If you live in a location with frequent power outages, owning a home generator is a great way to keep the lights on. In emergencies, home generators can preserve your groceries and make you and your family feel safe. However, picking and managing a home generator can be a daunting process, which is why we have some Home Generator FAQs to make the process easier for you.
What size generator do you need to run your whole house?
Most generators need to be at a minimum of five thousand watts to keep your lights and refrigerators on. However, this number can vary heavily depending on what you have in your house.
Many smaller houses can get away with around three thousand watts. Still, you will want to check your electricity before doing this. The bulk of your house’s electricity will come from fridge and freezer usage, so use those two as a baseline.
The typical light will also take up about 60 watts, but that doesn’t include the potential dropoff of electricity as it gets there, so roundup by ten at least. It should not involve needless mood lighting, which you can turn off.
How long can you run a whole house generator?
Assuming you have a full tank, whole-home generators can continuously run anywhere from eight hours to several days. For example, if you have a generator that consumes at a rate of 1 gallon per hour and held 20 gallons, it would likely run a bit less than twenty hours.
In this case, try and limit the usage of your whole home generator as much as possible. Given that it is for emergency use, you should not use it for a long-term period.
You should try and avoid leaving your generator running during an overnight period. Provided you don’t open a fridge. It should retain most of its cold air throughout the night. Also, the loud noise of a generator can keep your neighbours up.
It is why you should try and limit your usage to “survival appliances,” which are limited to fridges in the day and lights, heat, and fridges during nighttime.
What size generator do you need?
If you have a traditional single-family home, try and purchase a 7500-watt generator. The generator’s size is guaranteed to handle large-capacity tasks and give you some peace of mind.
It will also prevent any potential overloading, which is a problem if it occurs repetitively. It can cause your generator to turn off repeatedly. In some cases, you can even blow a fuse.
Suppose you would like your generator to run everything you could need (including TVs and gaming consoles). In that case, you will need to start looking at much larger generators. Consider purchasing a 12,000-watt generator and seek professional opinions on the matter.
If you plan on gathering information from your appliances, do not mix up the wattage with amps or volts. The three are electric terms, but they serve different purposes.
How much will a home generator cost?
Depending on the brand you choose, a standard generator that can run your home will be somewhere between $2000 to $2500. However, you can cut that price in half if you are willing to invest in a used generator.
Suppose you seek help with the installation of a home generator. In that case, you can expect that price to double, sometimes costing up to another $2500. It depends on how complicated it is for installation.
If you do plan on hiring a professional installer, be sure to shop around for comparison. Compare this with customer reviews, and it will give you a good idea of the standard rates in the area.
If you want to do it yourself, check out the video below:
How much does a home generator cost to run?
Using our previous example, we stated that twenty gallons would get us twenty hours of usage. If we assume that figure, gasoline costs around $3 a gallon these days, resulting in $72 for every 24 hours.
However, we suggest that you do not use your home generator continuously. Hence, you aren’t likely to spend this much overall, cutting that figure in half.
How loud is a home generator?
Your home generator will be labelled with a decibel rating telling you how loud it will run. For example, an electric fan is around 52 dB, and a dB rating of a home generator is 70. So a generator is quite a bit louder than a standard electric fan, overpowering most conversations.
How long do home generators last?
The best brands of home generators typically come with a ten-year-warranty. However, some home generators can last up to thirty years.
The list below includes some pretty good brands.
- Briggs & Stratton
If you need some help picking out a home generator for yourself, this video has a short review:
Will I need a building permit to install a home generator?
Some homeowner’s associations or city ordinances will not allow you to build a generator without a permit. It is typically due to noise limitations, but there are some building and electrical concerns in any case.
Check with your local zoning office to be sure of these limitations. If you decide to build without checking in on this first, you could end up getting fined.
How do I check the home generator’s oil?
Much like any engine, you will need to have an understanding of checking your generator’s oil. Follow the steps below for details:
- Turn off the generator.
- Please wait for it to cool.
- Locate the cap that says “oil” on it
- Check to see if the dipstick is at an acceptable level.
- Check your owner’s manual to see the type of oil needed.
- Fill with that type of oil slowly using a funnel.
- Turn the generator back on.
If you have difficulty locating the oil cap, check out your owner’s manual.
How much oil does a home generator use?
A whole-home generator typically only takes around two quarts of oil in full. That oil can last several months or days, depending on how long you let it sit.
If your generator has aged, you can expect the amount of oil it needs to go up. That logic applies to any engine that needs continuous lubrication.
What type of oil should I use for my home generator?
Typically, home generators take SAE 30. Check your owner’s manual to be 100% certain of that. You never know when a generator is going to change the game.
You can also use synthetic oils, which will increase the longevity of your generator. But don’t return to standard oils if you switch to synthetic oils, which can damage your engine.
Purchasing a home generator can be a bit tricky. The wattage variance between different generators is problematic. While some like to use the label “whole-home generator,” these can sometimes feel like a buzzword.
By using this guide, you will be able to purchase a home generator confidently. Pay close attention to the wattage that you need and the wattage of those generators. When it comes to home generators, wattage is king.
For everything in excess, ask yourself how much you are willing to pay. Also, be aware of any maintenance requirements. By having these thoughts in your back pocket, you will be well aware of precisely what you need.