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How to Select a Home Generator
Summary: Selecting and Sizing a Home Generator: How to rate a generator for your application requirements.This handy guide will help you understand generator ratings as it applies to your home generator project.
Selecting a Home Generator for Your Application Requirements
There are a wide variety of portable generators that are available for purchase, however selecting the right generator for your project will require considerations about the rating and size.
Some generators are more suitable than others for the basic requirements of your home, and generally, many lower priced generators are not suitable for a home.
Small sized generators with a lower power output may not have sufficient engine durability to power your house during an extended power outage, and poor power quality can damage expensive electronic devices such as home office equipment and furnace controls.
Selecting the Right Voltage and Power Output
For basic home electrical loads you may wish to consider a generator with a 4-Wire 120/240 Volt configuration and a maximum power rating of 50 amps. The typical power connection supplied with the generator is a L1450P straight receptacle.
Smaller size portable generators typically have a 30 amp rating with a L1430 locking receptacle, or a 20 amp rating with a L1420 locking receptacle.
Home Generator Cord Connectors
Many electrical connectors that are only rated for 120 volt, or low amperage 240 volt are not appropriate for powering your home.
If you have an existing transfer switch or generator panel with a cord connection, then make sure to purchase a generator that has the same receptacle specifications.
Generators with a 30-Amp Rating
Appliance Usage Guide
The wattages presented in this table are estimates.
Running Watts = Volts X Amps
Rule of thumb: Allow 2kW per Horse Power for appliances with motors.
Always use the starting wattage when calculating electrical load requirements for your generator. Select the appliances you want to operate and add the starting wattages together to determine if they can all be operated at the same time without exceeding the limits of your generator. Remember that circuit breakers usually control more than one appliance.
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