“The dealer said that Briggs & Stratton had a 10-year warranty that was included, and that they’ve been doing this for a long time and they love them."
Children often grow up with parents constantly worrying about them. But as kids grow older and parents age, the roles often reverse. Lee Townsend is no stranger to this process. Her mother, age 83, lives more than three hours away from her in a small town north of Houston. This region of Texas is subject to many weather events, seeing an average of more than 100 tornadoes each year according to the Texas Almanac. Most of the tornadoes form in the northern part of the state, but because of the warm, coastal air from the Gulf, they are likely to happen anywhere. This causes Townsend to be frequently concerned about her mother's well-being.
Last April and May, several tornadoes hit and caused extensive damage near the town of Livingston, where Townsend’s mother lives, about three hours north of the Gulf Coast.
Time to do better
Living near the Gulf Coast in Galveston County, Townsend encounters a variety of natural disasters herself. Luckily, she did not experience any direct repercussions from this specific tornado event. Three and a half hours north, however, her mother had to endure the storms on her own. She lives on the family farm north of Livingston and lost power for a week as a result of the storms. Losing power for a day is inconvenient, but for a week it’s an entirely new lifestyle you have to adapt to. While her mother was living through a disaster, there was very little that Townsend could do to help. Remembering there was a portable generator in the barn, she was able to get ahold of her mother’s neighbors to help set it up near the house to plug in a few things, but it just wasn’t enough.
“The portable generator helped her power up her phone so she could text us, but that wasn't really a fix,” says Townsend. “I just really didn't want her to have to keep trying to plug her freezer into that portable generator. We could do better than that.”
Because the phone lines were down, her mother was only able to communicate through her cell phone. To charge her phone, though, she would have to unplug the freezer to plug in the charger, and would have to continue moving the power cords around. A portable generator may be useful in some situations, but it’s not enough to power all of the necessities in one’s home.
After trying to assist her mom through this experience hours away, while hardly being able to communicate with her, Townsend knew it was time for a change. Especially because these kinds of storms are anticipated to happen every year. She decided to arrange for something a little more reliable to ensure her mother’s health and safety in the future, no matter what type of natural disaster strikes.
Townsend set out to find a standby generator that would power the entire home. She found a local dealer in Trinity, All Star Electric, that offered the product and could come to the house to install it. They offered a few different brands, but Lee was familiar with Briggs & Stratton.
“The dealer said that Briggs & Stratton had a 10-year warranty that was included, and that they’ve been doing this for a long time and they love them,” said Townsend. “So, I took the lady's recommendation because she was very knowledgeable and from what I had researched with Briggs & Stratton, I just thought that was the way to go.”
Armed with valuable information from the dealership, she purchased a Briggs & Stratton standby generator for her mom.
“The dealer assured me that they could get us what we needed to make sure that my mom always had power,” she says.
The dealer set up a time to come out to the house to advise where to put it, explain how it would function, and share more information about the product.
“They came out to the house around July,” says Townsend. “They met with me and explained everything in great detail about what to expect. They talked to us about the best place to put the generator and the generator pad, and how it would connect with the electrical box and the propane.”
Townsend was pleased with every aspect of the buying process and now has peace of mind knowing her mother will be comfortable and safe, able to deal with whatever comes her way.
Weathering the winter
This past winter, Texas experienced record-low temperatures, an excess of snow on the ground, and homes not equipped to withstand these conditions; a phenomenon Texans weren’t prepared for. The storms that left people with frozen and broken water pipes, flooded homes and power outages. Many people were devastated and distraught.
Those with standby generators, however, didn’t experience the same kind of destruction.
“I really believe the reason she didn't have damage like everyone else and the pipes didn't freeze in the walls is because she had power,” says Townsend.
While everyone around her was out of power, her mother was spared extreme damage because of the standby generator.
“She always had the house warm, had the lights going and was able to cook,” says Townsend. “She was also able to communicate with us, and it was just a real relief.”
The generator ran for an entire week during the second round of winter storms in February, and she became concerned about the amount of propane left in the tank. She called the propane company, and was told they couldn’t get out to her mother because of the roads, but would put her at the top of the list. When they were finally able to get to the farm, they said the level of propane was doing just fine and had 40% left.
Prepared with backup power
After having the generator for over a year now, Townsend is very satisfied with her purchase. It’s gotten her mom through difficult times — but it could’ve been much worse had she been without power.
With all of the weather possibilities in Texas, a whole-home generator can be a powerful solution. Lee Townsend and her mother found that out firsthand. In an age where many of us are working from home, have children learning from home, or have family members that need to stay home, it’s worth finding options that will help keep you going on days when your power lines won’t.
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