A home standby generator automatically turns on in the event of a power outage and will work until the primary power source returns.
There are many different types of generators to choose from, so you should be sure to get the right one for your home. If you aren’t sure how big a generator you need, there are some things you can do to help you decide on the size that works for your house.
How to Choose a Generator
The size of a generator you need depends on how many appliances and electrical devices you need to power during a power outage. There are several factors to consider, including starting wattage, running wattage, and surge wattage.
Start by listing all of the appliances and devices you want to run during a power outage. Then, look up their wattage ratings to determine the total wattage that they will require from your generator.
You should choose a generator that is slightly bigger than the total wattage needed. This way, you’ll have enough power to run everything without consuming too much fuel.
You can also use a generator sizing calculator to get an idea of what size generator you should purchase. However, it’s always best to have a top-rated local pro do this for you.
Sizing your generator for the right amount of power is crucial to ensuring that your essential home appliances and equipment will be powered during an outage. To estimate the size of your generator, first list all of the appliances that you will be using during an outage and their wattages.
Then, use the generator sizing calculator to calculate the total wattage needed for your home’s appliances and tools. This will help you determine whether you need a large or small generator.
Generally speaking, a 5000-watt generator should be enough for most homes, although you may need to upgrade to a 10,000-watt model for larger households.
You can also choose to fuel your generator with propane, which is a type of liquefied petroleum gas. It is readily available and burns cleanly, making it a popular choice for generator users. It is also cheaper than other types of fuel and can be stored in tanks on the premise.
Choosing the right fuel type is important for any generator, but it’s particularly vital for whole house generators. Without the proper fuel, your generator will not function.
The most common generator fuel options are natural gas (NG), liquid propane (LP), and diesel. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs.
For example, NG is typically more accessible in areas with gas pipelines, and is often cheaper than propane.
Propane, on the other hand, requires storage in a tank attached to your generator. It’s more expensive than NG, but has a longer shelf life and is cleaner burning.
It also has a higher energy density, but can only be stored for a short time. This makes it less efficient than the other two options.
A generator can be a lifesaver in the event of a power outage, but it’s important to follow certain safety measures. Failure to do so can result in electrocution, fires or even death.
Avoid the two biggest hazards associated with generator use – carbon monoxide poisoning and backfeed into your home’s electrical system. Install a transfer switch to safely connect your generator to utility power, and make sure it is installed by a licensed electrician in compliance with all local codes.
Never plug a generator directly into a wall outlet, your home’s breaker panel or where electric service enters your house. This may bypass your home’s built-in circuit protection devices, putting your appliances and electronics at risk.
A heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord, rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the total of the connected appliance loads, should be used instead. It should be free of cuts or tears, and has all three prongs – especially an earthing pin – to prevent backfeed into your home’s electric service.