Brew Your Own Juice The Facts About Backup Generators

 Blizzards. Ice Storms. Hurricanes. Floods. New Yorkers are used to being  buffeted by Mother Nature. But increasingly, it seems, the impact of such  storms has lingered long after the weather front blows through, with hundreds  or thousands or even millions of residents left in the dark. Beyond the inconvenience—the loss of modern-day necessities like television and air-conditioning—power outages can wreak havoc on condominium residents left in the dark.  According to the Eaton Corporation’s blackout tracker, last year in New York,10,918,400 residents were affected by  159 outages.  

 In times of emergency, like a power outage due to foul weather or a fire in the  building, certain aspects of many multifamily structures must function  properly; steps must be free and clear so people can use them, and doors to  stairways must function. In larger buildings, common areas, corridors and  elevators usually are illuminated through the power provided by an emergency  generator.  

 “Last year in the United States over 40 million people lost power and New York  City was hit particularly hard during Hurricane Irene. When Irene hit New York  City on August 28, power was knocked out for more than one million New Yorkers,” says Gary Moody of Silent Standby Power Supply LLC, a nationwide distributor of  battery powered generators. From August 20-29, 2011, Hurricane Irene barreled  through the Caribbean and the entire Eastern Seaboard, causing 56 deaths and  widespread destruction accounting for nearly $19 billion in damages.  

 “This is nothing new—power goes out all the time—but in the worst-case scenario of power outages, it can be life threatening.”  

 Some commercial high-rise buildings have backup power to service the elevators  when power goes out but it’s not required. Some larger New York City co-ops and condos, like Co-op City,  Penn South and North Shore Towers, have even installed co-generation plants and  have emergency power backup in case of an outage. However, according to the New  York City Department of Buildings, the building code doesn’t require residential buildings to have emergency power backup.  


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  • Are there emergency generators for high rise water towers, specifically for flushing toilets? Can you use natural gas generators for this use?