An effective way to determine the size of a home generator is by running it using a test load. Before running the generator, however, there are certain things you must do. First, inspect your home’s wiring system for any signs of problems or wear and tear.
The wires that deliver current from your house to local power lines are typically located in underground conduits which are fed with plastic or clay piping. Wires have been known to break down due to moisture damage over time, so it’s highly preferable to replace any damaged cables before they malfunction when you’re attempting to run your generator.
If some of your wires show signs of corrosion at their connections, simply re-secure them tighter using long nose pliers after cutting off the corroded section of the wire.
Make sure that any circuit breakers are set to “on.” Also, confirm with your power company that there are no scheduled outages for the area in which you live before doing anything else. Any unexpected trips made by circuit breakers or blown fuses during test runs mean you’ll have to turn off the generator immediately and call an electrician for repairs.
Generators typically refer to wattage when it comes to sizing up their output, which is why it’s best if you can know how much wattage each of your appliances uses before running them through the generator on a test load.
Appliances like televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators, and other similar items draw high amounts of watts (about 1,500 for a refrigerator and as much as 5,000+ for a television or computer) which means they’ll drain your generator’s fuel supply quickly if you’re not careful.
To prevent this from happening, plug each appliance into the generator one at a time and increase the load on the device until it shuts off. This specific step requires a little bit of trial and error because every single generator is going to behave differently depending on its model/manufacturer.
The more appliances you run simultaneously with your home generator, the higher the risk will be that some of them won’t turn back on when you try to start things up again. To avoid any electrical fires caused by overloaded circuits due to running too many items through your home’s wiring system, it’s a good idea to run your generator with nothing plugged into its outlets at one time.
The key to sizing up the perfect sized home generator is knowing how much power you need and how many places within your house or home this power needs to reach. After running your test load and finding out exactly what appliances you’ll be powering, compare their wattage requirements with how many watts your generator can offer.
If you don’t have enough wattage for the number of appliances you’d like to plug in, consider buying a separate backup generator (typically smaller than 7-8 kilowatts) along with a second one (about 10-12 kilowatts) which will power the most crucial items case of an emergency.
The Minimum Generator Size
This backup generator will act as the “main” generator, requiring very little fuel to run. The second backup generator can be used for supplementary power or to replace the main generator altogether when it runs out of fuel supply (depending on its size).
One way of determining how much wattage your home needs is by simply adding up all of the individual requirements for each appliance that you’d like to power during an emergency situation.
For example, if your television requires 1500 watts and your refrigerator uses 1,200 watts then you’ll need at least 2,300 watts of output for this specific set-up. Most generators offer anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000+ watts which means this option would cover appliances like televisions and refrigerators
Now that you know how much wattage your generator must produce to accommodate your appliances, it’s time to measure the overall distance in feet or meters between the device and every place in your home that needs emergency power.
This will help you understand exactly where extension cords must be placed in order for all of your appliances to receive power at once.
For short distances (about 15-20 feet), you can simply run heavy-duty extension cords through windows or doors for an easy connection.
Extension cord reels are extremely helpful when dealing with long distances because they keep everything organized and secured within a designated container which is easily placed wherever extra length might be needed most.
Of course, this step is only necessary if your house needs to provide power to more than one area (i.e. living room, kitchen, den, bedroom). If your generator only needs to provide power to one specific place then extension cords are typically unnecessary and you can skip this step entirely.
The last thing you’ll need in order for your appliances to run properly during an emergency is a way to deliver fuel (generator gas) directly to the generator itself without having someone continuously refill it with extra containers of gasoline or diesel fuel.
Setting up a connection between the generator and its source of fuel will make things much easier when it comes time for refueling because you won’t have to do anything but wait for the generator’s tank to empty before filling it again.
T into an outdoor gas supply line used for a separate gas-powered device such as a lawnmower or hot water heater. This allows the generator to run at completely full capacity without ever having to be refilled with additional fuel which can cause problems if it’s not available, so you should never drain your generator dry before refueling it.
For generators smaller than 5 kilowatts, an automatic transfer switch wired into an outdoor electrical circuit box offers incredibly easy and safe power delivery. Larger generators require several manual switches in order to properly control where electricity is sent throughout your home while still allowing more control over specific appliances connected to the system.
The last thing anyone wants when dealing with emergency situations is unnecessary stress caused by minor details such as how much fuel or wattage their generator can produce without going over their budget, so it’s best to ensure that your generator is powerful enough to run every piece of the necessary equipment in your home before purchasing one.
With a little extra effort and plenty of patience, you’ll find the perfect generator for powering everything within reach during any emergency situation. Pick power capacity according to how many appliances you want to use at once during an emergency.
Measure distance between outlets and appliances with a tape measure or ruler before buying extension cords if needed. Hook up a fuel source directly from a gas supply line used by an outdoor gas-powered device such as a lawnmower if desired.
Ensure all switches are properly set up in order to control where electricity is sent throughout your home before using. Be mindful of how much fuel (generator gas) is left in the generator’s tank when it runs out.
The minimum generator size will help you accomplish specific tasks with ease, so make sure to measure everything with a tape measure or ruler if needed and hook up a fuel source directly from a separate outdoor gas-powered device such as a lawnmower while being mindful of how much fuel is left in the generator’s tank when it runs out.