The Importance of Sizing Your Generator Properly: What You Need to Know

The importance of sizing your generator properly is something that cannot be overstated enough. Doing so helps to prevent issues like unexpected system failures, capacity overload and more, all while guaranteeing peak performance and maximum longevity at the exact same time. If you’re in the process of buying a new generator and are concerned about size, there are a number of important things to keep in mind.

Why Sizing a Generator is Important

The two main mistakes that you can make when buying a generator are thankfully fairly straightforward: you can buy one that is too big for your needs and one that is too small to meet your demand. Both of these pose their own unique set of challenges.

Buying a generator that is too big for how you plan on using it ultimately means that you’re paying more money than you should not only for the generator itself, but for the fuel costs associated with running it. Buying a generator that is too small creates essentially the opposite scenario: you’re investing money in a solution that likely won’t be able to actually do what you need it to due to these restrictions. Even if it can provide you with the power you need, this will put a lot of unneeded stress on your equipment, causing it to fail outright or require more maintenance than it should.

How to Size Your Generator

So long as you’re comfortable with a bit of math, the process of finding out what size generator you need is actually relatively painless. Start by making a list of all the items in your home or place of business that your generator will need to power, followed by the average amount of time these items will be running off the generator in the first place. Most of this information can be easily found either in the original documentation that came with the equipment or on a label printed on the device itself.

Write down all of the starting and running wattage requirements for each of these devices. If you happen to find power requirements listed in amps, you can easily convert them to watts using the following equations:

Multiply the amps by the volts to arrive at the resistive load for a particular item.

Multiply the amps by the volts, then multiply that number by the load factor to arrive at the reactive load for a particular item.

Next, take your wattage requirements for each item and convert them into kilowatt hours. Multiply the watts by one hour, then divide that number by 1000. If you had a unit that required 5000 watts and you needed it to run for one hour, your equation would look like this:

5000 x 1 / 1000 = 5 kilowatt hours.

Once you’ve found out how many kilowatt hours each item uses during normal operation, add these numbers together to find out your entire load requirement for one hour. Use that number to find a generator that meets your exact power requirements for the best possible results.



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