It’s always good to have a back-up plan. A generator keeps your household running when the power goes out, either from a storm, natural disaster or other emergency.
Once you’ve decided to protect your home and family with a back-up power source, the next question you likely ask yourself is: what size generator do I need for my house? First, here are some other questions to consider.
- How critical is my household’s power need? Everyone needs lights, a charged-up cell phone and a refrigerator to keep food from spoiling. But if someone in your home is dependent on an oxygen machine or other medical device, a standby generator or complete off-grid system would be the better choice. These can be more expensive because they connect directly to your home’s breaker panel and must be professionally installed – but they kick in automatically, leaving no lapse in power.
- How often does my area incur severe weather that knocks out power? If it’s infrequent – not more than three times a year with durations of only a few hours or less – a portable generator can definitely do the job until the grid is functioning again.
What Size Generator Do I Need for my Home?
When you ask yourself this question, you also need to ask one more: what do I need to power with this generator? By adding up the required wattage for all the appliances and devices you want to power, you’ll arrive at a minimum wattage of the generator size for house usage.
How to Calculate the Appropriate Generator Wattage
Talk to an electrician about the required wattage for your hard-wired appliances, like built-in range tops, dishwashers and garbage disposals. Some manuals may also include this information if you still have them or can access those on the manufacturer’s website.
Keep in mind that many motor-driven appliances – like refrigerators, air conditioners and sump pumps – draw more wattage during their start-up cycle than while running, which further complicates this calculation.
Here’s a breakdown of general wattage for some common appliances and what size generator could accommodate their use:
- Refrigerator: 700 watts
- Laptop: 200 watts
- Smartphone charger 20 watts
- Home security system: 100 watts
- Five to 10 lights: 250 watts
- 10K BTU air conditioner: 1,000 watts
- Space heater: 1,500 watts
- Well pump: 1,250 watts
- Sump pump: 900 watts
- Gas or propane furnace: 800 watts
800-watt Portable Pure Sine Inverter Generator – Powers either the refrigerator or a laptop, smartphone charger, home security system and lights for about five hours.
2,000-watt Portable Pure Sine Inverter Generator – Powers a laptop, smartphone charger, home security system, lights, plus one of these: refrigerator, sump pump, furnace or air conditioner for about five hours.
3,200-watt Portable Pure Sine Inverter Generator – Powers a refrigerator, laptop, smartphone charger, home security system, lights, plus one of these: air conditioner, space heater, well pump, sump pump or furnace for about five hours.
6,600-watt Portable Pure Sine Inverter Generator – Powers a refrigerator, laptop, smartphone charger, home security system, lights, well pump, sump pump and either an air conditioner or space heater and furnace for about five hours.
Choosing the right generator size for your home is a complicated process. Don’t hesitate to contact us at The Inverter Store for advice on making the best choice for your power needs.