How To Choose a Whole House Generator

Date: April 18, 2023

Identify Your Specific Comfort Needs

generator options Tennessee Power outages caused by damaging storms, grid overload, accidents and other events have become all too common–and can happen at any time. That’s why a standby propane home generator can make a big difference in your life.

When the power goes off, your standby generator turns on automatically to keep the lights shining, the fridge and freezer running, phone and laptops charged and heat or cool air flowing until power has been restored.

Choosing the Right Size Generator

When it comes to whole house generators, it’s critical to identify your specific comfort needs up front. The size of a whole house generator depends on what you intend to operate during an outage. Electrical appliances in your home tend to fall into two categories:

  • Your “power essentials,” which include things like your lights, garage door opener, fridge/freezer, sump and well pumps, your furnace fan, security system, TV/computers, microwave, and washing machine.
  • Your high-wattage items, including your air conditioner, electric dryer, heat pump, hot tub, water heater, oven, geothermal system, and well pump.

Generators range quite a bit in size – and price – depending on which and how many of each category of appliances above you want or need to operate when the power is out. A small, 5-kilowatt (kW) unit, for example, can operate power essentials such as lights, a refrigerator, a television and other small appliances.

A large, 25-kW generator on the other hand, can easily run high-wattage heat or air conditioning units while still being able to turn on lights and appliances. Depending on what other high wattage appliances are being run, a 25-kW generator may only be able to power one air conditioning or heat pump system so it is best to consider what you want your generator to accomplish.

Is Your Generator Ready for Storm Season?

If you’ve already invested in a whole-house backup propane generator, you always want to make sure it will operate properly whenever the power goes out. Please follow these tips to ensure you’re prepared for the next power outage.

  • Check your fuel gauge. Make sure your generator has enough propane to get you through at least a week without power, since impassable roads and other emergencies may delay deliveries. How much is enough? As one example, a whole-house 22-kilowatt (kW) generator would burn between 2-3 gallons per hour, depending on the electrical load.
  • Test your generator. Take your generator for a 20-to30 minute “test run” about once every three months. Power it up to a full load and observe—and then have corrected—any problems. In colder months, increase the frequency of test runs to about per month to keep moving parts lubricated.
  • Follow maintenance guidelines. Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your generator running at its best. Annual service is a must; twice per year (pre-summer and pre-winter) is ideal. Please refer to your owner’s manual for more specific details about proper maintenance.

To learn more about propane gas generators, including generator installation and generator maintenance, please reach out to your Tennessee propane company and they’ll be glad to give you expert advice. If they don’t install propane generators, they’ll most likely be able to refer you to a trusted contractor who does.