Energy Solutions Provider Serving the Northeast
Customer Portal

Residential & Industrial Generator Blog

Apr 28

Residential Standby Generator Watts Comparison

By: Patti Dinneen


We often hear this question when homeowners consult with our technicians, "What can I run with my generator when the power goes out?" It's a deceptively complex question, and the simple answer is, it depends on a variety of factors. Kinsley Power system provides standby generators with power capacities ranging from 8.5kW to 125kW, with a wide variety of generators that fall in between the two extremes. Standby generators are certainly a considerable investment, as homeowners incur costs related to the equipment and installation costs. So, it's quite obvious that buying the right generator to meet current and future needs is essential.

Residential standby generators for backup power are permanently installed outside of the home and operate when necessary, like when a storm knocks the power out. Continue reading to learn what you can run in your home during a power outage, based on a generator's power capacity.

8,000 to 10,000 Watts

Standby generators in this power range are able to provide enough power to maintain essential home systems during power outages. For instance, most homeowners can operate a sump pump, freezer, refrigerator, and furnace, as these utilities only use up to 4,000 watts.  Homeowners can also use some lights, and a small television before they are approaching the 8,000 watt range. Essentially, these generators are best for homes operating with only the bare minimum of electric appliances-- there's sufficient power to keep the home safe and the food from spoiling while providing minimal lighting, and some outside communication.

11,000 to 14,0000 Watts

In addition to providing power for the basic essentials, the larger residential generators that supply 11 to 14 kilowatts can manage some larger loads that power well pumps, hot water heaters, and a larger central air conditioning unit.  Implementing a transfer switch with managed power can extend this capability to a number of smaller appliances. Fortunately, there's typically enough power left over to entertain the children with a video game.
In addition, generators of this size range can possible allow you to use multiple kitchen appliances (depending on their watt usage). Regardless of generator  size, it's imperative that homeowners avoid overloading the system.

15,000 to 20,000 Watts

Generators in this range are best suited for homeowners who want all the essentials operating along with a variety of conveniences. Utilizing transfer switches that manage power, homeowners can still operate a number of high-voltage appliances. However, it is still crucial to understand that the generator can't provide the near-limitless supply that the electric utility offers. Standby generators in this range are useful if you need to power multiple large air conditioners along with hot water heaters and well pumps. Yet, larger homes may require a bit more additional power.

22,00 Watts +

Owners of large homes may want to consider liquid-cooled standby generators that can provide more power than the largest air-cooled models, offering exceptional reliability. Homeowners can run multiple air conditioners at the same time, while using electric range and electric dryers as well-- all while keeping the lights and everything else running too.

Before you decide which generator you will select, be sure to conduct a power audit to properly size your generator, consult with the electrician who will install it, and confirm your plans with your local building and code enforcement agency.  Here you will find a list of Kohler Dealers in your area who will be happy to assist you!

Add your comment (for display after moderator approval)
(email address will not be displayed)