Generator sales jump after storms

Following the massive storms that have pummeled the D.C. region over the last few weeks, generators are in high demand.

For Lynne Fallon and Brian Maloney losing power was a bit like "camping."

"...but we survived It. We had a neighbor with a generator," Fallon said.

Now, she wants one of her own.

Fallon explained, "We live with an 87-year-old colonel, and he has a pacemaker. So, the heat, the inconvenience, it's just not healthy for him."

Thousands share the feeling. The number of people buying generators has jumped due to the massive storms.

David Delorge of Benfield Electric says they've been in high demand.{ }

"From Friday 'til today, we've gotten over 7,000 calls," Delorge said.

Generators can be pricey. A portable, 10,000 watt generator can cost more than $800 retail.

Delorge added, "The problem with portables are they're not going to run a whole lot in your house, only a few lights and a refrigerator."

Looking to light up the whole house? Delorge says you'll need a 20,000 watt unit, but those can run around $10,000 to buy and install.

Delorge explained, "20k will usually run the majority of your house. Your lights, your refrigerator, your TV, your stump pump, computer."

If you're not sure how much wattage you want or need, check the side of the generator's packaging for a chart or check with the retailer.

"Buy one today! Don't wait 'til after the storm. For example, we're 75 days out," Delorge urged.

Generator upkeep is also critical. Owners must change oil and check filters regularly to avoid a breakdown during storms.

Installation takes two to three weeks. Also, check with your local jurisdiction before planning to install. Permits for generators are required in some cases.