Residential standby generators are increasingly common, providing backup electrical power to HVAC systems, security systems, and household appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, and water heaters.
As you consider the purchase of a back-up generator here are some things to think about:
- Consult with an electrician, and select a model with a slightly higher rated wattage to accommodate your existing needs but also handle anything additional you might add later.
- Ask yourself, “can I get by for a couple days with just the basics…or do I want to use my central air conditioner or heating system?”
- Most household appliances use between 3000 and 6500 watts. If your home has a smaller furnace and city water, you can generally expect that 3000-5000 watts will cover your needs. If you have a larger furnace and/or a well pump, you will likely need a 5000 to 6500 watt generator.
- An automatic standby generator can provide approximately 3,000 hoursof use with typical usage and proper maintenance.
- A stationary model starts automatically when power cuts off, performs its own periodic maintenance checks, and alerts you when it needs to be serviced.
- A transfer switch, which usually comes with a stationary generator, is very beneficial. It protects any utility workers who may be working on the line and is the safest and easiest way to transfer power into your home.
SMALL stationary: 5,000 to 8,500 watts
The basics, plus:
- Portable heater (1,300 watts)
- Computer (250 watts)
- Heating system (500 watts)
- Second pump (600 watts)
- More lights (400 watts)
LARGE stationary: 10,000 to 15,000 watts
The Small, plus:
- Clothes washer (1,200 watts)
- Electric dryer (5,000 watts)