Many of us live in single-family residences lacking emergency power. While most major blackouts have occurred in summer or fall, a few (such as in January 1998 in Quebec and December 2002 in the mid-Atlantic states) resulted from ice storms that literally pulled down power lines. When such outages last for several days, they create the potential for freeze conditions when heating systems (nearly all of which need power) stop running. Small gasoline generators can provide backup power, but are expensive to install, require storage of gasoline (a potential fire hazard), and create noise and fumes. Is there a better and cheaper to provide backup power just to your heating system?
A neighbor had installed a system involving a gasoline-driven generator, automatic transfer switch, fuel storage tank, etc., for about $4,000, but that seemed like overkill. All we really needed was power for the oil-fired hot water heating system.