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What Size Standby Generator Do I Need?

If your home’s power goes out during a storm or disaster, then you won’t be able to run certain appliances like lights or computers. With a generator system, you can protect your home from electrical outages by providing a backup energy source after an automatic transfer switch. Unfortunately, there is no perfect generator size, as the right one will vary from person to person.

The difference in a generator system’s size influences its utility power: the larger the generator, the more backup power it can provide to a home. However, buying the largest size available may be unnecessary, as it could provide more energy than your home needs. Conversely, if the generator size is too small, it won’t provide enough wattage for your home to function during a power outage. Here are some factors to consider to help determine what size home standby generator is best for your home.

Make a List of All the Electronic Appliances in Your Home

The first step you must take when determining the right size for your home standby generator is to make a list of all the essential electronic circuits in your household. Ask yourself this question: “If the power goes out during a storm, what electronic appliances do I still need to use or continue operating?” Examples of appliances you should add to your list include:

  1. Computers

  2. Freezers

  3. Light fixtures

  4. Microwaves

  5. Ovens

  6. Refrigerators

  7. Televisions

Additionally, home standby generators can cover specific HVAC units, though their wattage can be relatively high.

  1. Water heater

  2. Water pump

  3. Heater

  4. Electric furnace

  5. Outdoor lighting

  6. Air conditioning units if you need your air-cooled during an outage

Tally Up The Wattage

After making your list of household appliances, it’s time to add up their total wattage. You may need to make concessions and drop certain luxuries if you have to buy a standby generator that can handle less. Once your final list is complete and the wattage your home needs is determined, you need to convert it into kilowatts. Generators on the market are sold in terms of kilowatts instead of watts, so knowing how many kilowatts you’ll need can help you settle on the generator size that’s right for you.

Determine the Right Fuel Type

Now that you know how many kilowatts all your appliances need, you’re ready to buy a generator. However, even generators that supply the same amount of kilowatts can differ based on what fuel source they use. Generators can be powered by gas or propane, so here are some of the differences between the two types of power equipment:

Natural Gas Generator Advantages

If a generator runs on natural gas, then it must be filled up multiple times a day. In exchange, gasoline fuel is more efficient than propane generators and also more readily available.

Propane Tank Generator Advantages

Propane tanks can operate for multiple days at a time and come in a variety of sizes. However, they are more complicated to mend in emergencies, and they’re prone to freezing in low temperatures. Additionally, propane tanks burn cleaner than gas for both the environment and for your generator.

For more information about finding a standby generator in NH that’s right for you or standby generator maintenance tips, contact us today.

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