What Size Generator Do I Need For My House?

What size generator do i need

Tired of the constant power outages and now looking for a generator for home? We know the feeling. Being stuck without power not only creates inconveniences but also expenses like spoiled food or flooded basements.

You might ask, can a generator power a whole house? We’d answer that it all comes down to the size of generator you’ll choose. That’s why it’s vital to choose the correct size based on your intended use. In this guide, we aim to provide a generator sizing chart to help you make the best choice for your needs. Let’s dive in!

How Big of a Generator Do I Need?

Generators for home are not measured by physical dimensions but by watts (W) or kilowatts (kW), which are electricity measures. Picking a generator that’s too small and overloading it will only cause it to overheat and fry your expensive appliances. On the other hand, picking a generator that’s too big will only cost you more for both the unit and the operation without making up for your investment. 

The golden rule for finding the perfect generator size for home is figuring out the starting and running wattage of the different appliances you want to power. Then, you need to find a generator that can support the combined wattage of everything that needs electricity in your home. Simple right? 

3 Steps to Calculate a Generator Size

To calculate the generator size suitable for your needs, you’ll need to focus on 3 things:

1. List your appliances

Create a list of all the critical appliances you want to power in case of an emergency power outage. It might be a refrigerator, lighting, AC, laptop, TV, etc. This will give you a good image of your essential energy needs.

2. Figure out the starting and running wattage

Now pick every item on that list and check the appliances’ labels to determine their starting and running wattage. Starting wattage is usually 2-3 times higher than the running wattage, which refers to how many watts an appliance needs to operate constantly. For example, an air conditioner needs a starting wattage of 2,200. After that, it only needs around 1,500 watts to run.

3. Choose a generator size slightly larger than your needs

So, what size generator do I need? We highly suggest purchasing a generator for home that always leaves room for some extra wattage. That’s because you’ll never have to overload it and endure sudden shuts off or the disturbance from the generator’s noise. Plus, by not running the generator at its full load, you’ll also be increasing its lifespan.

What Size Generator Do I Need to Power the Whole House?

As you can tell, generators can cost a few hundred bucks or thousands of dollars. So making the right decision for your desired size can be tricky. For example, suppose you want to power just the essential appliances in your house. In that case, you’ll probably need at least a 25kW generator for a washing machine, electric water heater, clothes dryer, refrigerator, and AC. 

However, if you want to power the whole house, you’ll probably need at least a 35kW whole-home generator. With the typical American house enduring an average of 8 hours per year without power due to unplanned outages, having a backup generator is now a must. In those cases, you might resort to standby generators that directly connect to your home’s circuit breaker panel, allowing you to control hardwired appliances.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to spend thousands to purchase a stationary unit that you’ll have to install, you can always opt for a portable generator that can be easily pulled out of the garage and be instantly hooked up to power your appliances during occasional outages. 

Buying the Right Generator Size

Generator for home
What size generator should I buy?

To sum things up, when it comes to picking the right generator size, first determine the usage it’s intended for and then the starting and running wattage your appliances require. Always opt for generators for home that leave space for extra wattage to avoid taking risks of overloading them. 

Ready to find the right generator for your needs? Explore our extensive list of generators at  Just Portable Generators and never run out of power again. Need a professional’s help to find the generator size that suits your project? Contact us today!