When choosing a home generator for emergencies, there are lots of variables to consider: location, price, maintenance, fuel, and more. But the first question to answer is what size generator you need.
That question itself can be confusing because the size of a generator really means its power, the wattage it puts out. To determine the right size generator for your home and family, you’ll need to decide what you expect from your generator and how much you want it to do for you while your electricity is out.
Home generators come in various sizes, ranging from smaller models that put out 2000 watts of power to large generators that give out 15,000 watts or more. There’s something along the spectrum to fit every need and budget.
A 2000-watt generator can power a refrigerator, and a few lights, and keep your electronics charged. If you’re mostly worried about food spoilage or your area isn’t prone to extended power outages, this size generator may be right for you. However, this isn’t enough power to run more than a fan, so if you’re concerned about heating or cooling, you’ll need to look further.
At 3500 watts, you’ll be able to run a window air conditioner or a small space heater in addition to keeping your food safe and your lights on. If your home has well water, this size generator can run your good pump, too, so you don’t lose water just because the power went out. It can also run a sump pump in the event of flooding.
Another step up gets you 7500 watts, which can power a small central air unit or furnace on top of your major kitchen appliances, while still offering plenty of electricity to keep all your devices charged. This is a good choice for small homes or those in areas where power outages can last for a few days.
The 10,000-15,000 watt range of generators can handle heating or cooling larger homes, major appliances, plus more of the small appliances we rely on every day. If your area tends to have extended power outages (up to a week), a generator of this size will help you make it through in comfort.