The Smartest $2,500 Home Upgrade

Your Smartest $2,500 Home Upgrade

What’s the project? And why is it so popular right now? I just had this project completed at my own house and feel that it’s so important, I thought I should share it with you.

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.

Backup Home Power Sources in the San Gabriel Valley

As a homeowner, one of the best things you can do toward that end, is setting up a backup power source for your house. Power outages are nothing new in the San Gabriel Valley. Usually, they get resolved in a few hours, but sometimes they can last for days. If you haven’t experienced that personally, you probably know someone who has.

With summer fast approaching, the last thing you’ll want is to find yourself sweltering, with no AC, no lights, no internet, and a fridge full of spoiled food. This scenario is not that far-fetched, but the good news is it’s completely avoidable.

Here are three options you can explore to be prepared:

The bare-bones, least expensive option is to purchase a portable generator from Home Depot, along with some extension cords, gas cans, and motor oil. Fill up the gas cans and store everything safely in your garage or shed, just in case that day comes when you need power. If you try to buy these things during a power outage, you’ll probably find that all the hardware stores are already sold out. With a portable generator, you can at least keep your refrigerator running along with any other electronics you plug into the extension cords.

This will cost you under a thousand dollars.

Option number two, and the one I went with, is to not only purchase a portable generator, but also have an electrician modify your breaker box, so we can directly plug the generator into it. This will let you power your entire house, rather than just a few appliances with extension cords.

The electrician will charge you around $1,500. So with the cost of the generator on top, option number two is about $2,500 together. (Apparently, a lot of folks are taking this precaution because the electrician I hired said he’s never had more requests for generator hookups!)

Option number three is to install a standby generator, like the ones offered by Generac. Should your power go out, this is definitely the most convenient setup because the backup power will kick in almost instantly. Also, you don’t need to worry about constantly filling up gas cans. 

The downside is, the cost is likely to be around $10,000 or more. And there can be a lot of red tape to navigate with the permitting process.

Additional Emergency Considerations

While we’re on the topic of expecting the unexpected, it’s also not a bad idea to have 15 gallons of potable water stored for every member of your family, along with a 14 day supply of emergency meals. We do live in earthquake country after all!

With two little girls at home and all the craziness of the last year, my husband and I’ve been thinking more about the reasonable and responsible steps we should take, just in case. Basic water, food, and shelter seemed like the lowest-hanging fruit, so that’s what we focused on.

If you’re interested, I’ve included links to the generator, water canisters, and emergency food we’ve purchased for our own peace of mind:

Portable Generator:
Water Canisters:
Emergency Food:

I hope this is helpful for you and your family.

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