# How to Size a Generator For Your Home

 I’m trying to learn about home generator systems for an off the grid cabin, How many watts do I need from a generator? How to Size a Generator for an Off Grid Power System.

## Hooking Up a Generator to the House Panel Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit for Backup Power

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Home Generator for Backup or Off Grid Power
Electrical Question: I’m trying to learn about home generator systems for an off the grid cabin.

How many watts do I need from a generator?

The cabin is small 24 x 36.

• I need power for the following:
• Lights.
• Refrigerator.
• A computer.
• Television.
• Fan, etc.

I also plan to use tankless Hot water heater from LP as well as gas stove for cooking.

• I just need some direction with a generator and whatever else is need to set it up, such as:
1. Transfer Switch
2. Electrical panel
3. Stuff like that.

This electrical question came from: Jace, a Homeowner from Denver, Colorado.

Thanks for your electrical question Jace.

Application: Off Grid Generator Project.
Skill Level: Intermediate to  Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required Electricians pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for installing the generator and transfer switch.
Estimated Time Depends on the type and size of the generator and transfer switch and the available access to the project area.
Precaution Any existing electrical wiring within the immediate area that may interfere with the installation of the transfer switch may need to be relocated if necessary.
Important Installing a generator and transfer switch must be well thought out and performed with a permit with all work being inspected.

## How to Size a Generator for an Off Grid Power System

NOTE: The size of the generator will depend on the electrical devices that will be connected to the generator system.

• Generator Sizing Basics: Properly sizing a generator for your home starts with making a list which contains the following electrical load information:
1. The voltage
2. The amperage or watts
3. The duration or how many hours each item will be running
4. How many of these items or circuits will be on at the same time

The electrical load information is vital for selecting the right size and type home generator to ensure the performance of the generator will be sufficient for the electrical loads that will be required.

### Generator Transfer Switch and Circuit Panel

The amperage rating of the transfer switch, and circuit capacity of the electrical distribution panel is based upon the connected load as described above.

• Generator Transfer Switch: Even with an off grid system, there may be one or more sources of electricity which will be connected to the system. The additional power sources will need to be identified for proper system integration.
• Charge Controller and Voltage Regulator: Power sources such as solar panels and windmill power are typically connected to the charge controller, therefore the controller must be sized and configured for the power that will be produced and connected to the system.
• Inverter and Electrical Circuit Distribution Panel: Before the power can be used by the home for 120volt ac devices the power being produced must be conditioned and converted by an inverter. The inverter supplies power to the electrical circuit distribution panel, which supplies power to the home.
• NOTE: Many off grid system components are being produced where several functions are integrated together making it much easier to build and configure, such as integrated charging controllers and inverter systems.

The resources below will lead you to more expanded information that will help you with all the key factors to consider along with free information you can use to help you select the right generator to purchase for your home.

Home Generators

Home Generators
This series covers a wide variety of topics all about home generators including sizing, selecting, connecting and safely operating this all important addition to your home.

Electric panel

House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.

Electrical plan

Basic Home Wiring Diagrams

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Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book
Great for any Home Wiring Project.

## Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
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120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
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## Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring with my Online Video Course:Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

## The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

## The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

## Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
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The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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