What Size Generator is Needed to Run a Whole House?

What Size Generator is Needed to Run a Whole House?
John J. Amperage Avatar
Published By John J. Amperage

Question: What Size Generator is Needed to Run a Whole House?

Answer: The size of a generator to run a whole house varies, typically between 5,000 to 20,000 watts, depending on the home’s size and power needs.

What Size Generator is Needed to Run a Whole House? Choosing the Right Size Generator

In an era where reliance on electricity is paramount, the thought of a power outage can be unsettling. This is where a home generator comes in, ensuring that your home remains functional and comfortable during power interruptions. Selecting the right size generator for a whole house is important for efficiency and safety.

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Understanding the Role of a Home Generator

A home generator provides electrical power to your house when the main power source fails. It’s a reliable backup to keep essential appliances and systems running during outages.

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Determining Your Power Needs

Before choosing a generator, it’s essential to determine the power requirements of your home. This involves calculating the total wattage of all the appliances and systems you need to run during a power outage. [ 1 ]

Listing Essential Appliances

Start by making a list of essential appliances and systems you want to keep running. This typically includes the refrigerator, HVAC system, lights, and in some cases, medical equipment.

Calculating Total Wattage

Once you have your list, calculate the total wattage required. Each appliance’s wattage can usually be found on a label or in the user manual. Remember to account for starting wattage, which is higher than running wattage for many appliances.

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Sizing the Generator

With your total power requirement calculated, you can now determine the size of the generator needed. Generators are rated based on the watts they can produce.

Understanding Generator Capacity

Generator capacity is measured in kilowatts (kW). To find the right size, choose a generator that can produce more watts than your total calculated needs.

Additional Considerations

Consider future needs or additional appliances you may acquire. It’s often wise to choose a generator with a slightly higher capacity than your current calculations suggest.

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Types of Home Generators

There are different types of generators available, each suited to different needs and preferences.

Portable vs. Standby Generators

Portable generators are smaller and can be moved around, suitable for powering a limited number of appliances. Standby generators are permanently installed and can power the entire house.

Fuel Options

Generators run on various fuels, including gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas. Each has its pros and cons, depending on availability, cost, and storage.

Installation and Safety Considerations

Proper installation and safety measures are crucial when setting up a home generator.

Professional Installation

For standby generators, professional installation is necessary to ensure it’s correctly integrated into your home’s electrical system.

Safety Protocols

Generators should be operated in well-ventilated areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Regular maintenance is also vital for safety and efficiency.

Cost Implications

The cost of a home generator varies depending on its size and type. It’s an investment that needs careful consideration.

Initial Purchase and Installation Costs

The purchase price and installation costs can be substantial, especially for larger standby generators.

Operational and Maintenance Costs

Consider the ongoing costs of fuel and regular maintenance. These costs can add up over time but are essential for the generator’s longevity and reliability.

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Selecting the right size generator for your whole house is a process that involves understanding your power needs, choosing the appropriate type, and considering installation and safety aspects. While the initial investment might be significant, the peace of mind and convenience during power outages make it a valuable addition to any home. Proper planning and consideration ensure that you select a generator that not only meets your current needs but also accommodates future requirements.


1. https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/38-How-to-Pick-the-Perfect-Whole-House-Generator.html

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