A 100-watt light bulb, a 200-watt slow cooker, a 1,200-watt refrigerator with a starter wattage of 2,900 watts, and a 750-watt television would all require 3,950 watts. Use the table below to determine which generator is best for you. Please read the extensive safety advice that accompany the chart.
There are two types of generators: split-phase and single-phase. A split-phase generator has three leads, one for positive power, one for negative power, and one for ground. A single-phase generator has only two leads, one for positive power and one for negative power.
The amount of power a generator can produce depends on how many times it rotates per minute (revolutions per minute or RPM). Most have maximum speeds of 5,000 RPM. For example, a generator designed to produce 1,500 watts will run at its maximum speed of 5,000 RPM for approximately two minutes before stopping. If it runs longer than two minutes, it will be damaged. Generators lose output as they break down, so it is important to have a back-up unit available for use when needed.
It is useful to know how much power your appliances consume in order to select the right size generator.
A generator rated at 5,000 to 7,500 watts can power the most vital household appliances. A well pump, refrigerator and freezer, and lighting circuits are examples of these. All of these appliances may be powered at the same time by a generator with roughly 7,500 operating watts. Most generators sold in retail stores are rated at 10,000 watts or less, so they would not be able to power all of these appliances simultaneously. For example, if you were to connect seven 100-watt light bulbs in series there would be no way for the generator to keep up. Generators come in many sizes and ratings; how ever, most households will want to use generators that are at least as large as their main circuit breaker panel. This means that a 5,000-watt generator would be appropriate for a home with an equivalent circuit rating of between 150,000 and 200,000 watts.
The amount of power your household uses is determined by how much electricity you actually consume instead of how much energy you produce. Some people are very efficient users of electricity while others waste it without even knowing it. The average household is inefficient because they use more than one type of appliance at a time and they forget to turn off lights when not in use. If your household uses more than 20 amperes then you will need a generator capable of producing enough power for its length. Larger generators are usually more expensive but they will last longer.
The majority of portable generators for households vary in power from 4,000 to 12,000 watts. Their size and cost are determined by the number of electrical devices that will be used at the same time. These gadgets require a total of 4,700 watts to operate, yet a 4,700-watt generator is insufficient. To supply enough power for several hours, a 15-kilowatt generator is needed.
Your household's wiring system can handle up to 100 amps, so any circuit must be separated from other circuits by a main breaker or fuse. This prevents any one circuit from being open when another one is using very much electricity. Portable generators produce up to 400 volts, which is dangerous if not properly treated. You should also keep away from flammable materials while working with a generator.
Generators come in two types: gas and diesel. Both have advantages and disadvantages. A gas generator uses gasoline or natural gas as its fuel source. They are less expensive than diesel generators, but they emit pollutants into the air that need to be removed before releasing them into the environment. Diesel generators use oil as their fuel source and therefore don't emit pollutants into the air. They are more expensive than gas generators but less expensive than nuclear generators. Nuclear generators use radioactive material as its energy source and therefore aren't suitable for domestic applications.
Electricity needs to be supplied to a portable generator in order for it to work. This is where your house's wiring system comes into play.
Choosing a Generator: What Size Do You Need?
|Appliance or Tool||Running Wattage*||Startup Wattage*|
|Air Source Heat Pump (3 ton)||5400||7200|
|Ground Source Heat Pump (3 ton)||3000||5000|
|Central Air Conditioner (3 ton)||5400||7200|
All you need to check for when purchasing a portable generator is that its wattage rating surpasses that of your television. You're okay to go as long as the TV set's stated value is less than the generator's operating watts. Is the television part of the electricity load? If so, make sure the generator has enough capacity to handle it.
Portable generators are available with different power levels. The most common ones have power ratings between 50 and 100 watts. This should be more than sufficient to operate most televisions. Higher-capacity units are also available if you want to run several appliances at once. Be sure to check the specifications before you buy to make sure it will meet your needs.
These generators are very useful tools that can help you deal with power outages. During these times, it is best not to use important equipment like radios or computers that require constant power to work properly. Instead, save these items for when power is restored so they can be used when it matters most.
If you own a business, it is important to have back up power available at all times for essential equipment. A portable generator is an easy way to keep your company running while you wait for main power to be restored after an outage.
Generators are also useful for homeowners who want to have some type of entertainment during stormy weather.
In general, a 22-kW standby generator is appropriate for a home of 2,500 square feet or less, especially if the home has gas-powered heat and hot water and a gas range, all of which consume very little energy. A 7-9 kW generator will cover most other homes without difficulty. A 10-12 kW generator will be sufficient to power most larger homes.
The amount of electricity your home uses at any given time can be calculated by calling your local utility company and asking them how much electricity you use per month. They will be able to give you an accurate estimate based on your location and the type of house you have. For example, if you live in an area that experiences many power outages, such as some parts of Florida or Massachusetts, then you should buy a generator capable of supplying enough electricity for several days straight when the main power source loses connection. Other factors such as the number of people that occupy your home, how old your home is, and how much insulation it has are also important considerations when choosing a standby generator.
Once you know how much electricity you use, it's easy to find the right size generator. The amount of electricity your home uses at any given moment can vary greatly, so even though you might think you need a small generator, it could actually be putting more strain on the power grid than a large one.