I always get this question from my customers that are interested in getting the right generator (who doesn’t want the “right” one?). There are just so many options! Let me just go over a few:
- Natural gas
- 7kw, 8kw, 10kw, 14kw, 17kw, 20kw
- Air cooled or liquid cooled
- How many watts
- How many amps
- How many circuits
- Essential circuit or Whole house ATS
I could go on and on. But don’t worry there is an easy answer from Goldilocks and the three bears..…… “This one’s just right”! If only it were that simple. The advantage that Goldilocks had over you is that she was able to try out each item until she found the one that was truly “just right”. Unfortunately in the case of a standby generator once it is purchased and installed it is not easy to make a change.
The real answer about generator size is that it can varies significantly and will depend on your individual needs, type of home heating, and existing electrical service. The automatic generators that we sell and install can be as small as 7,000 watts up to 20,000 watts in most cases. An in-home evaluation is the best way to figure out what is needed.
Many of the generators we sell and install are essential circuit coverage. This helps to take the guesswork out of the generator size. The generator is paired with a transfer switch containing a predetermined number of circuits based on the generator’s kW power rating. Each circuit is directly connected to a matched circuit on the home’s main circuit breaker panel, providing electricity to that specific appliance or area of the home. For example, ten circuits are supplied for the 8 kW generator. With this system, you could connect (1) lights and TV in the family room, (2) microwave and lights in the kitchen, (3) refrigerator, (4) power to the bathroom, (5) computer and home office, (6) garage door opener, (7) air conditioner, and (8) furnace.
These essential circuit generators are very popular and effective and providing backup power to part of a large home or even most of a smaller home. If more power is needed it is easy to do with a larger SE rated transfer switch. These transfer switches cost more to install but can also provide power to more circuits.