In stock items ship same day if ordered online before 12 EST

In stock items ship same day if ordered online before 12 EST

As an owner of a large electrical contracting company for over 20 years, we sold over 2,000 home standby generators and were a stocking distributor for both Generac and Kohler generators. About one or two times a year I would go on a sales call where the homeowner needed a standby generator to support medical equipment.  In most cases, it was for something like an oxygen generator or CPAP machine. But in an extreme scenario, there was a child with cystic fibrosis who relied on medical devices and any duration of time without power could be critical.

First Choice for Backup Power – A Home Standby Generator

A whole house generator is certainly the most convenient option.  When the power goes out, the generator automatically starts and the circuits in your house are switched to the generator, usually within 15 to 20 seconds.  The homeowner has to do nothing.  While this is very convenient, it is also the most expensive option.  Prices start at $10,000 and can cost as much as $20,000.  If this is out of your budget, read on.

A More Affordable Approach – Portable Generator Connected to Your Existing Home Electrical Panel

If after you look at a whole house generator and realize that one is not in your budget, consider a very good alternative that will cost $1,000 to $2,000 depending on what you want to power.  This option utilizes a quality portable generator and an interlock kit from  This combination will still power all of your medical devices just like normal, along with all your lights, TVs, computers, and refrigerator.  Everything is plugged in just like normal; no extension cords needed. If you purchase a larger kW portable generator you can even run items, like; your stove, hot water heater and HVAC unit.  To see how this simple transfer switch works, check out this installation video for one of the most popular Square D Interlock Kits – install video. If the next step for you is finding the right portable generator, see December’s blog post on the subject – Choosing the best generator to pair with an Interlock Kit.

Still Outside Your Budget? – An Inverter Powered By Your Car Battery

Let’s face it, if you are using a medical device at home, you probably have significant medical bills that force you to save money any way you can.  When this situation arises, I recommend that you purchase a quality pure sine wave inverter with a range from 600-1000 watts like this 1000 12v Pure Sine Wave Inverter. Look at your medical device for the required wattage.  If wattage is not given then it will have the power or Amperage listed.  Example “amp 0.8”.  To obtain watts, multiply the listed amps times 120 where 120 is the voltage in your home.  Example 0.8 x 120 = 96 watts.  As you can see, a 1,000-watt inverter can easily power a CPAP machine, multiple lights, and a small TV.

So how does the inverter work?  The inverter is powered by your car battery and hooked up by clamps to the battery just like jumper cables.  Then you plug an extension cord into the inverter and run it to your devices.  If the power is out for hours, you simply start the car and let it idle.  Some would assume that running a car on idle for an extended period of time would require an excessive amount of gas.  However, modern cars, can idle for hours (if not days) using only a small amount of gas. Generally, a compact car will use .2 to .3 gallons per hour. That means that you can run for a day or more before you need to buy more gas. This can be a low-cost alternative for people who require power for medical devices but are on a strict budget.

Still have questions about medical grade power supply?

Our team is here to help. If you are unsure which interlock kit best fits your needs, we are here to answer your questions every step of the way. Providing an emergency power solution for any electrical panel is what we do best. We hope to save you time & hassle during the research phase for back-up emergency power at your home or business!

Check back next month for more expert tips on how to keep the lights on!