If you’re in the market for a generator, you may be overwhelmed by all the choices available to you. You’ll be faced with a lot of numbers that may be confusing. Choosing the right generator for your home and your needs depends on a number of factors, including the size of your home, how many devices you need to power, whether your area is prone to extended power outages, and if those outages occur during extremes of temperature. Thinking carefully through these variables will help you find the right size generator for your family and your budget.
If you only need to keep some lights on, charge your phone or tablet, and avoid food spoilage for a few days, a small generator that gives you 2000 watts of power could be a good choice. However, this size generator isn’t powerful enough for heating or cooling.
For homes on well water or those that are prone to flooding, stepping up to a 3500 watt generator will make sure your well pump keeps running or your sump pump can minimize any water damage. This size generator will also run your refrigerator and freezer as well as lighting but it won’t handle more than a small space heater or a window unit for comfort.
If you’re looking for comfort in all seasons, you’ll want to start looking at generators that produce at least 7500 watts. At this size, you should be able to keep a small central air unit or furnace running as well as lights, refrigerator, and plenty of juice to charge your devices.
In the 10,000-15,000 watt range, you’ll be able to run all of your home’s essentials including a larger air conditioning unit and a water heater. The higher you go in this size range, the more small appliances you can power as well, ensuring your microwave and coffee maker will keep you functioning until your power is restored. This range is a good idea if your area is prone to power outages that last for up to a week.
The largest home standby generators range from 16,000-22,000 watts. With a generator of this size, a power outage is hardly more than a speedbump. But you’ll want to turn out lights and avoid running too many devices at once – these generators are powerful, but not unlimited.