How Do You Determine What Size Generator You Need?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve probably heard about the massive Texas power outages recently. While the U.S. Energy Information Administration says that most Americans only lose power for two to three hours once or twice per year, extreme weather events and natural disasters can leave people without power for days. Frozen (and subsequently burst) pipes, spoiled food, mold and floods are all likely to happen if you’re left without power for days at a time, but a generator can help avoid these issues. Here’s how to figure out which size generator you need in the 53212 area.

Rule of thumb

Generally, you should buy the smallest size generator you might need. That way, you don’t need to keep an excessive amount of fuel on hand in case the power goes out. However, “the smallest size you need” will vary drastically between homes.

The best way to figure out how big of a generator you’ll need is to figure out how much wattage your major and essential appliances require—and keep in mind that some of them, like a refrigerator, will “surge” when they kick on.

How often will you use your generator?

Which size generator you need depends largely on the rate at which you experience power outages in your area:

  • Homes that rarely lose power: If you rarely lose power—just a few hours a couple times per year—you can get away with a much smaller generator. These will have enough juice to power a fridge and freezer and a small window unit air conditioner or space heater. Look for recreational generators or midsize inverters.
  • Homes that occasionally lose power: If you have occasional outages, which are sometimes a day or longer, getting a portable generator or a large inverter is your best bet. You’ll be able to power your most essential appliances without spending thousands of dollars on a more powerful generator. Stationary generators can cost upwards of $10,000 to purchase and install, so these options will help you get through the outages without spending a lot of extra money.
  • Homes that frequently lose power: If you have frequent, prolonged outages (most common in areas where there is extreme weather or frequent natural disasters, like hurricanes), get a large inverter, home standby or portable generator. These produce enough power to fuel your entire household, and can be connected to your circuit breaker to power things like well pumps, air conditioners, heaters and more.

As you can see, it’s more practical to get a smaller generator if you won’t use it often—your goal should be to keep your food from spoiling and to keep the climate as comfortable as possible. If it’s only for a day, your power needs will be significantly less than someone who sustains long, frequent outages. Those households have much greater power needs, especially if they depend on electricity for running water.

When you’re looking for a generator near me in Milwaukee, WI, Wenniger Compressor Co. can help. Call us today to learn more about our selection and which type you should choose.

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