According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the typical American home loses power once or twice a year for about 3 hours on average. But power outages, caused by extreme weather or natural disasters, can last for days or even weeks. In order to keep your home safe from any damage, purchasing the right generator is the key. It can serve as your line of defense to protect your appliances and over-all home systems. But the tricky question is- what size of emergency generator do I need for my home? Knowing which fits best to your needs can be a daunting task. To figure this one out, keep reading.
Not having electricity can cause a major headache and several inconveniences. This can also mean spending more money on fixes and upgrades. Spoiled food, frozen pipes, flooded basements, and moldy walls are some of the effects of long-term power outages.
Emergency Generator Sizes
There are many available generator sizes and models in the market today. We have listed below the top five generators mostly used for power outages.
- Recreational Inverter (up to 2,000 watts capacity) The recreational inverter is the lightest type of generator. It has enough power for a fridge, some lights, and a phone charger. It’s also extremely quiet, which is great for small households. No installation costs are required to set it up. The recreational inverter is easy to store and portable.
- Midsize Inverter (up to 3,500 watts capacity) Midsize inverters are also lightweight. Most models weigh less than 150 pounds. It’s also very quiet to have around the house. Midsize inverters are very efficient—they can keep the fridge running and the lights on for approximately 8 to 18 hours using only 2 to 3 gallons of gas.
- Portable (up to 7,500 watts capacity) Portables are the best in terms of value and wattage capacity. Specific models can produce enough energy to power all appliances and devices in your home. It can also be connected to your breaker panel to run hardwired equipment like a pump.
- Large Inverter (up to 7,500 watts capacity) Large inverters are fuel-efficient and mostly produce enough energy to run a refrigerator, turn on your lights, and other household essentials such as a furnace or a small air-conditioning unit. You can connect it to your breaker panel to run hardwired equipment, such as a pump. You also won’t need to deal with unnecessary noises with this inverter. It can also produce steady power for other sensitive electronics.
- Home Standby (up to 20,000 watts capacity) Home standby is a permanently installed inverter, and start on automatically during a power outage to provide continuous current. They can give power to everything in your home. You have the option to set it up to run indefinitely on natural gas or by propane.
Before deciding on what size of emergency generator you need for your home, try to asses first the power-outage scenario you usually experience.
- Frequent Power Outages
For households with frequent and prolonged power outages, you can consider using a home standby inverter, a large inverter, or a portable one. These three generators have enough capacity to power your entire household. They can be connected directly to your circuit breaker panel, to control and run hardwired appliances, like your central heat and air conditioning, as well as your well pumps, sump pumps, electric ranges, and water heaters.
- Occasional Outages
If you occasionally experience power interruptions, it won’t be necessary to invest in high-capacity inverters. You can opt to have a large inverter or a portable inverter instead.
- Rarely Lose Power
If you rarely experience power interruptions, but would still want to prepare for the worst, having a midsize or a recreational inverter would be ideal for you. Midsized inverters have enough power to run a fridge and a window A/C or space heater. Recreational models, on the other hand, are compact enough to bring with to power a TV and cooktop at a tailgate.
Another way to answer the question of what size of emergency generator you need is to add up the wattage of everything you want running during an outage. You may need to ask help from your local electrician to take into account the required wattage of all your hardwired appliances.
Power outages are both inconvenient and inevitable. However, there are ways to overcome power loss, especially during natural disasters. Choose a generator that’s big enough to power your household. Generators are basically your personal electrical power source. Within seconds of an outage, a standby generator will automatically start to power your home. The right generator size for your house will be an essential investment to keep your home and family safe and comfortable even during power outages. Know more about batteries!