This past winter was especially brutal. It started snowing by the end of September and never quit until April. The snow piled up in drifts much higher than the mailbox. We spent a fortune running the furnace at maximum capacity. I was eager for the arrival of spring and warmer weather. The temperature climbed into the eighties without much warning and very quickly. We also got hit with severe thunderstorms. There was tons of rain, high winds, and snowmelt, which caused major flooding. We lost power for over a week, and were without our sump pump, air conditioner and dehumidifier. My basement filled with water, and there was tons of damage. The dirty water ruined the furnace, the washer and dryer. We couldn’t open the windows because of the rain, so the moisture was trapped inside. We couldn’t run the air conditioner, and had no way to combat the heat. The house was overheated, sticky and horribly uncomfortable. We lived with no lights, running water, or internet. We worried about health and safety issues. There was condensation dripping down the windows and mold growth on the sills, in the basement and in the bathroom. I don’t ever want to go through that ordeal again. When my local HVAC contractor came to replace the furnace and service the air conditioner after the storm, I asked about a standby generator. The generator was extremely expensive to purchase and install, but it automatically starts up when there’s a power outage. During times of severe weather, I will still be able to rely on my furnace, air conditioner, dehumidifier, sump pump, running water, and all essential appliances.