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Using Home Generators

residential-generators Summary: This article discusses how to select and use residential home generators.

How to Use Home Generators and the Important Features



Most residential generators include portable generators that are designed for temporarily connecting to a home and provide a maximum continuous power output of 7200 watts 30 amps.


Many portable generators will not work and can not be installed to homes with an electric service that are rated at more than 200 amps without installing a special transfer switch and circuit combination device that is designed to supply generator power to only a few essential circuits such as lighting and a small refrigerator.


During a power outage, a properly installed generator and transfer switch system allows you to select the combination of loads you want to operate by simply switching breakers in the household circuit panel. his flexibility makes generator sizing relatively straightforward.

Purchase a generator that is powerful enough to run the largest appliances and motors you need during a power outage. You may run other loads in your house by simply turning off the breaker to large usage loads.

If your using a hot water heater, for example, turn off this breaker once the water has been heated, and turn on breakers to other loads you want to operate.
To determine what loads you can support with a portable generator, you must look at both the "running watt" and the "starting watt" requirements of the appliances you want to operate. For example, when your furnace motor first starts up, it will require approximately three times more starting watts for a brief 1 to 2 second period than the running watts needs to operate it for extended periods.

To assist you in determining what loads you can operate on your portable generator, appliance usage tables have been provided with information on running watts and starting watts for common household appliances. In most instances, you will want to purchase a generator with a continuous rating of 4400 watts to 7200 watts.


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