Expert Electrical

How to Choose the Right Standby Generator

Aug 23, 2022 | Generators

When choosing a standby generator for your home, it is crucial to know the following information:

The Amount of Power You Need

When selecting a generator for your home, understanding your wattage requirements is essential. To determine this, you must assess the wattage of all the appliances and devices you intend to power with the generator.

Below is a list of approximate running wattage ratings for various household appliances and devices:

  • Refrigerator/Freezer: 600 – 800 watts
  • Electric Range (one element): 2500 watts
  • Toaster: 1,100 – 1,700 watts
  • Microwave: 800 – 1,200 watts
  • Coffeemaker: 400 – 800 watts
  • Electric Oven: 5,000 watts
  • Television: 100 – 350 watts
  • Personal Computer: 300 – 2000 watts
  • Hair Dryer: 1200 – 1500 watts
  • Vacuum: 700 – 1400 watts
  • Space Heater: 1,000 – 1,500 watts
  • Table Lamp: 150 watts
  • Electric Furnace: 5,000 – 25,000 watts
  • Heater (radiant): 1,200 – 1,500 watts
  • Central Air Conditioning: 2,000 – 4,000 watts
  • Electric Water Heater: 3,000 – 4,500 watts
  • Water Pump: 1,000 – 2,000 watts
  • Window Air Conditioner: 600 – 1,500 watts
  • Outdoor Lighting: 500 – 1,000 watts
  • Sump Pump: 1200 – 1,800 watts

How to Choose the Right Standby Generator

The Differences Between Starting and Running Wattage

Identifying Essential Appliances

Start by making a list of the essential appliances and devices you’ll need to operate during a power outage. This may include lights, refrigerators, washing machines, device chargers, air conditioning systems, and any other critical equipment.

Calculating Wattage Requirements

Next, find the wattage ratings for each item on your list. Most appliances will have a label indicating their wattage consumption. If you can’t find the wattage on the appliance itself, consult the user manual or check online for specifications.

Once you have the wattage ratings for each appliance, add them together to calculate the total wattage requirement for your generator. This total will give you an idea of the minimum wattage capacity your generator should have to meet your needs.

Considering Startup Wattage

Keep in mind that some appliances may have higher wattage requirements when starting up, known as “startup” or “surge” wattage. For example, refrigerators and air conditioners often require extra power to start their motors. Be sure to account for these higher startup wattages when calculating your generator’s capacity.

Planning for Future Needs

It’s also a good idea to plan for future needs and potential expansions. If you anticipate adding more appliances or devices in the future, or if you want to ensure you have enough power for unexpected situations, consider choosing a generator with a higher wattage capacity than your current calculations suggest.

Exploring Generator Types

Once you have determined your wattage requirements, you can start exploring different types and sizes of generators to find the best fit for your home. Generators come in various capacities, ranging from small portable units to large standby systems.

Portable Vs. Standby Generators

Portable generators are typically more affordable and versatile, allowing you to move them around as needed. However, they may have lower wattage capacities and limited runtime compared to standby generators.

Standby generators are permanently installed outside your home and automatically kick in during a power outage. They often have higher wattage capacities and longer runtimes, making them ideal for larger homes or continuous power needs.

Choosing the Right Generator

Consider factors such as fuel type (gasoline, propane, or diesel), runtime, noise level, and safety features when choosing a generator. Additionally, consult with a qualified electrician to ensure proper installation and compliance with local building codes and regulations.

By carefully assessing your wattage requirements and choosing the right generator for your home, you can ensure reliable backup power during emergencies and peace of mind for you and your family.

Understanding Starting and Running Wattage

Before you can accurately calculate your wattage requirements for a generator, it’s crucial to grasp the distinction between starting wattage and running wattage. Starting wattage, or surge watts, represents the initial electrical surge required to power a device. In simpler terms, it’s the electricity needed to kick-start the device into operation. Typically, the starting wattage for most devices is approximately three times higher than their running wattage.

Running wattage, on the other hand, is often referred to as continuous wattage. This denotes the steady flow of electricity required to sustain the device’s operation once it has been powered on. Once a device has started and is running smoothly, it requires a consistent power supply at a lower wattage level than its starting wattage.

Understanding these distinctions is vital when selecting a generator because it helps you accurately assess the total power requirements of the devices and appliances you intend to power. While starting wattage accounts for the initial surge of power needed to start a device, running wattage accounts for the continuous power consumption while the device is in operation.

How to Choose the Right Standby Generator

Standby Generators: Ensuring Accurate Power Demand Calculation

By determining the starting and running wattage for each device or appliance, you can more precisely calculate your standby generator’s total power demand. This precision ensures that you select a standby generator with enough capacity to meet your electrical appliances’ peak demands during startup and provide continuous power for smooth operation.

Prioritizing Essential Appliances During Power Outages

Understanding the differences between starting and running wattage allows you to prioritize essential appliances and devices during power outages. By allocating enough wattage capacity to critical equipment, you can ensure the uninterrupted operation of vital systems such as refrigerators, medical devices, and heating systems, thereby enhancing safety and convenience during emergencies.

Discover the Power of Reliable Standby Generators with Expert Electric

Experience the reliability of electric standby generators with Expert Electric. Contact us today to explore our generator services and comprehensive electrical solutions. Whether you need backup power for emergencies or assistance with other electrical needs, our team is ready to help. Get started by reaching out through our online contact form, and let us guide you towards dependable electricity.