What Size Generator Do I Need: How To Calculate The Right Size

What Generator Is Right For My Home?

Choosing the right size generator for your home is crucial to ensure you have enough power during an outage — without overspending on unnecessary capacity. Some homeowners spend money on bulky generators they don’t need, while others settle for generators too small to power more than a few rooms.

This can spell disaster when you’re left to the mercy of the San Antonio weather.

The good news is that if you’re asking “What size generator do I need?” then a simple calculation can help you find the answer. Wright AC Services has put together this quick guide to assist you in finding the perfect generator size for your home.

Understanding Generator Size

The generator size you need is determined by the total wattage of the devices you need to power during an outage. This means you must consider both the starting wattage and running wattage. The starting wattage is the initial surge required to start the appliance, and the running wattage is the continuous power needed to keep the appliance running.

As you consider your generator options, you will find that size isn’t the only factor for you to consider. You will need to put thought into your available space for a generator as well as the fuel source. Generators can have various types of fuel sources, such as natural gas, propane or diesel.

Calculating Your Wattage Needs

To better understand what size generator you will need, you should review your appliances and devices that will have to be powered. It pays to be thorough, as some devices may be easy to forget while still contributing significant wattage.

1. List Your Essentials

Start by listing all the essential appliances and devices you want to run during a power outage. Common essentials include refrigerators, freezers, sump pumps and lighting.

2. Find The Wattage

Check the manufacturer’s plate on each appliance for its wattage. If only amps and volts are listed, you can multiply them together to get the wattage (Amps x Volts = Watts).

3. Add Starting Wattage

Some appliances — like air conditioners and refrigerators — require a higher wattage to start up. This starting wattage can be significantly higher than the running wattage. Ensure to account for the highest starting wattage in your calculations.

4. Calculate Total Wattage

Add up the running wattage of all your essentials. Then, add the highest starting wattage to the total running wattage to determine the minimum generator size you need.

How Big Of A Generator Do I Need?

Once you have calculated your total wattage needs, you can determine the generator size. Generators are typically rated by kilowatts (kW), and it’s advisable to choose a generator with a capacity that’s slightly higher than your calculated needs.

This not only ensures that you have enough power but also accounts for any miscalculations and future additions to your list of essentials.

If your required power is rather minimal (less than 10 kW) — such as if you only want to provide for a few rooms — you may be fine with a portable generator. Smaller, versatile and less expensive up-front, portable generators are useful for low power needs, but they are far from being the most fuel-efficient.

Any higher power needs — especially if you plan to power your entire home — tend to call for a standby generator, also called a whole-home generator. While less versatile than portable alternatives, standby generators provide much more power, have greater fuel efficiency and will even start by themselves when the power goes out.

A whole-home generator is a good idea for someone who wants the most convenient solution during power outages.

Your Backup Generator Contractors In San Antonio

A properly sized generator provides your home with reliability and efficiency, even during the worst power outages Texas throws at us. To make sure your generator does its job, you’ll need expert installation and maintenance services.

Wright AC Services is available right here in San Antonio to help with your new generator, along with a host of HVAC services. There’s no need to wait — call us today!

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