How Much Electrical Capacity do you need from Your Generator?

Most homeowners will choose a generator based on what they can afford and there is good reason for this. The initial cost is high with an essential-circuit system starting at around a few thousand dollars. That’s not including the cost of installation.

This shouldn’t be a deterrent, however, because generator owners have found that the investment is well worth it. They aren’t as inconvenienced during power outages, they save money on spoiled food, and they are able to keep their environment safe and healthy.

So what do you choose? A 7kW unit that is fully loaded can consume around 140 cubic feet of natural gas every hour, which averages just over $2 per hour. That’s not bad. If you invest in a 22kW unit, then the cost for fuel is going to be doubled.

So there is something to consider when determining capacity.

So when determining the size of the unit, here are some things to consider:

  • Two lighting circuits consumes 200 W, four consumes 400 W, and 10 consumes 1000 W.
  • Your sump pump uses 1000 W.
  • Your refrigerator uses 120 W.
  • An electric oven uses 2000 W.
  • A washing machine uses 1200 W
  • A clothes dryer uses 6750 W.
  • A 4-ton central air conditioning unit uses 8500 W.
  • A Microwave oven uses 1000 W

These are just some of the items in your home that you may need to power, but puts into perspective how much electricity you may use during a power outage. This is going to give you and your generator contractor an idea of need so you can be outfitted with the appropriate size. For instance, if you are going to use a washing machine, clothes dryer, and a Jacuzzi bathtub, you are going to need a rather large generator, such as a 48 kW generator.