Q: I caught a network TV segment you did recently about residential generator choices, and I found your comparison between “standby” and “portable” generators for home use interesting. Can you explore these differences again in one of your columns?

A: Most people are familiar with portable generators, but the best option for your home might be a standby generator system.

Portable generators are great for things like camping and tailgating, but as a source for backup power, they have limitations. For each power-loss event, you have to set them up outside at a safe distance away from any houses, fill them with gasoline, then run heavy-duty extension cords that connect to each appliance in your home.

On the other hand, a standby generator is professionally installed and can power the entire home since it is permanently connected to the house’s electrical system. They also turn on and off automatically during an outage, and they run on natural gas or propane.

Even though a standby generator can cost more money, those extra charges can equal extra power when you need it.

Ed Del Grande is a master plumber, contractor and author. Send questions to eadelg@cs.com.