Standby generators with a transfer switch may be a smarter option than battery-operated models because they can shut down certain electrical appliances and focus power on others, said Art Aiello of Generac Power Systems. This type of generator can power essentials while it "shuts down the home's most power-hungry appliances, such as a central air conditioning unit, until there's enough power available to run them," he said. The generator, which requires a fuel tank, may need to be supplemented by a solar energy system to ensure continuous power if fuel runs out, said Tom Ferraro, president of The Solar & More Store.

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