When you decide it’s time to install backup power for your South Florida home, the first decision you need to make is to determine the home standby generator size you need. Now, we all know there’s no such thing as an “average” home size, because every family is different and you might not have quite the same unique way of doing things as your neighbor does. So we generally find it more accurate to estimate according to your specific requirements, but here’s some basic info to help you get an idea. The wattages shown are averages, so allow for some leeway in your calculations:
These are the first appliances that you want to ensure have power, that you can’t afford to have out of action:
- Refrigerator – 900 running watts
- Lamp – 70 to 100 (multiply by the number used)
- Sump pump – 2100
- Fan – 200
- Radio/television 50 to 300
- Well pump – 1000
- Essential medical equipment such as oxygen tanks – 400
For most appliances that use more than 1000 watts to operate, allow double that number to start up the appliance.
Given the temperatures in South Florida and depending on your state of health, you might consider air conditioning a critical item, while other homes might not. Central AC has the highest power consumption, with a 24,000 BTU installation using close to 5000 running watts. A 10,000 BTU installation, however, uses around 1500 watts, while a 12,000 BTU window unit uses 3250.
Other non-critical indoor items are the ones that you want, rather than need, to keep running for the sake of living comfortably while you wait for the power to come back. These include:
- Electric stove – 2100 to 4500
- Coffee machine – 1000
- 1000-watt microwave – 1500
- 27-inch color TV – 500
- Home security system – 500
- Computer with a 17-inch monitor – 800
- Garage door – ½ horse power – 875
- Garbage disposal – 445
- Internet, phone charger
- Freezer – 1200
- Dishwasher – 1800
Ok, we know it’s unlikely you’ll be gardening during rough weather, but there’s no way to know what could cause a power outage and if the weather is good, you’ll want to be outdoors rather than indoors. Here’s the running wattage of the various outdoor equipment types:
A lawn mower and chain saw both come in with the highest number at 1200. Weed trimmer, edge trimmer and hedge trimmers all use around 500 watts each, so remember to make allowances for these when you’re calculating the generator size you need.
If the power outage happens to coincide with a Memorial Day BBQ or other event, you’ll need to be sure your home standby generator can handle the electric outdoor grill, too. Most grills draw around 1250 watts, although if you have a particularly large one it might need more power to operate. A pool pump, while hardly a critical item, will draw between 1500 and 2500 watts.
If you’re in the market for a home standby generator, figure out what you’ll want to keep running if you lose power for an extended period of time. Make a list and see what sort of running wattage it uses, then you’ll get an idea of the generator size that will work for you, then request a professional quote to find out what it will cost to install.