Pictures of the real world.
Thank you for sending pictures of the real world. The damage you suffered from the tornado
certainly was a mess for the trees and electrical wires but I am glad that your house and cars managed to escape unscathed.
You bring up an interesting question about the long power outage and thoughts of getting a generator
. What is the price/performance level that makes the tipping point between going with the "permanent" whole house system or the somewhat portable gasoline powered generators? I would suggest that if it is possible to get a small natural gas one that it would be the better alternative. No messy gas cans, midnight refilling of the generator and if the electric is out in your area how far do you have to ride to get gas, since most gas stations do not have generators (I assume).
The peace of mind at having it be able to run on auto-pilot makes the most sense. What good would the generator do if there was a winter storm and you were away skiing for a few days? The electric goes out long enough for the pipes to freeze, crack, and then unfreeze and flood the house?
You would always say "if only we did not go away" etc. I think if you are going to consider some type of backup generator, the auto start and switch over sounds like the best.
I told you about how my parents ended up with the very high electric bill while they were away two winters ago. Their electricity went out (they have electric heat), pipes froze, electric comes back on, pipes break, and the pump just keeps on pumping and floods the house. Even worse was the leak was in a hot water pipe, so that this meant that their electric hot water heater was essentially constantly on. Well that is my three cents worth.