How do You Know What Size You Need?

Standby generators come in different sizes and the size you need depends on the size of the structure you are powering and what you are powering within that structure.

A generator dealer can take a look at what you run in your home and determine the number of watts used by every device you intend to use in the event. If you look at appliance nameplates, you may be able to see how many watts the appliance uses. Sometimes that information can be printed on the back or inside the door. The user manuals will almost always tell you how many watts.

Of course, the more watts you need, the larger the generator. The larger the generator, the higher it is going to cost. So to determine what size generator you need, do the following:

  • Make a list of the appliances that you need to power during an outage. Include every necessity. If you think your sump pump will need to run during an outage, include it. Sine outages occur during storms and storms can flood basements, it could be important.
  • Determine the starting power requirements for appliances containing motors that do not list what kind of starting power they need. Refrigerators, washers, dryers, and air conditioners are perfect examples. You may need to contact the manufacturer of each appliance to determine what their requirements are.
  • Total the requirements for the appliances that don’t have different running and starting loads, such as toasters, lights, and water heaters. Determine the total and then add that total to the total needed by appliances that do have different starting and running loads.

Once you have your total, you will know what size generator you will need. It is possible for you to have one that will allow you to move on with life as if the power isn’t out. If you are on a tighter budget, then you can base the size off of what you need to run and only run those items when the generator kicks on. For instance, you know you need your lights. However, you may not need to operate the washer and dryer during the outage. Creating a list of everything and looking at what you need and what you can do without will help you make this very important decision.

Although power outages always have the potential to be long lived, you may be someone who lives in an area of Minnesota, Wisconsin, or North Dakota who doesn’t experience frequent outages or they are always rectified quickly. If that’s the case, you may only need to run a generator for a few necessities and that’s it.