Hello Fred and thank you for your question.
A portable generator is a great solution for powering a few appliances or circuits for a short period of time when the power goes out. Many units are powered by gasoline and must be kept away from the home (running extension cords) because of the danger of carbon monoxide.
If you need your appliances and circuits to stay on when the power goes out, consider a whole house solution. The automatic standby generator will come on quickly (less than 30 seconds) after the power is disconnected. Your home is powered from the generator which operates on liquid propane or natural gas power until the electricity is restored.
Check out the GE Generator Buying Guide (http://www.homestandbygeneratorsyst...
). You can select your home size and needs in the event of a power outage. The GE 13,000-Watt Generator System with Symphony II Whole House 200A Transfer Switch is an excellent choice for smaller to medium-sized homes.
We recommend professional installation by a licensed GE Generator Systems professional. To see if our Home Services division offers installation in your area, contact 1-800-HOME-DEPOT or go to http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...
Best wishes with your project.