How to Choose the Right Backup Generator

20 Jan 2023 Electrical Services

If you are considering purchasing a backup generator for your home or commercial property, it can be difficult to determine which option is best for your needs and budget. While the purpose of every generator is the same, each model is designed for different types of properties and to provide a different amount of power. As a leading commercial and residential electrical contractor, the team at BNR Electric knows how beneficial backup generators can be for every type of property. That is why we have compiled some information to demonstrate how to choose the right backup generator for your property.

Learn why you need a backup generator for your home.

What to Know Before Choosing a Backup Generator

You will need to know the following information before choosing a backup generator for your property:

The Difference Between Starting and Running Wattage

Before calculating your wattage requirements, it is crucial to understand the differences between starting and running wattage. Also known as surge watts, starting wattage is the amount of electricity or power that is required to start a device. For most devices, the amount of power you need to start them will be equivalent to three times the running wattage amount. Running wattage is the amount of electricity that is required to keep the device running smoothly after it has been powered on. For example, when you power your television on, it will use starting watts as it powers up and then transition to running watts as the unit stays on.

Your Wattage Requirements

The next thing you will need to know when selecting a generator is the wattage requirements of your home. To determine your wattage requirements, you will need to add up the wattage of everything you wish to power via your generator. This may include lights, appliances, a device charger, electric heaters, or your air conditioning system. The more devices and appliances you wish to use, the more wattage you will need. The list below outlines the approximate running wattage rating for various household appliances and devices:

  • Refrigerator/Freezer: 600 – 800 watts
  • Electric Range (one element): 2,500 watts
  • Toaster: 1,100 – 1,700 watts
  • Microwave: 800 – 1,200 watts
  • Coffeemaker: 400 – 800 watts
  • Electric Oven: 5,000 watts
  • Television: 100 – 350 watts
  • Personal Computer: 300 – 2000 watts
  • Central Air Conditioning: 2,000 – 4,000 watts
  • Electric Water Heater: 3,000 – 4,500 watts
  • Water Pump: 1,000 – 2,000 watts
  • Window Air Conditioner: 600 – 1,500 watts
  • Outdoor Lighting: 500 – 1,000 watts
  • Sump Pump: 1,200 – 1,800 watts
  • Hair Dryer: 1,200 – 1,500 watts
  • Vacuum: 700 – 1,400 watts
  • Electric Space Heater: 1,000 – 1,500 watts
  • Table Lamp: 150 watts
  • Electric Furnace: 5,000 – 25,000 watts

It is crucial to remember that each device above will require roughly 3 times the listed amount to power on. For example, an electric heater will require 3,000 to 4,500 watts to start, but only 1,000 to 1,500 to continue running.

To learn more about our residential electrical services or to discuss the details of your project, get in touch with the team at BNR Electric. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services or your project.