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Do Hotels Have Generators?

Since the late 19th century and early 20th, humanity has become dependent on electricity. While it wasn’t too widespread in the early years, today, not many people can imagine their lives without it. You are reading this article on some digital device that requires power to run, regardless of if we’re talking about a battery or directly from the wall.

Considering that every appliance we use today runs on electricity, we are pretty dependent on it, even when we’re on vacation or business travel. Hotel rooms have minibars, lights, electric doors, and many other appliances that need electricity to function correctly. So, what happens if there is a blackout?

In general, hospitals, police stations, airports, and similar locations have generators to ensure that things continue to operate without interruptions. With this in mind, it’s time to answer the question you’re here to know.

Do Hotels Have Generators?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Since there are no laws requiring generators in hotels, you may run into a hotel that doesn’t have them.

The general rule is that most of the mid-range and all premium hotels should have a backup generator, but your best bet would be to call up the hotel and ask if the one you’re looking at isn’t in the list below. Most hotels would try to rely on having a generator to avoid bad reviews or people asking for refunds. Even though a generator isn’t a cheap investment, it may be a good option in the long run.

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What Happens When Power Goes Out at a Hotel?

It depends mainly on the hotel and the policy on dealing with power outages.

Let’s start with the hotels that do have generators. Depending on how things are set, they can kick in instantly if they are set automatically, or it may take them a few minutes if they need to be powered up manually. In both cases, the generators will power up the essentials for a while. How long the generators will be running will depend on multiple factors.

On the other hand, some hotels don’t have generators, in which case things are a bit more complicated. There are a handful of things that will work, meaning that you won’t have a lot to do. My experience so far has been that in cases of a blackout, the hotel’s emergency lights will work because they are powered off a battery. In some hotels, there will be a flashlight in each room for cases when the power goes out. Most hotel’s policy would be to inform the occupants to leave the hotel if they wish to avoid sitting in the dark,

Do Hotel Doors Work When the Power is Out?

A common misconception is that hotel doors won’t work when the power is out. Modern hotels have electric locks which can be unlocked by holding a card close or swiping it. Regardless of that, they are powered by batteries, meaning that they are entirely unaffected by the power outage. Depending on the systems, the batteries can last a while before they need to be changed, which is something that the management is in charge of.

The electric doors of a hotel are a system of two parts. The battery-powered one is on the outside of the door, which is the system you’re using to get into your hotel room. On the inside, there is the traditional handle, and that part is mechanic, so a blackout won’t disrupt its workings.

Do Hotel Elevators Work When the Power is Out?

In cases when the power is out, and the hotel has a backup generator, it will power only the essentials, meaning that in most cases, the elevators won’t be a part of. Modern elevators are designed to run on battery power and take the occupants to the closest floor. Once the passengers are out, the door will close, and the lift will remain out of service until the power is restored.

Premium hotels may have a slightly different strategy, especially ones with many floors. In those cases, to avoid using the stairs for 10-20 floors, some hotels have separate generators that will power the elevators, but most of them enforce some kind of usage policy in those conditions, so check that out just in case.

How Often is The Power Out in a Hotel?

In most cases, a power outage is something that no one can predict, so there isn’t a definitive answer to this. The only instances in which something like this can be predicted is if there is scheduled maintenance in the hotel or as part of the electricity grid the hotel is drawing power from. These come preannounced, so people will know and be prepared for them. In any other situation, it cannot be predicted.

Damage to the power grid or some element from the hotel’s electrical circuitry, natural disasters, and many other unpredictable situations can occur that would cause a blackout.

Will I Need to Evacuate the Hotel if the Power is Out?

Evacuation in the case of a blackout will depend on the hotel’s policies. There isn’t a strict guideline for that, and hotels with bigger generators capable of keeping more things powered won’t make things too uncomfortable for guests. Again, this depends on the hotel, so you might want to check the hotel’s rule book and see how the management handles those situations.

On the other hand, if you stay in a hotel without a backup generator, there is a greater chance that you will be asked to evacuate, mainly because nothing will be powered, not even the lights.

How Long Can a Hotel Run on a Generator?

There are tons of variables that prevent me from giving a specific answer. They range from the type of generator to the size, what it would power, and plenty of other things. Generators are designed to deliver power for a few hours, in some cases passing the double-digit mark. Some of them are not intended to be powered on for too long continuously, so they’ll need to be shut down to cool off.

On the other hand, there are more expensive and powerful generators that could keep a hotel’s essentials powered for a day or two.

The best practice is to call up the hotel and ask because there are too many hotels that operate differently.

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Andov Slavcho

Slavcho Andov is a part-time freelancer and full-time geek. He's a board game enthusiast, tech junkie, amateur photographer and Sith lord. Ohh...and he loves to travel.