Selecting the Right Size Standby Generator for Your Home

It’s a common misconception that the size of a home standby generator is dictated solely by the size of the home it will be protecting. The larger the home, the larger the generator, right? Not so. Instead, it’s important to get one sized appropriately for the appliances you want to backup. As you research your Generac generator purchase, there are a few things you can do to determine how much backup power you really need, regardless of how big or small your home is.

One approach is to identify the power consumption of all of the lights and appliances you want to backup. This could be only critical items, like your furnace and sump pump; a few rooms, such as your living room and kitchen; or your whole house. In any case, write down how many watts each appliance uses as you conduct your survey. This information is usually found affixed to the appliance in a discreet location. If you cannot find this data on the appliance itself, consult the owner’s manual.

Appliances with motors—like your furnace, air conditioner, and refrigerator—require a momentary boost of power to start those motors. This boost is called “surge watts.” To account for it, multiply the appliance’s rated running watts by 1.5, and write that number down instead.
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When you’re finished, add it all up. That total is how much power you will require (at most) in an emergency, and will guide you in selecting an appropriately sized Generac home standby generator.

For a more detailed, high-tech course of action, consider purchasing a home energy monitor. There are several to choose from depending upon your budget. They’re easily installed, and will give you a real-time view into your power consumption. Use one for at least 30 days to see how much power you consume every day on average.

Many energy monitors allow you to examine individual loads. This can give you insight into how your high-demand appliances affect your overall energy consumption. This is especially useful when considering a Nexus Smart Switch™ with built in load management as part of your Generac home standby solution. By analyzing your common loads and your high-demand loads separately, you will be able to size your Generac generator to effectively manage both of them.

Be sure to account for loads that you only use seasonally. For example, if you use the energy monitor in the winter, make sure to account separately for the power consumption of your air conditioner, or other appliances you only use during the summer.

With continued use, a power monitor will also help you find ways to adjust your energy consumption so you can save money on your utility bills.

Finally, schedule an appointment with a Generac authorized dealer. They are specially trained to determine the right size generator for your home. A Generac dealer can validate your findings and work with you to select the Generac home standby generator that will keep your life going when the power goes out.


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