When trying to determine what type of generator you will need to power your entire home in the case of a residential power outage, there are three things you need to take into account. The first is the running watts of power all your appliances and devices will use. If you are looking at installing a system where you don’t need to give a second thought to how you use your power when running on a generator, then you are going to want to calculate everything running at once in a typical situation.
The second factor is called PEAK POWER and this is the wattage needed to start an appliance. For example, microwaves and AC systems are huge users of power when they start up – often drawing nearly double the electrical juice they need to run after they are going.
The third consideration is Surge Power – this is the total power in a home is suddenly required all at once – which can blow the breaker on even a high powered generator. For example, let’s say you have an electric hot water tank which comes on when the water temperature drops while the microwave is running along with the oven cooking dinner. This spike in power needs can blow a breaker that under normal circumstances could handle the power going through it.
When planning your power needs – make a list of the appliances and devices that require power in every room of your house including your garage and basement – as well as any lights or appliances outside of your home such as porch lights or landscaping lights. Calculate all the potential power needs in Watts first. Then sit down and calculate what you typically who be running at any given time for power including any major appliances such as central air conditioning units. With this figure in mind times that by 1.5 and you will have a basic idea of your power needs.