When picking a standby power source for your home, it’s important to consider exactly what you need and want to be able to run when your utility power goes out. Figuring out what you need to have on and what you’d like to run is important. Determining how much power you need will determine the size generator that will be required.
Knowing how many watts your appliances need helps you evaluate your home’s actual energy profile. The best way to breakdown wattage is to go room-by-room, figuring out the energy necessary for each room.
With a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, stove, and oven, your kitchen sees some of the heaviest energy use numbers in a home. Here’s how the various appliances in your kitchen add up on average:
• Refrigerator: 150 to 400 watts
• Oven: 2100 watts
• Dishwasher: 1200 to 1400 watts
• Microwave: 900 to 1600 watts
• Coffee Maker: 800 to 1300 watts
Keeping your home’s interior at a comfortable temperature is probably going to be at the top of everyone’s list and that takes a lot of energy. Your HVAC system will use more energy than any other device or appliance in your house.
• Central Air Conditioner: 1000 to 4000 watts
• Window AC Unit: 1000 to 1400 watts, varying with size.
• Central Heating Furnace: 350 to 400 watts
• Portable Electric Fan Heater: 2000 to 3000 watts
Washers and dryers use a lot of energy. So, if you plan to run these during an outage, you’ll need an extra few thousand watts. In fact, our clothes dryers are one of the top energy consumers in our homes, right after the HVAC system and hot water heater. Here’s how they stack up:
• Dryer: 1000 to 4000 watts
• Washing Machine: 500 watts
When you think about what you need vs what you would like to run during a utility power outage, the living room is where most people choose to save. Although they aren’t needed, some people will want to be able to do everything that they could normally do even during an outage. That means having a computer propped on your lap, and the TV turned on. If you would like to run these devices here’s how much extra power you’ll need:
• Laptop: 100-150 watts, depending on if its charging or not.
• Flat-screen TV: 50 to 120 watts, depending on size and features
Start-up Wattage Requirements
Another factor to think about when picking a generator for your home is start-up wattage which is different than running wattage. Appliances powered by electric motors require about twice the wattage to start up than they require while running. After adding all your appliances and figuring start-up wattage, you add those two wattages together and use this number as an estimated guide to the total wattage needed for your generator.
Choosing The Right Generator
Although every home is different, to run just the “essentials”, most homes need at least a 25kW generator. If you want to power just about everything in your home during an outage, that is where it gets a little more complex. In our experience, most homes would need at least a 35kW generator; however, since every home is different you should consult with the generator experts at TES before purchasing a generator for your home.