kept some heat running during the winter even when they weren't using the house. Sounds smart, but when power went out, their pipes froze anyway. Once power was restored, water started shootin' everywhere because pumps don't know when pipes are broken.

We don't sell generators to homeowners who want to install them themselves because homeowners screw them up– an incorrectly installed unit can damage your main utility line and present a serious safety hazard.

But getting back to first causes. Why do people lose power so often? This area, particularly Earlysville, Ivy, and Zion Crossroads, is vulnerable to power loss because some of the major power lines have not been upgraded since they were built in the 1950s. Although some new lines are buried underground, they still connect to those main lines, which are above ground and thus vulnerable to damage, often from falling limbs or trees.

Our phones ring off the hook on every Monday after a big storm. The power company keeps me in business.

Eddie Medeiros