How Do You Size A Standby Generator For Your Home?

If you live in a region of the country that is susceptible to an intermittent loss of power due to extreme weather and your residence is far removed from urban centers, leading to extended outages, you might consider buying a generator or interlock kit for your home.

Let’s face it, being without power for any length of time can make life difficult but you don’t need to suffer without electricity or heating and cooling if you have a backup power source at the ready. The trouble is, you’re not sure what type of standby generator you need. What are the criteria for making that precise determination?

We’re here to help with this trusty guide for sizing the proper standby generator for your home. Do a little homework before you buy and you’ll be fully prepared the next time there’s a power interruption in your area.

Taking Inventory

The inventory in this case is your power load for all of the essentials that must keep running after the power has gone out. So what is it you need at all times? The lights are first on your list but how many of them are necessary and in which rooms?

How about the refrigerator? You don’t want all of your food to go bad and if the weather is particularly awful outside you will need to be protective of your available supplies.

You may also want to ensure that your phones and tablets have a continuous power source so they may be recharged in the event you need to communicate with the outside world.

Of course, you also want to have a way to keep the indoor temperature comfortable so that means having a portable fan or air conditioner unit or heating apparatus of some kind.

All of these are important and you should include them in your power inventory. When you’ve compiled your list, calculate how much of a power load this will require. You will have to consider each device and appliance by its running wattage and startup wattage.

The second of those is typically three to five times larger than the first, so as you are adding everything up, be sure to account for this exponential difference, That way you can be sure it will all start up correctly and run smoothly. After you’ve done your calculations, you can then decide on the capacity of your standby generator to handle the amount of output needed.

Residence Location

One last thing to remember is where you live. The capacity of your generator will also need to be determined by how long you may expect to be without power at any given time. Are you in an urban setting or do you live deep in the suburbs? The fact is, power companies will typically start to restore power in those areas with higher populations of customers.

If you are in a farmhouse that’s a good ten to fifteen miles outside of town and your closest neighbor is another four miles beyond, you could be living in the dark longer. So shop for generators with that in mind too.

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