A portable generator can be used to run a few lights and an appliance, like a refrigerator, as long as it doesn’t use a lot of electricity.
A portable generator is not meant to power your central heating or cooling system, other items that draw a substantial amount of power, or circuits in your home.
To power heavy loads and the circuits in your home, you will need a standby generator, which cuts on automatically when the electricity goes out, and turns off when the power comes back on.
Watch this video to find out more.
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Danny Lipford: People often want to know if a portable generator is sufficient to power their homes during a power outage. If you only want to power a few lights, small appliances, and maybe a refrigerator—the answer is yes. But to also energize a central air conditioning system, furnace blower, and most other circuits; you’ll want a standby generator.
Besides usually having more capacity, a standby generator is also wired into your home and will automatically turn itself on when the power goes out. So you don’t have to spend time fueling it, starting it, and running a lot of extension cords. And when the power comes back online, it shuts itself off automatically and switches you back over to the utility like nothing ever happened.