Last winter was unusually cold and snowy, with temperatures well below zero and brutal wind chill. When the weather finally warmed up, we got hit by severe thunderstorms. The combination of leftover snow drifts and torrential downpours resulted in serious flooding. The high winds caused extensive power outages. My home was without electricity for an entire week. We were left without overhead lights, running water, internet, air conditioning, and our sump pump. Without a working sump pump, the basement flooded and caused a great deal of damage. I was forced to replace the washer and dryer, and the furnace required costly service and replacement parts. Without air conditioning or dehumidification capabilities, the damp basement became a breeding ground for mold and mildew. It also smelled terribly musty. Despite the heavy storms, the outside temperature climbed into the eighties and the air felt horribly clammy. We were unable to open the windows, due to the rain, and the house became overheated and sticky. Going without air conditioning was an unpleasant ordeal. Although the power outage was disruptive and expensive, we managed to get through it. If the power were to fail during the winter, with an outside temperature below freezing, we would need to move to a hotel. We could not survive without a working furnace. There would be the concern of water pipes freezing and bursting. I decided to contact a local HVAC contractor and invest in a standby generator. The generator is permanently installed in the backyard, and automatically starts up in the event of a power failure. It allows us to to continue to operate essential appliances, such as the water heater, furnace, air conditioner and sump pump.