This past winter was an absolute nightmare. Not only did the cold weather arrive far earlier than usual, but it was ungodly cold and snowy. We dealt with temperatures down to twenty-six below zero and often accumulated several feet of snow in a single night. I started up the heating system in late September, and it ran non stop, at maximum capacity, for six straight months. Unfortunately, along with cold and snow, we also experienced high winds. The wind created dangerous driving conditions, and made the outside temperature feel even colder. A lot of branches and trees were brought down, and at one point, we were without electrical power. When there’s a power outage, we are without running water, overhead lights, refrigeration, sump pump, washing machine and internet. None of that created an emergency situation. However, we were also without heat. The furnace won’t run without electric, and our home quickly turned uncomfortably cold. There was no choice but to pack our bags and move into a hotel until the power was restored. Since all of the nearby hotels were booked with people in the same situation, we had to drive several hours, during a travel advisory, to find somewhere to stay. It was a scary trip, and the hotel cost me a small fortune. I also worried about the water pipes at the house bursting and causing even more expense, disruption and damage. After that horrible ordeal, I decided I never wanted to be stranded without a working furnace again. I consulted with my HVAC contractor, who took care of the installation of a standby generator. The generator is permanently installed, runs on natural gas, and starts up automatically in the event of a power failure. My family will continue to have access to heating, air conditioning, running water, and all of our essential appliances.