If you have ever experienced an extended power outage you already know how frustrating and inconvenient it can be. Well, it can be pretty costly too (when all the food in your refrigerator spoils). So, you have decided it’s time to learn more about a whole house generator, but you’re wondering, “what size generator do I need for my house?”

When it comes to determining the right size generator for your home, it doesn’t mean how much room it takes up in your yard—it means the total wattage required to run your entire home. Determining your specific wattage size requires a bit of math. Don’t panic though! We’ve done most of the homework for you.

Generator sizes are determined by the average wattage use. So, to estimate the appropriate size generator for a home, there are a few ways this can be calculated depending on your needs. You can use the total square footage of your home, your monthly electric usage or breaker size, or you can total up the amount of wattage used by all of your household appliances to determine your wattage requirements.

Keep In Mind

Keep in mind that having too small or too large of a generator can cause issues. Choosing a size that is too small can ruin your appliances—which defeats the purpose of installing a generator in the first place. Installing a generator that is too big is less efficient and will cost you more to run. It’s best to choose a size that meets your needs now, but has the potential to meet additional power demands later on.

Every home is unique when it comes to its specific day-to-day wattage use. When deciding your specific generator size, you need to determine what essentials in your home need to be powered during an outage. Some of those essentials might include: your furnace, A/C, water pump, refrigerator, stove, lighting, office essential, etc. Averaging out the total wattage use of these appliances will give you an estimate on the generator size you need. The wattage use also the chart below will give you an idea of what size generator you need to power specific appliances.

What Size Generator Do I Need for My House?

Use the chart below to estimate your home’s kilowatt requirements. Also add up the wattage of each device in your home; for the most accurate results, check the label or owner’s manual for large appliances and electronics to determine the exact wattage. Once you have the total, divide the sum by 1,000 to calculate the kilowatts you need from your new generator.

Electronics & Appliances  Wattage 
Central Air Conditioner  1700-8750 
Electric Furnace  18,000 
Gas Furnace  600 
Electric Baseboard Heaters  225 watts per foot (by heater length) 
Electric Heat Pump  Up to 15,000 
Water Pump  500-1050 
Electric Water Heater  4500 
Gas Water Heater  500 running/1500 starting 
Lighting  500 
Garage Door Opener  550-725 
Computer  200 
Television  300 
Dishwasher  700 
Refrigerator  600 
Gas Dryer  700 
Electric Dryer  5750 
Washing Machine  750 
Microwave  1000 
Standalone Freezer  2500 
Electric Oven  2500-5000 

What Size Generator Do I Need for My House?

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