A generator ensures an uninterrupted power supply in the home during emergencies like blackouts. However, getting the right size generator is vital and requires close attention to detail. Your generator needs to be a manageable size. If it’s too large, you could be facing excessive operational expenses and poor function. On the other hand, a generator that is too small will not produce enough energy to power your domestic needs.
What do you need to choose the right size for your home generator? You will need to determine the size of the generator, calculate your home’s electricity needs, and understand the various types of generators. We’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you make the right choice for your space whether you’re planning for an upcoming storm season, live in an area with regular or rolling blackouts, or simply want the peace of mind that comes with having a backup power source.
1. Measure Your Home Electricity Needs
To accurately measure your home’s electricity needs, start by listing all the electrical appliances and devices in your home. Next, locate each item’s power consumption on its specification sheet or label, usually expressed in watts. If the power consumption is provided in other units, convert it to watts. Some devices list a range of watts, like 300-500W, where you should use the higher number for your calculations.
You’ll now need to determine which appliances and devices you’ll want access to even during a power outage. Keep in mind that you won’t need to run all appliances or devices simultaneously, but some might be operated at the same time. For example, you might want to be able to operate your air conditioner and refrigerator together, but you’ll only need the washing machine periodically.
Once you’ve determined the appliance you’ll need, you can add the estimated wattage together to determine the probable power demands. You’ll have a rough idea of the size of the generator you’ll need. Remember that starting wattage is another factor to consider: This is the extra surge of power that appliances need as they start and is typically higher than the running wattage. Be sure to factor that amount into your equation when determining your overall power needs.
2. Understand the Types of Generators by Size
Generators can be categorized into three types based on size and power output: portable, inverter, and standby generators. Portable generators are generally small and light, therefore portable, providing mobile facilities. Therefore, they make superb choices for camping trips and tailgate parties and are ideal for temporary power at home during an emergency. These normally fall within a power spectrum of 1000 to 10000 watts, but they also may use gasoline, propane, or gas oil as fuel. Nevertheless, portable units have to be installed manually every single time, and some are very noisy during operation.
Portable inverter generators are the latest generation portable generators. Modern technology produces electricity with minimal surges, ensuring the safety of sensitive electronics such as computers and televisions. These generators are highly efficient, low maintenance, and quieter when compared with standard portable ones. They generate 1-4 kilowatts of power for use in small devices and gadgets.
However, other inverter generators create approximately 10,000W, making them suitable for big appliances like refrigerators or washing machines. There are also dual-fuel inverters that make use of both propane and gasoline. This kind of generator is appropriate if you are searching for versatile devices.
The standby generators are the biggest and the strongest type. These are always permanent installations that you connect to your powerhouse. These backup generators will switch on whenever there is no electricity, and you can even use them for the whole of your home and large appliances like ACs and water heaters. As such, these generators are always powered by natural gas and propane, making them easy to maintain. However, standby generators are the most expensive option, requiring a certain amount of expertise to install.
3. Consult With a Professional
Consulting with a professional electrician is crucial in choosing the right generator size for your home. While you can do the preliminary work of identifying your power needs and understanding different generator types, professionals in this field have years of experience and in-depth knowledge to help you make the most suitable choice. They can accurately evaluate your home’s power requirements, considering all the critical factors you may overlook.
Professionals understand the nuances of generator sizing. They know that some appliances require more power to start than to run and can factor this into the calculations. They can also advise on the potential future power requirements if you plan to add more electric devices to your home, helping you choose a generator that will serve your long-term needs.
Furthermore, professionals can guide you on more intricate details such as fuel consumption rate, maintenance timelines, and local regulations around generator installation. They can also assess the installation area, ensuring it is safe and suitable.
Lastly, post-installation, you may need professional support for maintenance and repairs. An established relationship with a professional can ensure that you receive prompt and effective service whenever necessary. For residents of Norman, OK, and the OKC Metro area, Norman Air is your go-to expert for generator installation and maintenance services.
4. Factor in Your Budget and Future Needs
When determining the generator size you need, your budget and future needs play a significant role. Your initial investment in a generator isn’t just about purchasing the unit; there are operating costs to consider as well. Generators consume fuel, require routine maintenance, and may need occasional repairs. Larger generators consume more fuel and potentially require more maintenance, increasing your total cost of ownership.
A generator should also be a long-term investment: Your future needs are equally important to consider. To be on the safe side, if you intend to buy additional appliances that will consume electricity, ensure your generator will supply enough power. For example, if you intend to install a central air conditioning system or a second fridge, they will significantly boost your electrical consumption. Similarly, if you anticipate a lifestyle change, such as working from home more often, which might necessitate running computers and other electronics, this could require a larger generator.
Finally, location and climate can also affect the generator size. If you live in an area with harsh winters, you might need to power heaters requiring a larger generator. Conversely, living in a hot climate could necessitate running air conditioners during a power outage, also requiring more generator capacity.
Buying a power generator for your house is a serious decision. By learning about the various types of generators according to sizes and seeking professional advice, one will know what suits their purpose. Consider your budget, growth potential, and where your home is located when you make this choice. This way, you will be prepared with this alternative source of power during blackouts or emergencies. So, do not wait until an emergency occurs; investigate and consult now to get the best home generator set.
At Norman Air, we are your one-stop destination for cooling, heating, plumbing, or electrical services. Our qualified team deals with installation, maintenance, and repairs in our servicing areas. Reach out to us today for quality services.