What Size Generator Do I Need for My Home?


Power outages can happen without warning and having a whole home generator can give you peace of mind in these chaotic moments. The main question to ask yourself isn’t whether you need a whole home generator; but rather, “how many watts generator do I need for my home?”

Why Is Proper Generator Sizing Important?

The size of your generator is important to make sure it can provide adequate power during emergencies. A properly sized generator will prevent:

  • Capacity overload. If your generator is too small, you won’t be able to use all the appliances and devices you want to with generator power. Capacity overload can lead to shortened system life in newer models and even fire risk in older generators.

  • Unit failure. Lastly, by overworking the generator, you could overwhelm it to the point where your unit shuts down entirely.

Beyond just avoiding negatives, the positives of a properly sized home generator include:

  • Ensuring maximum system life. With a generator that provides a little more power than your home requires, you will avoid problems like capacity overload and unit failure while also getting maximum system life out of your unit.

Related Topic: The ABCs of Safe Generator Operation

How To Determine Generator Size for a Home

Figuring out the size of the generator you’ll need for your home to operate fully on backup is simple. These three steps will walk you through how to determine the optimal generator size for your home.

  1. Identify the most important devices to power. Portable home generators are not intended to keep a home fully powered for the long-term, but a whole home generator is designed to run for extended periods safely, when sized correctly. Even with a backup generator you’ll need to identify a list of a few appliances and devices that you deem the most important. That list should include things like your refrigerator, heating and cooling system (depending on the seasonality of the power outage), and light fixtures. Once you’ve identified everything that needs to be powered, you can calculate the amount of auxiliary power they’ll need.

  1. Perform a power requirement calculation. To calculate each device’s power requirement, multiply the watt requirements by the duration you plan to run the generator. This will give you the watt-hours requirement of each appliance or device the generator will need to power. For example, a typical refrigerator uses 600 watts, and a small freezer uses 600 watts, the generator needs to handle at least 1200 watts just for those two appliances. Then, add up the power requirements for all the critical circuits for lights, appliances, and devices on your list.

  2. Choose a generator slightly bigger than your needs. After you combine your appliances’ total wattage together, round up from the total and purchase a generator that exceeds your household’s needs. This will allow you to add a cushion to your generator usage. A second consideration for larger generator size is startup current needed for appliances like refrigerators and freezers. During startup the generator can be overwhelmed and damaged if it does not have proper startup capacity.

Choose Mr. Electric for Home Generator Installation

Being without power is not only an inconvenience, it can also be potentially dangerous during extreme weather. If you are ready to commit to a whole house generator and want to be certain your generator is installed and sized appropriately, contact your local professionals at Mr. Electric. We can help you choose the right size generator for your home and install it to give you and your family peace of mind during the next power outage. To get started schedule an appointment online or call (844) 866-1367 today.


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