Home Generators Offer an Empowering Back-Up Plan

Kimberly A. Suta
Photography Courtesy Of:
Pico Propane

When the power goes out, the lights go out, the A/C goes out. We lose access to the internet, television, the ability to even heat up a cup of soup. Although the causes can vary, from pesky critters chomping through wires to a car accident taking out a pole, the most common cause is, indeed, weather.

If you lost power during the aptly named, “snow-pocalypse” we suffered here in South Texas just a few years ago, then you know all too well the harrowing circumstances that could await you. It’s even more crucial of an issue for those that live in Boerne and Cordillera Ranch, because, unlike San Antonio and other metropolitan cities, these rural areas don’t typically have access to natural gas and are often served by propane, which allows the energy source to be kept right next to the homes. 

“People went without power for quite some time. Freezing pipes and other things happened that caused a lot of havoc and damage to their houses. We heard horror stories of pipes freezing in pools when pumps stopped running and pumps getting blown,” recalled Dan Giampetroni, V.P of Power Solutions at Pico Propane & Fuels. “A back-up generator is an insurance policy against power outages.”

According to Dan, modern home generators are fully automatic and operational whether you’re at home or on vacation a million miles away. “A lot of people think we’re talking about a portable generator like you might buy at Home Depot for an emergency power supply, but this is a whole different story,” added Dan. 

The home generators that Pico Propane & Fuels sell are top of the line and can sustain your house without any effort on your part for, not just hours, weeks or even days, but indefinitely, given enough fuel. As a propane company also providing standby generators, Pico can provide a worry-free solution assuring the home continues to have gas and electricity throughout a grid outage. 

It’s a game changer, given the unfortunate reality that whether we’re facing more freezes in coming winters, the likelihood of power outages in our future is certain. It’s of particular concern for folks who need to protect their health. Medication that needs to be refrigerated can be destroyed or, worse, losing A/C in the summertime can be deadly for the ailing or elderly. 

“You may hear about power outages on the news when it’s big, but not when it’s small, but if you look at the data, it’s crazy how many outages are happening in the country,” explained Dan. “In fact, for the first time last year, ERCOT, the grid supplier in Texas, announced they weren’t going to have enough power to supply everybody. There is a whole different dynamic coming into play due to high population growth, the push for electric vehicles and other factors.”

He further notes that, over the years, power outages have become more frequent, bigger and more expensive, as far as losses go. After COVID, there was a big movement for home owners to install generators because so many people were working from home and couldn’t afford the repercussions of a potential outage. 

Thankfully, the solution is simple. Considering the potential damages that could result from no power during a freeze or the loss of air conditioning and refrigeration during the summer, it’s a relatively cheap insurance policy. The two state-of-the-art brands that Pico Propane & Fuels carry are Generac® and Kohler®. 

“We like to bring quality to our customers. Generac is probably the most popular brand because they do a lot of national advertising, so they get a lot of exposure, but Kohler is actually rated higher by Consumer Reports,” shared Dan. 

First things first. If you’re looking to buy a home generator, you must initially determine what your needs are. The Pico team sits down with each customer to ascertain exactly what appliances and rooms in their home they can’t live without. 

“For example, they might say they want their air conditioning, furnace, hot water, lights in the kitchen and home office, well pump and pool pump to stay operational, so we go through that with them and that dictates the size of the generator they need. Larger homes, like the ones in Cordillera Ranch, may require a bigger generator to back up more of the house,” Dan noted. 

That said, one of the most popular models on the market is a 26KW, which can be found in both Generac and Kohler. It’s a smaller generator, but provides a lot of power. But, again, for a larger house that may be running three different A/C units, you might want to consider a 48KW (also available in both brands). A couple of key items in the home that will impact the size of the generator are the method of hot water heating and whether the home is heated with a gas furnace or electric heat strips. A home that has gas water heat and a gas furnace will require a smaller size generator to run the entire home. 

The fully installed turnkey price range varies from $12-17k for a smaller unit to $30-35k for a larger one. The cost of the fuel is an additional fee and varies too much to quote. However, it’s a good idea to go with a full-service fuel company, like Pico, that also offers annual maintenance, not to mention delivers and refills propane fuel tanks, as needed. 

“Once a generator and propane tank are installed, we can monitor tank levels on our end and even the customer can see those levels using a tank monitoring app on their phone. We’re prepared and plan out our daily routine so customers are filled up. We’re always thinking ahead,” he clarified. In addition, Pico provides an annual maintenance program so the generators are always in working order and ready to run when needed. 

Fortunately, Pico Propane & Fuels has a showroom just a mile down the road from the main entrance to Cordillera Ranch, so you can check out the generators in person. They also offer an array of other appliances, such as gas fireplaces, outdoor gas grills, fire bowls and hot water heaters. 

“I’ve been in this space a long time. When someone’s building a custom home, the rule of thumb is that 10 percent of your budget is spent on landscaping. I remember when I first heard that. Compared to a hundred thousand dollars on landscaping, twenty thousand for a generator to protect your investment just seems smart,” said Dan. 

Point being, if we ever do find ourselves in the clutches of another extreme winter event, you’ll be able to soar through it, enjoying that hot cup of soup while watching the news about other folks who didn’t plan so well ahead. In the end, the cost of a home generator may well be worth your peace of mind.

The Pico Showroom is located one-half mile east of the main Cordillera Ranch entrance on Hwy 46. Showroom hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm, and by appointment on Saturday and Sunday.

843 Tx-46 Unit B, Bergheim, TX 78004

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