The cold weather is here, and with it you can expect snow, ice, and the occasional power outage. Are you prepared for the lights to go out? If it’s time to consider purchasing a generator, it’s important to select the right type and size for your home. But with so many generators out there, how do you go about choosing a generator size?
Assess Watt You Need
It all depends on what you need the generator for. If you just need the essentials, like keeping your refrigerator and lights on, you will not need a generator built to run air conditioners and appliances for several days straight.
When considering your generator needs, start by making a list of everything you will want to power during an outage and its wattage. Examples include a refrigerator (about 600 watts), computer (250 watts), television (200 watts), or washer (350-500 watts) and dryer (1800-5000 watts). Remember that some appliances, such as your refrigerator, require more wattage during certain times in their cycles. You should also take your heating system into account. Gas and electric systems will use different wattages, so take the time to consider your unique needs. If you’re having trouble assessing your energy needs, consult an electrician.
Choosing a Generator Size
Once you know what you’ll need to power, you’ll have a better idea of how much energy your generator will need to provide. Different sized generators offer different wattages, and standby generators can power more than portable generators, so be sure to select a generator that is capable of handling your power needs. A small portable generator can support 3,000 to 4,000 watts, while a large standby generator can support 10,000 to 15,000 watts. Carefully consider whether you may need the generator to power more in the future. You may feel that a small generator can power everything you need now, but somewhere down the line you may need more power (and a new generator).
The most important thing when thinking about buying a generator? Don’t wait until you need one. When the power goes out, you want to stay in your home and enjoy your generator, not run to the store to purchase one. In an emergency situation, options will be extremely limited, and you will not have the luxury of selecting the right generator for your home. Prepare now: assess your energy needs, select a generator, and have it installed before there is a problem.