Home Emergency Generator Sizing

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Wherever you are located, emergency home generators must be factored into any emergency plan. Person does not have any control of nature as well as the dynamics that define that.

In a time in which every aspect of our day to day life is dependent upon electrical power, a moment with out it may cause terrific hassle, and when the interruption is continuous, it might even deliver our daily life to a complete standstill.

Emergency Preparedness :

  1. Emergency Kit (pdf)
  2. FEMA – Checklist
  3. Survival Basics
  4. Power Outages

Standby or Whole House Emergency Generators

These are the large generators, commonly referred to as standby generators or residential. They are expensive, by most people’s standards, but they are worth their weight in gold, when it comes to a power outage.

Home Emergency Generator Sizing

Standby generators are professionally installed and range in price from $2,000 dollars on up. They typically run on propane or natural gas.

Advantages are:


  • They will kick on automatically, when your home loses power
  • They can run for longer periods of time (vs smaller portable types)
  • They produce enough power to run larger appliances in your home, such as water heaters and air conditioners


Some of the most common producers of home emergency generators are Generac, Kohler and Onan.

Portable Generators for Backup Power

Portable generators have their advantages and disadvantages. Plan on spending between $500 and $2000 dollars. A portable generator is obviously not going to power all the larger appliances in your home. If it does, that is about all that it will be able to do.

Bottom line, with a portable generator, you are going to have to be selective about what you need to run during a loss of power.

To determine the size of generator that you’ll need, first, decide what appliances that you’ll need to run, during a power outage.

Once this is decided, add up the total wattage of those items. Then make sure that the emergency generator that you choose is sufficient to handle the job.

Here is some more information on home generator sizing.

For safety’s sake, always remember to run all portable generators outside, at least 15 feet (4.7 meters) from your home. Also observe proper generator transfer switch safety.

Advantages and Things to Consider:


  • Portable generators are less costly
  • No installation required
  • Most of these run off of gasoline and gasoline may, or may not, be available in a community emergency situtation…especially if your local gas station has lost power, as well.
  • Gas generators will need to be filled up often.
  • You’ll need to have sufficient lengths of generator cords to run between your generator and your appliances


When it comes to emergency home generators, one key thing to calculate is how long the portable generator will run, between fuel ups.

After all, how many times to you want to get up, in the middle of the night, and refuel the thing?

When calculating the run times, remember that manufacturers typically will rate the generator run time on a 50% load. In emergencies, you will most assuredly be running your machine at a much higher level, than 50%. So your generator will usually need refueling more frequently than the manufacturer’s specs will say.